woman sitting on floor with laptop, smugly typing

How to manage your money in a way that doesn't drive you crazy (hint: they call it “personal” finance for a reason).

Money is not a one-size-fits-all subject.

There are general guidelines and rules that, if followed, will get you far. But it’s hard to listen to regurgitated financial rules if you are not even close to being able to follow through.

For example, if I told you to go further or to push past your $50,000 wall in typical annual savings this year, you’d probably tune out pretty quickly, right {with a roll of the eyes}? Many of us don’t have that much in an account, let alone are able to save it on an annual basis.

But tuning out is precisely what you should not do.

Become Inspired to Work from Your Level

The fact is, we are all at various levels. You're trying to figure out how to manage your  money, just like I'm trying to figure out how to manage my money, and both may look differently.

Each one of us operates at a business-as-usual level, has probably gotten a glimpse of their peak level, and are capable of being inspired to tap into their ultimate level. And our levels change all the time. When our peak level becomes our new business-as-usual, then suddenly we get a glimpse of a level we never thought we had in us.

This is life. Plateaus, jumps, plateaus, jumps.

If you take advice (financial or other) and implement the spirit of it — whether it is far beyond your level or not — then you will continue to grow. But don’t become discouraged by it. Don’t think “$50,000? She’s nuts!” and walk away having gained nothing from the suggestion.

Instead, work on the advice at your level {and one notch above to really stretch yourself}.

These considerations are key when figuring out how to manage your money in a way to meet your goals, but without driving yourself nuts.

Back to That Guideline I Shamelessly Broke

I attend a community hot yoga class about twice per month at a cost of only $5.

It’s hot, it’s delicious, and it makes me feel quite whole afterwards.

But it’s also hard. The number one goal for newbies (admittedly, I am not a newbie) is to stay in the room the entire 90 minutes. So if you are feeling lightheaded, dizzy, uncomfortable, overly hot, or just want to curl up in a ball and take in the heat for a while, you simply lay down on your mat or do Child’s Pose until you feel better. Then you rejoin in the movements when it’s right for you.

A month ago, I just couldn’t. I curled up to comfy Child’s Pose. I downed gobs of water. I laid flat on the mat. I meditated {er, tried}. I rejoined the rotation of moves after about 15 minutes of triage…and it was just too much. Sixty minutes into the class, I quietly picked up my mat and walked out of the room.

The cool breeze of the hallway was an immediate relief. I had full access to the showers to take one beyond the suggested 3-minutes. And you know what? It was brilliant.

The fact is, 90 minutes that day was pie in the sky to me. I broke the guideline, and it was exactly what worked for me at that time. If I had given in to what my body had really wanted, I would’ve been out of there at 45 minutes. Instead, I became inspired by the guideline and stretched myself to make it to 60 minutes. Next time, the 90 minutes will be that much more doable for me {and I will not have killed myself in the process}. And even better than that? I didn’t stop doing Yoga altogether. I just made it work for me.

What next when figuring out how to manage your money in a way to actually get where you want to go? Check out this post where I will break down some of these pie-in-the-sky financial guidelines thrown around out there and show you how you can work on them from your level {+ an extra notch so that you’ll get there one day}.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
4 replies
  1. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Some of my friends just seem in awe of our numbers when we talk, but I remind them that we are operating on two different levels. They may only make $2500-$3000 a month, but they only have $1800-$2000 a month in expenses. We used to be there and we worked our way here, BUT we make $8000-$10,000 a month and need around $7000-$7500. I honestly point out that they are saving a larger percentage consistently and that we are working to be at their level again. It’s important to keep things in perspective and not just listen to the big parts…

    • FruGal says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective Crystal! We have people in our lives (as does everyone) on all kinds of different financial levels. Finding people on whatever level you are at is great as well as you don’t feel so alone and can share with someone who knows what it’s like.

      We just all need to keep being inspired and working towards that next notch! Of course, just being is a great thing as well.

  2. Fig @ Figuring Money Out says:

    90 minutes in hot yoga is killer. I only do 60 minute yoga classes – that’s plenty for me. But I think it’s good to listen to your own needs and break guidelines now and again. They are just guidelines after all!

    • FruGal says:

      That’s great you do yoga Fig! Usually I can swing the 90 minutes and still feel great afterwards…but it is a challenge:). Hydration is key.


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