My Christmas origin story
It was Christmas time in Australia and we'd invited some friends over for a couple of drinks. I was casually listening to the conversation going on before me when I heard my wife say "we can't afford that". To be honest, I don't really remember what she was talking about but those words struck a chord with me.
Over the next few days I kept thinking about what it really means to be able to afford things. Why do we say we can't afford some things but we can afford other things? Does it have anything to do with how much money we have in our bank account or is it just an emotional response? Why do some people spend thousands of dollars on a new TV and then say that can't afford a Netflix subscription?
Now that I had these thoughts at the forefront of my mind I couldn't help but notice it everywhere around me. The more I thought about it, the more I started to obsess over why it's not easy to answer these questions.
My wife is a nurse and I'm a computer programmer. We're fortunate enough to both have good jobs. We earn a respectable household income and live a good lifestyle with our 3 boys. We don't have money problems so to speak. Each week we pay a good chunk off the home loan and keep our expenses relatively low.
However, when it comes to really understanding our finances, in actual concrete numbers, we really had no idea. Sometimes a large expense would arrive and we'd need to redraw from our home loan to pay it. It was really difficult to know if we could afford another big expense this year or next.
Soon it was the new year and I was making my resolution's. Of course, this year it was to get our finances under control. Fortunately I had succeeded at my new years resolutions for the past few years, each of which had built a new good habit in my life. I knew I could do this and I set out to create another good habit, this time financially.
Of course, it wasn't as simple as I expected. I tried making budgets and spreadsheets. I tried lots of different apps and websites. Some of them worked to some degree. Others really didn't. Eventually I decided to scratch my own itch and build my own solution.
Now I'm happier than ever. For the first time in a decade I can really see our financial situation coming together. Every week I've either added something new or simplified some part of my hand rolled solution. I actually look forward to seeing the numbers roll up at the end of each week.
Now I'm trying to turn it into a product so that it can help others like me. If you can relate to my story I'd love to hear from you.