Wagon Bruises

Have you ever started something new that you really wanted to stay committed to?

Diets, budgets, exercise, prayer, earlier bedtime, more time with spouse/children.

We start off so great.  We can't be stopped.  In the gym by 5AM.  No chocolate for a month.  Asleep at 10PM.  Prayed every day for a week.

THEN life happens.  Our favorite show is on with a one-hour special.  The ice cream truck came by.  The snooze button was found.  We get busy, life happens, and we fall off of the wagon. 

I regularly counsel folks who have fallen off of the wagon with their finances.  They are so crestfallen.  So sorrowful.  So frustrated.  Maybe even depressed.

"What should we do?" they ask.

Get back on the wagon!

Put together a new spending plan.  Recalculate the debt freedom date.  Figure out what caused you to fall off of the wagon in the first place and seek ways to prevent it from happening again.

I know that YOU CAN DO THIS!  I was able to do it.  You can too!  Anyone who has read I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. knows that I include a line at the end of each chapter that says "I believe in you!" You CAN do this.

Here are some common reasons for wagon bruises (develop when one falls off of the wagon).

  • No emergency fund. This is the number one cause of wagon bruises.  If there is no protection from "life happens" events, one will be highly susceptible to wagon bruising.
  • Not saving for KNOWN, upcoming expenses.  We know that Christmas is coming.  That property taxes will come due.  We know that the car WILL break down and that the tires will need replaced.  Whether one saves for these expenses or not, the KNOWN, upcoming expense will still occur.
  • Spouses not on the same page.  If both spouses are not on the same page financially, it can really lead to some severe wagon bruising.
  • Bad case of "I-Want-This-Now-Itis".  If one can not say "NO!" when tempted to blow the spending plan, it will cause a financial mess.
  • Lack of accountability.  This really affects single folks a lot.  There is no one to say, "Maybe you should reconsider that decision."  It is really easy to overspend when there is no accountability.

Have you ever fell off of the wagon?  Share how bad the wagon bruises were and what you did to get back on the wagon.

Read recent posts


  1. Linkathon 6/18 at Phoenix Preacher on June 17, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    […] Joe Sangl reminds us to stay on the financial wagon. […]

  2. Benjamin Willis on May 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    “Bad case of “I-Want-This-Now-Itis”. If one can not say “NO!” when tempted to blow the spending plan, it will cause a financial mess.”

    One way that my wife and I have tried to overcome this is that anything that requires a major purchase decision (a purchase of $1000 or more), we have a self-imposed 24-hr waiting period. This came after a bad experience in the purchase of a new car. We allowed the salesman to get the best of us and shortly thereafter regretted the purchase. Now with the 24-hr waiting period, this gives us the ability to allow logic to override emotion when making such a purchase.

  3. Beth Huber on February 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Just like Ben Willis, I too have learned to wait. I would love to have a much lower interest rate on my car note. We had to make a purchase rather quickly, but we didn’t shop around. Instead we bought what the salesman told us we needed. While we love the car, we have now outgrown it and cannot buy a new one until we have paid on the loan long enough to make a decent trade-in. Now we’re divorced and I make the car payment by myself using the entire child support check to do it.

    I am a single parent now. So yes, not having an accountability partner makes things tougher, but it’s worth it when I apply self-discipline and it works! When it comes to making purchases of any kind, I now wait for a while. I ask myself how much do I actually need this, is there another one similar that I can get cheaper or that gives me more? How long will it last before I have to replace it and how much will the replacement cost? How much will it cost to maintain it? Etc.

  4. Donald Ceasar on April 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    We focus so much on the wagon & the load that we forget that it has wheels & we don’t need to try & re-invent the wheels. Use the wheels that are that.

  5. allen johnson on February 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Man my wagon was a chevy full sized truck pulling me by the ankles. I never got the xhance to get on the back. Spending always kept me behind the truck . I cant blame others so much as for my lack of self control in spending. I praying that by following your technics i came get on the wagon.

  6. Edie Norman on April 22, 2012 at 12:25 am

    With me life is always an emergency no time to build an emergency fund. Money is always gone before I even know where it went. Chasing the dollar is my problem. There is a real need in my life to start with a plan. Taking the time to write it down will help reality set in. Having an accountability partner is crucil for me because I like to spend the same 10 dollars ten times before I realize the hole that I’ve dug for myself.

  7. Truman Burroughs on January 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I had a bad case of Itis as well. It was when I already had a fully paid for car and it was really nice, but I had to have something newer, more powerful, and ended up aborting my financial plan and creating havoc in my marriage as it was really difficult for my spouse to see or understand my Itis. End the end it was clear to see why she couldn’t understand it, for as I look back I can’t understand it with perfect hindsight 20/20 vision. But we are both striving to be on the same plan and a level playing field to accomplish our financial freedom goal. She truly is an accountant/accountable partner in this and helps me to better evaluate things. Thanks be to God for my wife and best friend. Not to mention strict financial counselor.

  8. Monica on March 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Ya, I am very good at budgeting the money but whenever my husband or kids ‘need’ something I feel that I ‘have’ to get it. I have a great plan but get to overwhelmed that it usually doesnt go that way…

  9. Francine Burden on October 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I am taking this teaching because i realize I need help.i am good at making plans, carry through with it, but lack discipline with money management. I have been to money management classes before. did well but fell off the wagon ever since 2000. Life Happens. I believe with coaching I can do this and still retire when its time.

  10. Mariana James on January 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Why did I fall off the wagon? Hmmm…. I didn’t want to follow a budget. I didn’t want to be accountable. I didn’t want to have to say not this time. So many reasons….

  11. Daniel Borunda on March 12, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    My girlfriend and I are 4 weeks into a workout plan. This weekend, I got rear ended at a stop sign. My back and neck hurt enough today that I have postponed my workout plans. God-willing, I will continue next week!

  12. Ivette on September 26, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I relate to Monica and Marianna. I guess my parents gave me everything, I thought everything was going to be always all right. I have never cut the umbilical cord, now I am lost

Leave a Comment