Amanda Clayman

How to Fail: February 19th 2018, Monday Money Check-In

Have you ever heard of Jim Rohn? He’s like the cutest little 1960s inspirational speaker, the granddaddy who spawned everyone from Dave Ramsey to Tony Robbins. You can find all his old, blackboard-backed talks on YouTube.

One of the things he said that stuck with me is that most people think failure is one big event. But it’s actually the product of little failures, repeated. This week, I failed. I failed to make enough money (I made $800 out of the $1,000 of gross income I need to make per week to keep my business running.) I failed to stay within my budget. I ran out of fun money on Friday and refused to miss out on the submission group I go to, held at a cafe, the dinner party I got invited to last-minute on Saturday, or the mastermind group I go to on Sunday evenings. Both the later required a bottle of wine be brought, and because the dinner party was a few miles away and I knew I wanted to enjoy that wine, I Ubered for a total of $22.

Here’s how I would have handled it before my Amanda Clayman month: I would have sat down for a PowerPoint presentation with myself about why I am the worst. You suck, I would have said. You’ll never get better. Here’s an infographic about how much I hate you and hate being you.

None of this, you may notice, would have actually helped the situation.

So here’s what I’m doing instead: re-examinging and adjusting. Adapt and overcome.

With fun money, I make the transfer on Monday of $100. This gives me a chance to screw myself over spending over the week, and leave myself with zero dollars for the weekend, when there are more tempting opportunities to spend. To respond to this situation, I changed the automated transfer from $100 on Monday to $50 on Monday, $50 on Friday.

You have to examine your little failures, stop them in their tracks, so they don’t become that big failure in the future.

  • Earned last week: $800
  • Saved last week: $200
  • Personal Checking level: red 
  • Business Checking level: red
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,400
  • Weekly wins: Got a sweet gig for a travel company, negotiated for more $$$ and got it! (Always negotiate!)
  • Look at all bills due this week: Shit, my bank account is $253 and I have $205 worth of bills due in the next week. Gonna be tight! 
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): Still working on this. 
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: Lots of little things throughout the week – a show, writing workshop, writing event, so have to keep it minimal at each one. 
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: Got no money last week!
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: I did, even though it only left me with $200. I’d better get this big check I’m waiting on for work I did in December!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: 0% of 0 is $0. Wee!


January Wrap Up: What We Learned This Month

In January I worked with Amanda Clayman, financial therapist, to figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. Here’s what she had me do, and what you can do:

Unearth Your Money Story.

I talked to my mom and aunts and uncles. I unearthed an old recording of my mom interviewing my grandpa about his life. I found out my great grandpa only saw the sun on – twist the knife – Sunday. He woke up before sunrise, walked four miles to the coal mines, worked until after sunset, then walked home. Somewhere in there, he did the farm work.
My great grandmother on my dad’s side left Russia for the United States at 16 with her sisters, and with her mom running after the train, which is the last time they ever saw each other.
The angle at which I saw my life shifted. Each generation worked their ass off in ways I will never even begin to comprehend to give the next generation a better life, and the next, and now here I am, a writer, with no need to ever feel desperation, given the gifts I’ve received from 100 years back. So why do I keep making myself feel desperate?

Examine Your Self-Talk

Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of yelling at myself when I fuck up. I’ve successfully added to this positive self-talk, more of a “Come on buddy, let’s just get to work, you’ll be fine.” But then I slip back into my other nickname for myself, bitch. “Bitch you knew you could not afford that lunch out with your friends, why did you go?”
Amanda told me to bring it in, to watch out for those times when you split into the “you,” as if you’re yelling at another person. She says that’s just another way to avoid solving the problem, to which I get a huge, mom-watching-Oprah style HMMMM.

She provided the following guidelines on identifying and managing your moods with money:

Identifying and Managing Moods:

  • Describe the situation in detail.
  • Specify emotion(s) in this situation, such as sad, angry, afraid, helpless, etc. Rate degree of emotion 1-10.
  • Identify and describe relevant historical information pertaining to self-defeating thoughts.
Self-Defeating Thoughts
  • Record thought(s) that occurred prior, during, and after the situation. Rate belief in thought 1-10.
  • Identify self-defeating underlying belief that generates self-defeating thought.
Styles of Thinking
  • Analyze distortion present in self-defeating thought.
Balanced View / Constructive Action
  • Write realistic, not ideal, response to self-defeating thought.
  • Identify new constructive or realistic underlying belief that is an alternative to the self-defeating underlying belief.
  • Choose appropriate action, such as calming counts, gathering more evidence, replace self-defeating thought with realistic thought, consider ways to handle or manage the situation differently, etc.

Quantify What You Want

I feel general panic about never being able to get a house, wanting to retire, this hole in the only pair of jeans that I can breathe in. So Amanda encouraged me to actually quantify how much I need to do what. I made a Pinterest board, and it was quite fun, actually, to look at it all. I made a list of what I want soon, within a few years, and someday. I also made a section of things I want and I already have.

Set up a Time to Review, Predict, and Plan

Set up a recurring, weekly time to sit down and look over the last week, predict how much you’ll need, and make a plan to get where you want to be. I started slacking on my monthly money check-ins, but I’m going to re-instate those.

Here’s my checklist, as a freelancer, but you can adjust it to your needs:

  • Earned last week:
  • Saved last week:
  • Personal Checking Balance: $0
  • Business Checking Balance: $3
  • Fuck Off Fund Level:
  • Weekly wins:
  • Look at all bills due this week
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB)
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money.
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account

The best part is, Amanda says I get to pair it with something fun. So maybe I get a Monday morning café hangout.

After talking about all this, Amanda asked me: You know what the fuck is wrong with you? Nothing.

We just have to keep moving forward.

So, to recap, first steps:

  • Find out your family money story
  • Examine Your Self Talk
  • Quantify what you want
  • Set up a weekly date to Review, Predict, Plan


Podcast episodes from this month:

Jeri Can We Talk About Money

Mom And Sis Can We Talk About Money

Amanda Clayman, Can We Talk About Money?

Mom Can We Talk Family Money History

Mom Talks To Grandpa About Money

Aunt Janice, Can We Talk About Money

Uncle Jon, Can We Talk About Money?

Amanda, Can We Talk About Why I Call Myself A Bitch (Second Session)

Amanda Can We Talk About Maximizing (Third Session)

Amanda, Can We Talk About Keeping Myself Accountable (4th Session)

Amanda, Did We Figure Out What The Fuck Is Wrong With Me (5th Session)