While my husband and I are great with our finances now, we weren’t always so money savvy. When we were in our mid-twenties, we made a ton of financial mistakes we still regret. We constantly traded in our cars, scoring one huge monthly payment after another. Heck, when we started budgeting, we found out we were spending around $1,000 per month on food. Looking back, that seems so crazy!

Over time, we even upgraded from a small house to a bigger home. For some reason, two kids in their late 20’s needed a four-bedroom house. Who knew?

Then, a pivotal moment of our lives took place; we had our first child and started thinking more about where we were headed. With more than just ourselves to take care of, we started worrying about our future. What about retirement? College savings? Could we ever afford a family vacation?

We knew we weren’t making the best financial decisions, but we had no idea what to do next. Not only did we work regular, 9-5 jobs, but we worked nights and weekends, too. And since we had a new baby at home, we barely had time to cook dinner, let alone get our money straight.

Eventually, I realized this was a lie. We did have time to get our money straight. The only reason we weren’t making progress is because we hadn’t yet made our finances a priority.

But once we started making ourselves a priority, amazing things happened! Not only did we become debt-free, but we learned to enjoy life more. We quit losing sleep over our debts, and we quit worrying about whether we would ever retire. With a zero-sum budget, a pen and paper, and a lot of willpower, we completely transformed our finances during one of the busiest – and hardest – times in our lives.

The Biggest Money Lie We Tell Ourselves

Because of what we’ve been through, I always cringe when I hear people say they don’t have time to budget, get out of debt, or track their spending.

For some reason, we prioritize everything else above our financial health. We make time to watch our favorite football teams, right? We make time to go to the movies on the weekends. We make time to sleep in on Saturday mornings, or drink beer with our friends on Friday nights.

We make time for the things that are important to us. And if we don’t make time to get our money straight, it’s only because we haven’t yet deemed our finances important.

If only I had realized this fact earlier. Unfortunately, it took us quite a while to realize that our finances were important. If we didn’t get our money straight, we might spend our entire lives in debt, live paycheck-to-paycheck throughout adulthood, and work until we die.

Who wants to live like that? And, shouldn’t this be important?

You Do Have Time to Get Out of Debt

If you’re ready to change your relationship with money but worry you don’t have the time, I totally get it. Long ago, I had small kids and a traditional job that took up 40-50 hours per week. If you had asked me to sit down and create a budget when I was 25-years-old, I would have laughed in your face. After all, who has time for that?

But the 37-year-old me is a lot more practical with both her money and her time. Instead of thinking I’ll fix my finances later in life, I’ve come to realization that, the longer you wait, the harder change becomes.

I’ve also realized that amazing things happen when you make your money a priority. Creating a budget may not be as fun as watching football or shopping at the mall, but the difference it can make in your life is nothing short of amazing.

If you’re someone who feels you’re short on time to budget, ask yourself where you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years. If you’re not on track to achieving the lifestyle you want, there’s no better time than now to turn your life around. Getting your finances straight may mean giving up a few precious hours each week at first, but it will get easier over time. And no matter how much you’re struggling, you should know that your efforts will be well worth it.

But before you can change your life, you have to learn to put your money – and yourself – first. Stop making excuses, and stop telling yourself that you’ll pay off debt next year, in five years, or when the kids are out of school.

The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll drop debt and gain the lifestyle you really want.

Have you ever told yourself you don’t have time to get ahead? How did you overcome it?