1) Do your research.
When I decided to plant my periennials, I had to make sure that they would stand up to the amount of sun in that spot, wouldn't crowd each other, would look good together. I read alot about it before I made my decisions.
Same with your finances....know what you are getting into (aka, the FINE print) before you plant!
2) Are you in it for the long haul?
Last year I made the leap into periennials. While the upfront cost is a little more, not having to buy a bulk of plants each year would be less expensive. Additionally, I would have more time to enjoy my garden, without having to keep planting year after year.
I am not a stocks and bond gal...so take from this what you want. But when you invest in something...the long term benefits tend to outweigh the short term ones.
3) Start small.
I really REALLY wanted to go all gangbusters and buy everything I wanted at once. But alas, the budget wouldn't allow for that. I bought a decent amount of plants (mostly periennials, but a few annuals) last year, knowing they wouldn't completely fill the space. It was a good start though. This year, I was able to buy 2 more periennials (which BTW, are looking FAB-ulous), and still fill in with a few annuals. And next year I will buy a few more. One bed is almost "done" and we will continue to work on the next bed, then the next.
You can't do it all at once, despite our desire. We have to start small. Build that initial emergency fund. Pay off ONE bill. Save for a particular item. As each of your steps become more established, you can add to it!! Now that you know you can handle one thing, add another. Maybe you now have the discipline to save for 2 things, or you are on track to pay off something, and you would like to try and invest some. We can't do all of these things all at once!!!
4) Tend as you go.
I spent 15 minutes watering and weeding. It is much easier to to pull a few weeds here and there than have to clear tons of them. Additionally, your garden looks so much nicer....not overgrown and unkept.
Do you check your accounts? Regularly??? If you do, you are more likely to have some financial order!! It is easier to balance your checkbook on a regular basis (you can define that for yourself....daily, weekly, monthly), than try and clear out a year worth of transactions.
As my plants get bigger, they need to be staked. This helps them grow straight and tall. They are healthier. They are better looking. But they also need this to prosper.
HMMMM....support? Do you have a support system? A significant other, a friend, the blogisphere? You need a support system to keep you up!!
6) Know what it needs.
I planted one plant last year that really needed more shade than my garden has. When I was considering it, the nursery said that the taller plants in the back would probably shade the plant, and it should be fine. Well, it wasn't. It burnt to a crisp and died. I "hoped" it would come back this year, but nope. It wasn't meant for that spot and it just didn't work.
In your finances, is your money where it needs to be? Are you keeping it in a low interest account because you are just "hoping" it will work out? Is your debt on a high interest credit card because that is where it was "planted" and it is burning and dying there? Realize that sometimes, despite your hoping things will work out....they won't.
7) Don't count out the little guy.
I have 4 tall plants in the back of the bed. The second one from the left has always been a little weak. While the others have grown taller and continued to bud, he just plodded along. I was concerned he wasn't going to make it. But he did! He isn't nearly as big, or thick. He doesn't produce as many buds. But he is alive, and he is growing. I hope he just continues to mature and in a few years, you won't know he was the runt.
We all get frustrated at what we think are weak attempts to do something. Maybe you are only able to save $1 a day. You think....this account is NEVER going to grow. But...you keep at it. You tend it. And one day you look, and it is BIGGER than it was. It is starting to prosper! One day, when that account is round and fat with zeroes...you won't know that it was once a runt.
8) Enjoy it!!!
I love my garden. I get alot of enjoyment from just sitting on my front steps and looking at it. I enjoy the watering and the weeding. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it.
Learn to love your finances. It is a whole lot easier to do 1-7 if you like what you are doing!!!