Friday, May 18, 2007

This is why it sucks to be an adult

Okay...serious topic. Money.

I'm 26 years old and I have never lived on a budget. I'm not an heiress and I was not given Daddy's credit card when I was 15. I worked an after school job at the age of 16. Yet somehow the lesson on the value of the almighty dollar has eluded me for upwards of ten years. When the gravy train that was my parents came to an end at the ripe old age of 23 I was officially on my own. Fear of homelessness was a powerful motivator in the paying your rent on time game. I learned quickly that you have about 60 days after the due date on the electricity bill to pay up before power is shut off. I learned how to co-exist in a shit hole studio apartment with a group of crack addict neighbors living on the right side of me and a registered sex offender on the left. It was a tricky balance but I managed for 12 long months. While I have never been evicted and I've only had my power turned off once I have always hovered on the brink of broke.

My motto on money circa two months ago:

" I don't make enough of it to live the life I have grown accustomed. So fuck it. Have fun, make memories, and wear cute shoes doing it."

A wake up call:

"Wait, I'm how far over drawn? Why is my car making that funny noise? How long has the check engine light been on?"

Confirmation that I was indeed "up a creek without a paddle" :

Me: My car is going to cost $815 to fix.

Mom: Humph.


Mom: Would you like me to email you the bus schedule?

Fast forward to now:

My car has not been fixed but it is still running, I'm broke but I have a budget in place. Every single penny that I spend is planned out. So much so that it takes me 20 minutes to decide if I want a candy bar at the Circle K. I will not walk to a register unless my items have mathematically proven that their price tag will not throw me over the edge into a pit of financial ruin. Before you ask, yes this is tiring and I know its starting to wear on my friends nerves. But I can't help it. I would rather walk past the cutest pair of BCBG shoes and be able to buy groceries than have the hottest shoes known to human existence and be forced to eat Top Ramen. For those of you who know me personally, know that it is serious when I pass on shoes. I never pass on shoes. I tend to hoard shoes like they are going to stop making them. Like all production lines and sweat shops will come to a grinding halt.

I guess my point to the whole long rant is that I've changed how I look at money. I feel empowered. I feel like for the first time that I can make long term goals for myself. My paychecks are no longer my "Party Fund". I will never be able to give up my love for the Nordstrom's shoe department but I will be able to control my urge to dance naked around the displays crying tears of joy when their "Half Yearly Sale" is if full swing.