I’m a spender.
A real let’s-blow-it-all kinda girl.
Like, I’ve already imagined all the ways in which I’m going to spend my paycheck and it’s not even payday.
The Husband took over our finances as soon as we got married. And I was more than happy to let him do so. My idea of “managing finances” follows the don’t ask, don’t tell policy and I have often avoided checking my account balance out of fear for what I might find. And, when I finally do, I often hear myself saying, “wait, this can’t be right.”
I nickel and dime myself. Five dollars here, ten dollars there. It’s not much at the time, but, damn, does it add up. I can’t get in and out of Target without dropping at least thirty bucks, usually more, and I’m all about instant gratification which means that as soon as I have an idea, I’m taking out my wallet. And most of the time? My “good ideas” turn out not so good and I’m left with random crap I don’t need and won’t use.
Now, add into the equation that I suddenly find myself in a position where I don’t pay rent and hey! I can buy anything I want! Whenever I want!
It has become a serious problem.
As I write this post, my inner (and very weak) budget-conscious self, the one who wants to save money, is cringing. I can only imagine how other, more financially responsible people, will feel while reading this.
I printed out each one of my bank statements since February. That’s when I opened my shiny new bank account. Here are a few horrifying facts about the month of May:
I spent $300 at Target.
In other words, I spent on… I DON’T KNOW WHAT.
That’s THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS on random stuff.
Three hundred dollars nickel and diming myself.
And that does NOT include the $40 I spent on books.
Or the $40 I spent at Starbucks.
Or the $50 I spent on a couple new shirts.
Or the $80 I spent on gas.
Or the $50 I spent on groceries.
In the month of May, I spent MORE than I earned.
That does not include the trip to San Antonio, either.
Because I used my CREDIT CARD to pay for that.
People like me should not have credit.
Although, truth be told, my credit score is quite amazing.
Just thought I’d throw that out there to try and redeem myself.
How much money went into my savings account? A whopping $26.41.
And that’s only because I’m enrolled in that stupid Keep the Change program and I was too lazy to call and cancel it.
Are you as horrified as I am? Because, let me tell you, when I added and tallied and divvied everything up, I wanted to puke.
Back in March, depressed and moving into my kid sister’s bedroom, I had grand plans for getting my car paid off, saving money, moving out on my own… I said six months tops. That’s how long I’d stay with my folks. I estimated that six months is how long it would take me to pay off my car if I in sent every extra cent I had. Without that payment, I told myself, I’ll feel a lot more comfortable moving out on my own.
Now, granted, I have sent extra money towards my car loan each month. But only half of what I had planned. The other half went to God only knows. )Let’s be honest. Probably candy.)
The worst thing is that May was a carbon copy of March and April. I’ve done a lot of damage in the past three months.
A lot. Of. Damage.
Peeps, I’m putting myself on a budget. I’ve even created a binder and everything! (Which, naturally, I spent money on.) (I can’t win.) But I’m planning ahead and keeping track and SAYING NO. And it feels good. Weird, but good.
The most important thing I’ve realized is I can’t be trusted. If there is money available, I’ll spend it. And since this is a problem that can’t be fixed overnight, I’ve decided the less money I have, the better off I’ll be. So, in my effort to save, I’m spending.
No, it makes sense. I swear.
You see, despite the fact that I spend way more money than I should (on crap I don’t need), there’s a fear I have of running out. I’ve been determined to keep a certain amount in my bank account at all times. For what? I have no idea. But it was important to me that the funds were there. This is why I couldn’t send as much to my car as I had planned. The more I spent on useless crap, the less I could send to my car… otherwise I’d fall outside of my financial comfort zone.
I’m forcing myself to get over it. I’ve decided that as soon as it comes in, the money needs to go right back out again. In the last couple of days, I’ve sent everything… okay, nearly everything… that was sitting in my account to my car and credit card. I’ve left only enough for gas and groceries and maybe a book. (Hey, there’s only so much I’m willing to give up.)
And I plan to continue sending the money out until both are paid off.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but for the last few weeks months I’ve been operating under the impression (and hope) that The Husband and I will work things out, that maybe I won’t need to prepare to move out on my own because I’ll be going back to live with him. But the truth… the truth that you all probably grasp much better than I… is that we are far from reconciliation and, sadly, the chances of us actually working things out aren’t great.
They’re quite dismal, actually.
Sure, we’re having fun and getting along and communicating better than we have in years passed, but we are still far, painfully far, from what I’d consider a healthy relationship.
I mean, I still haven’t found a way to say, “What are we doing? Where are we going? How do I fit in in your life?” Because I’m too afraid of being that girl.
HOW STUPID AM I.
Turns out, my finances aren’t the only thing that I need to take responsibility of… But it’s a start.