It’s March. Can we just revel in that for a sec? It feels like just a couple of days ago I was making New Years’ Resolutions and waving goodbye to 2012. March. Mmmm. M could stand for something delicious like muffins, mimosas, or marshmallows, but this month it stands for money. I am perpetually bad with money. I don’t ever make giant purchases because I’m kind of cheap and never have any money anyway. But when I do have a little “extra” cash, I will definitely spend it. I love to go out to eat. Lord knows I love to shop. I love to buy things for the people I love when I see something that reminds me of them. I’m great at spending money.
What I’m not great at is having money. I can’t even get started on saving it because I am constantly barely living within my means. I feel like if I don’t use my money on this yummy cupcake that I can see and hold and consume, then it’ll have to be spent on a bill for something less tangible like electricity. Carrie Bradshaw said it best when she said “I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” I love to be able to say “I bought this for six dollars–isn’t it just perfect!?” But that requires having six dollars to spend.
So this month, since I’m Brokey McBrokenburg, I started what I think is called a budget. I know, I’m almost 23 and I don’t really know how a budget works. I grew up knowing that I never had money to spend, so the idea of a budget just seemed silly because I didn’t have the funds to allot to things I wanted anyway. Except that, instead, I re-prioritize my late bills so I can go on thrifting adventures.
Alright, so I’m getting real. I made a Google spreadsheet with all of my expenses for the month, minus food, gas, etc., just to see where I stood. Let’s say that number wasn’t pretty and was a little over twice my rent. Ouch. But now I know! I know what that number actually is, so when I’m trying to decide if splurging on a $10 pair of shoes or ordering a drink with dinner is worth it, I can know what an impact those few dollars make on my ability to live within my means.
Y’all, I know it sucks. I guess I’m mostly talking to my younger readers because I know all my fellow twenty-somethings have already figured this out. Even if you don’t have enough money to set aside for something pretty, know how much money you owe to the rest of the world. Eat some cookies while you do the math and take a nap after, because if you’re like me, you’ll need it. Money is the one thing that can single-handedly send me spiraling into a puddle of depression. Numbers make my stomach hurt and looking at my bank account gives me full on panic attacks. But things are so much worse for me when I don’t know where I stand.
So maybe I can’t afford to pull a Kiera
and give myself a $100 shopping limit
every month or even Danielle
‘s $20 rule
, but literally knowing
how much money I owe to the world is going to help me be a better spender. I’m not saying that I’m going to stop eating out completely–let’s face it, I’m never at home to cook anything–or that I’ll be able to not buy a single wearable things–let’s face it, shopping is my vice–but I’m going to be a lot more conscious of where my money is going and of the value of the dollars I might have left over
PS. Are you a lady blogger or blog reader in the Austin area (or might be in town for the SXSW festivities)?
Come hang out at the Texas Style Council blogger mixers this weekend! For free!
There will be drinks and shopping, beauty and crafting, and lots of networking with other Texas blog ladies!
Or, if you can’t make it this weekend but will be in town for SXSW/Spring Break, I’d love to meet up!