Lately I’ve been a little stressed about money. My dog had her physical, a dental exam and an allergic result to antibiotics all in the last month. If you’ve ever paid a vet bill, you know that it’s more than a $25 copay you’d spend at your own doctor’s.
I’ve also been giving myself an incredibly small entertainment budget - $15 a month. I know very well that I can’t follow that, but that’s what it has to be for the numbers to add up every month and so I can pay my loans off in November.
When people ask how I’ve been able to save so much, I usually tell them I have low living expenses (which is true). But I leave out the part where I spend money I don’t have and figure out later how to earn it.
Today I dropped about $25 for a bimonthly club meeting. I don’t regret the money I spent - just that I spent the dinner eating an appetizer because I didn’t want to spend more than $35 on dinner itself.
When I came home I put on Netflix and rewatched "The Queen of Versailles," a documentary about David Siegel, who owned the largest timeshare company in America and how he lost it all.
Sometimes I think that once I make a certain amount, I won’t need for anything. I’ll be able to afford my gym membership, dinners with friends, travel abroad and all the vet bills my dog could have.
But watching this movie I realized that my problem is not my income or my expenses - it’s my attitude. I always want more. That won’t be fixed by making more money or taking more trips or having a less rigid budget.
So how do I learn to be happy with what I have? Well, creating a budget that I can actually follow would probably be a good start. And maybe finding neat things to do for free, where I can still explore but not worry about how much I’m spending. I could work on my crafts, practice riding my bike and play with my dog.
The thing is - I like a simple life. I love running errands with my friend Jess, watching “Dr. Who” for the first time and checking out books from the library. I think I just don’t allow any breathing room in my budget, which makes me so stressed that I can’t even enjoy the things that I am choosing to spend money on.
This post has all been one big rant and vent session, but I genuinely believe that the more people talk about money, the more open we’ll feel in saying, “Hey can we do something at home tonight? I’m on a budget” or, “Do you have any tips on saving money on groceries?”
I want all of us to have an open conversation about money, and I want to start.