Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Money Confessions

I think I have kind of a reputation as a personal finance guru.  Yes, I’m definitely interested in it (as evidenced from the many, many blog posts I’ve written on this topic), and I’m more than willing to talk your ear off about finance.  I find it fascinating.  But, I’m not perfect.  Far from it.  In the spirit of keeping it real, here are some Monday money confessions for you:

1.  I still spend money frivolously.  I imagine everyone does, even the most frugal among us.  If not, what’s the point of having money?  For example, I really like buying coffee instead of making it at home.  I guess it just tastes better to me when I have to pay a huge markup for it.  So I go to Starbucks almost every day.  It’s my thing.  I’d like to cut out this unnecessary expense, and I’ve been trying to make coffee at home using the French Press we got off our wedding registry, but I still buy coffee out most days of the week, and I long ago stopped feeling too guilty about it.

2.  I spent a lot of money this year.  We went to Italy for ten days in the spring.  I traveled a lot this summer. Oh yeah, and we got married in November, which was kind of hugely expensive (uh, for me. But a $50 sweater is hugely expensive for me too so take this definition with a grain of salt).  I did not max out my Roth IRA this year (like I did last year) and I certainly didn’t save half my income (one of my previous goals).  I didn’t go into debt to pay for any of these expenses, but I’m looking forward to saving much much more in 2014.  Once I get back from my honeymoon, that is.

3.  I’m not freelancing as much as I used to, which means that the amount of money I earned this year will be less than what I earned last year.  I haven’t consciously cut down on my freelance work, but I have said no to more projects and been more protective of my time.  I have an amazing, demanding day job, and when I get home at night I often just want to sit around and relax, not plow through another few hours in front of my computer.  Same goes for my weekends.  The summer after I finished graduate school, I often worked 7 days a week, out of necessity.  That kind of schedule is hard, y’all, and now that I’m debt free I don’t feel as much of a compulsion to earn earn earn.

4.  I feel like I’m in a holding pattern right now.  I’m (hopefully) not making any big purchases for the next few years.  We’re not buying a house in the two remaining years we have in Pittsburgh, we have two (pretty old and totally paid off) working cars, the wedding is over, and I’ve paid off my student loan debt.  I don’t have any concrete goals right now, other than growing my savings and retirement, and those are boring, intransient goals.  They’re not urgent or sexy, so I just kind of ignore them and let automated savings deductions do their thing.  Boooring.

Phew.  I feel much better having drawn back the curtain.  No one’s perfect when it comes to money, and it’s such a personal topic that most people don’t want to discuss it.  It’s easy to wonder if anyone else is having the same questions or struggles you are, but it can be so taboo to ask.  I, on the other hand, feel like an open book, and love to share the good along with the bad.  I think knowledge is power, even if it’s just the knowledge that every morning at 9am, you can most likely find me in line at the local Starbucks.


Amber said...

Haha I totally buy coffee out most of the days of the week too! I am not frugal by any means but I am a pretty good saver. Right now we just struggle with the fact that Eric doesn't have a full time job so we basically live on 1.5 incomes. We are constantly chattering about how amazing it will be when we have two full time incomes! Right now we are saving for a trip to Ireland in the spring and saving for something big like that makes me WAY more conscious about when and where I am spending money!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Hey we all have to have our areas that we splurge, right? It's what makes us human! The big financial goals I met this year were paying off my undergrad loans, paying down my grad school loans by a significant amount, and maxing out my 401(k) and IRA contributions. So I am doing some things right. I did travel A LOT but most of those trips were to visit others so I just had to pay for the cost of the plane ticket. I was talking about my lifestyle with a friend last week and said I wondered if people thought I lived frivolously because they see all the trips I take, but they don't see that I rarely eat out, don't buy books, only buy clothes when they are 40-50% off at BR, and only get one coffee a week at Starbucks. So I do cut back in many areas of my life, they are just less noticeable to others!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

That is really impressive that you've paid off all of your loans and are saving so much. I hope to be there someday. Unfortunately, neither the manfriend or I are in careers that pay enough for us to really save toward anything big so we are definitely in a holding pattern. I struggle between wanting to have a little fun and needing to save for something (upcoming vacation, school, etc). At some point, I would like to take on freelance writing, but it's just not in the schedule right now. And I say just go for the coffee. And if it brings you enough happiness for a small $2 a day, it's probably worth it. :)

Newlyweds on a Budget said...

I think even the most financially savvy among us do some spending things that we most likely don't write about for fear of being judged. I know that us hiring a cleaning lady wouldn't be taken over well, but it has been SUCH a lifesaver. SO maybe you don't have a cleaning lady, but you prefer to spend that money on, we all have our things.