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.