Iâ€™m into money. â€¦.Iâ€™m not ALL about the Benjaminâ€™sâ€¦but I am into earning them. Iâ€™m into cash. Iâ€™m into not needing to ask for it, and most importantly, not having to worry about it on a day to day basis. Iâ€™m into money, and Iâ€™m into being smart about it. Iâ€™m into being aware of it, beingÂ cognizant of my real life financial picture. I get hot watching my savings account grow. Or my emergency fund finally be up to Suze- Orman-snuff. Iâ€™m into the freedom to buy what I want, in reason, but with the sense to manage money effectively. I think managing your own money well is a real milestone of adulthood. One I would think you would want to have down by, at the very absolute latest, your late twenties. At 23, you can spend your entire paycheck on a personal trainer to make sure your body is bangin for the first annual pool party, and at 22 I might have gotten myself into a pair of vintage Frye boots that were just about the cost of my rent. (For the record, I still wear them, SEE â€śinvestment piecesâ€ť and they were half-way a gift). But whatever you do, DO NOT carry these financial follies into your thirties. Or even close.
In the case of the FRYE boots, my investment DID pay off. And it wasnâ€™t a coincidence. I did my research. I read my reviews, tilted my chin, I scratched my head. I wondered if these were indeed a timeless piece, one that I could actually see myself wearing for years to come. That got me wondering about what kind of life mine would beâ€¦â€¦years to come. I remember not being sure of a lot of things, but one thing I was sure of was: I wanted to live in a future where I never ate Raman noodles for dinner, and where I could put bills on auto pay without having to leave the country on the first or 15th. I wanted to NEVER sulk into the bank like Charlie Brown to address$ 800 dollars in overdraft feesâ€¦.due to an amazing weekend in South Beach. But letâ€™s not blame good olâ€™ SOBE, letâ€™s get in on the real culprit here, an all around piss poor sense of money coupled with a compromised sense of judgment. (I call that life stage 19-24â€¦.Erik Ericksonâ€™s got nothinâ€™ on me.) The awareness to know what I could afford, more importantly what I couldnâ€™t afford, and the sense to live within these means did not come for me at 23. Thatâ€™s not perfect, but I think itâ€™s still OK. If there is a time to be young and dumbâ€¦well, itâ€™s when you are young.
Also on the awareness end, was discovering what really WAS worth the splurge, to me. Different things do it for different people, even still, research suggests that more people find money well spent was money doled out on activities and experiences â€¦.trips, vacations, skiing, dinners with friends, than actual material things. As someone who literally used to SLEEP with the new shoes I got as a child, I STILL think this rings true. Yes, those patent leathers rocked my world, but waking up next to them was always a little empty anyway. Nothing like the feeling I went to bed with after a beautiful amazing day boating and skiing with my friends and family. ( Itâ€™s just not the same smile.)
I also think that money well spent is money used to create a healthy lifestyle. Because, if youâ€™re deadâ€¦.or ill, having extra money is as good as 10 speed bicycle fit for a fish. Or something like that. I donâ€™t regret paying 19 dollars/month for a gym membership when after one Yoga session I practically feel almost relaxed. THIS IS HUGE, for me. I also donâ€™t regret a monthly massageâ€¦I work hard, am often on deadlines, and just so happen to carry about 97.24 percent of my physical stress in my neck and shoulders. Awesome! But go ahead and ask me where I get the massage, and Iâ€™ll give you the name of a clinic that staffs massage students and runs me 20 bucks a pop. Score! And food- I buy quality food, and cook at home a lot. I bring lunch, and eat oatmeal at breakfast. I DO fall into my local starbucks more than I am proud of, but I justify that by not spending money on other ridiculous consumables like lots of drinks out/cigarettes/ ridiculously monogrammed accessories. And I just order plain coffee. Mostly. And croissants. Sometimes.
So no, Iâ€™m no Suze Ormanâ€¦.but I do know that the thought of not knowing where my rent was coming from for next month, or not being able to get the wild salmon at the grocery store (the farm raised just isnâ€™t as good), would make me different shades of unhappy. Of course, some things are more important than others, but for meâ€¦walking in the door after a hellish day to my very own apartment filled with the foods I enjoy to cook and eat, and no one to have to talk to or share the bathroom with, are two things that make me pretty freaking happy. Sure, I could save money if I lived with a roommate, but at 27, Iâ€™m not shacking up with someone unless we are making a baby in the next lunar cycle or they took Beyoneâ€™s advice and… you know what. Until then, Iâ€™ll be coming home to an apartment that is exactly the way I left it (in shambles) and not having to worry about finding a decent sock for any door. Itâ€™s worth it, to me. Independence, food, quality classic items (again, see â€śinvestment piecesâ€ť), and some money in the bank ,are things I wouldnâ€™t trade for HBO, a fancier car, or even a weekly mani/pedi. At 40 bucks a pop, I mostly always do my own nails. If you buy all the supplies and quality polish, itâ€™s a good way to go. Tricky to get just right, but worth it if you can get it down.
At the end of the day, what makes us each financially happy, is going to be a little different. But, when times are tight (We are in a recession, FOLKS- S. Kolach), I think itâ€™s important to identify what is important to you, what makes sense to splurge on, and when itâ€™s time to stop committing financial suicide and start treating your money like a lady.Â A reality check doesnâ€™t hurt either. Being aware of your money is sometimes scary, even depressing, when you first take a real hard look. Chances are if you are an adult who is struggling with basic bills, you have no reason to be donning acrylic nails or a coach bag. There. I said it. If this is you, Iâ€™d beg you to re-examine your priorities, your savings account, and your nail painting skills. Iâ€™m sure you wonâ€™t find yourself less pretty, or less happy for that matter. Saving is liberating, and freedom is definitely an investment piece Iâ€™d recommend. Its classic, itâ€™s cool, it’s great for all seasons, and itâ€™s not going out of style.
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