Here comes another “Holy Crap, I’m an Adult!” post, thanks to the 20sb community blog carnival topic: How do your friends and others affect your choices regarding money?
I get nervous making big purchases, even when my husband (who is financially smarter than me) says it’s totally fine. I feel guilty when purchases don’t get used… I hate throwing rotten food away. But there are little treats I don’t mind. Even though I’m frugal with my money, I recognize there’s a need to treat myself once in awhile. I know how a good coconut iced coffee can lift my spirits on a hot, sunny day. I know how sitting on a patio with a beer and my husband can make me feel peaceful. I know how tea and pastries with a friend can motivate me to get out of bed on my day off. The positive impact that these little things have on my days cannot be denied, and if I keep them little, they’re not going to hurt my checking account.
After our wedding, which put us into modest credit card debt (you’re welcome, Barbados tourism bureau), we did a voluntary no-spend month. Only gas and food purchases were allowed. After we broke our lease ($1100 later), we did an involuntary no-spend month… mostly because we were broke as a joke. These days we keep our spending in check. We have the big-ticket items we’d been wanting (42” television, iPhones, my lovely bicycle) and are no strangers to picking up unwanted furniture from the curb. (Remember the couch story?)
Pinching pennies has made us grateful for the things we have… and has made me utilize many more of the services around here. When I’m tired of the dress I chose to wear to five weddings this summer, I check out the thrift stores first. When we go out to dinner, we check the coupon mailings for local deals. When I’ve read everything on my bookshelf, I head to the library. Oh, how I love the library.
We’re slowly climbing our way out of credit card debt. According to Charles Schwab’s planning tool, it will take me just over a year to pay off my credit card if I continue paying more than my minimum payment. Unfortunately, my first year of graduate school is going to more than double my student loan debt, but that’s the price you pay for education in a shitty economy. I see it as an investment that I hope will pay for itself in ten years.
Talking about finances has always made me uneasy, even weepy. But some days, I look at our accounts and beam with pride. We’re young. We’re married. We’re responsible. And dammit, we’re doing something right.
Disclaimer: This post is part of the 20SB Blog Carnival: Friends And Money, and Charles Schwab Community Services is awarding some prizes for selected winners! The information and opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the views or opinions of Charles Schwab. They also just launched a Financial Check Up tool, which I tried and scored a 65. Details on the event, prizes, and all the bloggers participating can be found here.