Thursday, August 27, 2015

Straining to Hear That Cha-CHING.

I've never been awesome at saving money.

You know what I've been awesome at instead? Shopping for clothes, shoes, makeup and fascinating works of literature. Drinking fancy lattes at 2 pm. Bringing a bottle of bubbly over to my friends' houses. Eating lunch and dinner at awesome restaurants and springing for a cocktail or two.

But since I've entered the decade of the thirties, which is when most people realize they'll get old one day, I've heard through the grapevine that I should be saving. So, in the last few weeks or so (don't laugh - I had to start somewhere) I've begun taking my money habits more seriously.

First, I opened a Roth IRA and there's already a little bit of money in it. YAY! Thanks to my Uncle Phil's speech in Litchfield back around Memorial Day, I set up the account without difficulty and I'm depositing money as often as possible. I feel so accomplished!

The other things I've done haven't been quite as fun.

I'm eating way more meals at home, for one thing. And yes, my cooking skills have improved. In the last week I've made tons of fruit smoothies, salads, new desserts (y'all read that post, right?), inventive pasta dishes ...and today I actually drove home from work and made coffee, eggs, toast and sliced tomatoes in my kitchen instead of going to Bagel Nation. Crazy, right? And I'm having hot tea at my desk now, made with some tea my thrifty best friend Mandie gave me.

It gets crazier.

I announced to my roomie John, after rinsing my dishes, that I was going to Barnes & Noble and buying a CD that I wanted because, well, who buys CDs anymore? I was in a funk earlier today and in need of a retro adventure, like opening some new music and unfolding a lyric sheet. Then I halted. CDs are like $18 bucks -- that's my whole day's allowance blown before dinner! So you know what I did instead?


I'm finally living within my means, I thought to myself, thumbing through Fleetwood Mac and Radiohead in the "Pop/Rock" section of the Mount Pleasant Branch.

But it's not always as bleak as I'm making it sound. Yesterday, I joined my sis at the Pickled Palate and had a yummy sandwich and salad for about $12. And the other day, I had a beer and shrimp tacos at happy hour for about $10. I've been tracking myself and sticking to this $20 a day thing. Most days, I don't spend the whole $20. I'm feeling ...probably the way most people feel when they start a new diet.

Is this forever? 

But it won't always feel like that, of course. Soon, this new leaf I'm turning over will become a habit. I'll waste less money and sock more of it away. And I'll become a better cook. And I'll develop a new appreciation for restaurants, libraries, vacations and treating myself.

Those all sound like good things in the long run, right?

My smoothie, pre-blend. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you wrote this because I find it's so hard to manage finances. Once again, here is another thing you don't learn in school. Recently I've been listening to this great podcast from Real Simple Magazine called "Adulthood Made Easy," and one of the guest speakers was a journalist who wrote a book on personal finance. I'm about half way through and am really proud of myself for even trying to learn what the heck the difference is between a pension and a Roth IRA, let along starting to do some of those things. But setting up auto-deposits from my checking to my savings accounts have helped me at least get started.
    If you're in for a read with hip, trendy language that was written with 20- and 30-something women in mind, I would recommend "Rich Bitch" by Nicole Lapin. She makes personal finance very palatable, kinda like enjoying your kale by putting it in a smoothie.
    Keep rockin' the savings, sista!