Financial decisions have never been my forte (LOL that I’m a financial advisor for Mutual of Omaha). I’m not good at saving money, but I am really good at spending money the second that I make it.
In college, I made decent money for a full-time student, but I didn’t make decent decisions. I would take my $500 paychecks and pay rent only to be left with $43. Instead of buying groceries or saving for the electric bill, I normally plotted the best way to take a weekend-long trip on just $43. If you cram 6 people in your car, road trips really aren’t that expensive anyway, but they usually depleted my $43 bank account. There were even times when I convinced myself that a 12-hour, Wednesday road trip would be better than eating lunch for the next three days.
In fact, I pretty much make irrational financial decisions every single time that I get paid. Sometimes, during the really hard weeks when I only had $10 to last 6 days, I would spend over an hour convincing myself that if I didn’t eat out, I would die. “But if you don’t order Buffalo Wild Wings, you will literally kill over and die. Dead. People die when they don’t eat, Kaelly.” After a few pep talks, I almost always gave in; I just wasn’t ready to die, OK?
Yesterday, I got paid for the first time in a while, so I went straight to Wal-Mart. Our house has been running low on dish soap and laundry soap, so I wanted to make sure that I bought it while I had the money. (Let’s be honest – if I waited 3 days, I might not have the $18 that laundry soap requires.)
First, let me just ask – what the heck is so magical about soap that it has to cost so much? (Maybe it’s my fault for being pretentious and buying the ultra good smelling stuff; Chris, I blame you!) Seriously, if you go to the store just to buy laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, and conditioner, you’ve practically spent $100. It’s ridiculous. I guess I’m going to have to learn how to make my own soap from now on, except that my clothes will smell awful, and I probably won’t have friends anymore.
After visiting the soap aisle, I, naturally, went straight to the kitchen aisle. (On the outside, I’m a 21-Year-Old single girl, but on the inside, I’m a 35-Year-Old mother of four who dreams of the days where I get to spend all day baking apple pies and packing lunches.) If I was smart, I would’ve just looked at everything and immediately deposited my paycheck into my savings account. Instead, I spent 30 minutes gawking at utensils that I HAD to have. I wound up walking out of the store with a new coffee tumbler, a pastry blender, and a pie dish (I can’t even afford to buy the ingredients to bake a pie right now, but at least I have the required utensils!)
Now, I spend most of my days wondering when and where my next paycheck will come from. I should be more stressed about money than I am. Some weeks, I spend my time balancing work and emotional, money-related mental breakdowns because I don’t know how much longer I will survive. But other weeks, I get big paychecks and feel like I can live forever – it’s a vicious cycle. You’d think that when I finally did get paid, I’d put all of my money into my savings account, and vow to never buy another unnecessary item for the rest of eternity. But instead, I get paid, and I immediately check airline tickets and plan trips to country music festivals and buy pie plates that I may never have the funds to use.
When I was younger, I hated that my parents never seemed to know how to manage money. I always vowed that when I was older, I would have a savings account so that I would never have to worry about living off $3.75 for a whole week. Someday, I still want that savings account. Someday, when I have kids, I want to always have a backup plan. But right now, as a 21-Year-Old Freelance Writer, I’m learning that sometimes having crazy adventures and spending every dollar you have can be better than a savings account. Maybe that makes me irrational and financially irresponsible, but at least it makes for great stories.