Let’s take this back.
Like to the way, way baaaaaaaaack.
When I was a small adorable child, I loved many things. My little pony, Barbies, stickers, colored pencils, Fred Savage from The Wonder Years…..AND MONEY. Even as a small child I knew the importance of what money brings. Money brings nice things. Money can buy you pretty things. What I didn’t know then was when I received that crisp 20 dollar bill in my Birthday card, that money would become the start of all things wrong in my life. It’s actually really sad to think that I, coming from two great law abiding, hard working and not to mention money frugal parents, would be in debt. After my parents instilled in me the value of a dollar, hard work and paying off debts, I didn’t listen. After receiving my money for birthdays , I would save it because that’s what I should be doing. That’s what I was taught to do. Save it for a rainy day. I did save. I had a nice little $100 dollar cushion. Then a book fair would happen in school; I just NEEDED those Luke Perry & Beverly Hills, 90210 books.
The word NEED is also the root of all evils. Honestly I didn’t NEED those books. I didn’t NEED half of the stuff I bought when I was younger. Frankly, I don’t NEED any of the stuff I currently own now. Why is that? Why is it we always NEED what we can’t afford, always NEED what we can’t have, always have the need to NEED something. A majority of all my neediness comes from sadness. The generic thinking that I needed something to make me happy. If I bought a new toy, or if my Barbie needed a new outfit I would buy them. While I did enjoy a happy childhood at home, its the sadness that I endured internally that was never satisfied until I had something. It didn’t matter what that something was. I just needed to have it. The one of many things that would make me happy. While both of my parents were extremely hard working, they showered myself and my sibling with everything we needed. A roof over our head, food on the table, stability in our home life. We were never left without needing anything. Of course when you’re younger you want more. So you vow that when you’re of age to work, that you would work hard to get all the things you’ve ever dreamed of. All the things you needed but never got. It’s only then when you work hard, you earn hard. When you earn hard, you make money. When you make money, you can buy all the pretty things you want. Then once you have everything you ever wanted, will you truly be happy. That was my sad make believe assumption.
From the moment I had my first job at age 14 to my recent job at age 31, I have nothing but expensive expenses to show for a lifetime of spending. I have nothing but debts to re-encounter every single purchase I have ever made. Everything adds up by the way. No matter how many times you put money towards paying off a debt, you immediately go back to spending. You see this new available balance and you can’t help but tell yourself “I have $100 dollars on my Wellsfargo Visa, I can eat at this restaurant and spend $30 dollars on myself”. That $30 dollar meal, turns into a $30 dollar meal and a coffee. That $30 dollar meal and a coffee, turns into $30 dollar meal and the new album by so and so band. With that you’ve spend $75 dollars, before you know it your new statement arrives and you’ve spent the $100 dollars you just put in. Because you forget that there’s a finance charge at the end of every period. My $30 dollar “I deserve it meal”, just cost me a $100 bucks.
I’m miserable. Then what do I do? I get paid and buy something with my debit card. It’s this never ending cycle of spending that you don’t realize is a seriously problem, which in turn makes you upset, which then makes you miserable. While my peers and friends my age are building families, their own person legacies, not to mention doing a lot of traveling; I’m pinching pennies to buy a $4.95 coffee. Because instead of looking at the bigger picture of saving money for a rainy day; I’ve spent EVERYTHING. But hey, I NEEDED THOSE THINGS. I live too fast and spend way too furiously. Its because in those 40 minutes you spent at the store, the half hour you spent eating a delicious meal, or the 5 minutes it took to get your expensive coffee, it was in that exact moment you felt happy.
Boy did you feel happy. Which lasted a full 5 minutes and then you’re back where you started from. The never ending cycle of excess spending.
That’s my problem. I realized how truly unhappy I was the moment I returned from a month long visit in Mexico (of course more money I didn’t need to spend, but reality was I needed this trip). In that month I spent no money on either of my credit cards, I bought no new clothes, didn’t have to eat at all the new restaurants, didn’t need that expensive fancy coffee every day. Sure I spent money I had saved on meals and adventures, but I didn’t feel the need to have everything. I didn’t need much of anything. While I realized that I live in a country of extreme excess, it was humbling to see life different from my own. Maybe that’s all we need. A slice of humble pie to bring us back to reality. The moment I walked into my room after a month long hiatus of being gone, I couldn’t believe myself. I honestly saw myself for what I was. I was a emotional hoarder who had a huge spending problem. My depression brought out the worst in myself and lead me in a downward spiral of clutter. I took one look in my room and told myself “I am better than this bullshit stuff”.
That’s how it started. How it all began. It took a little girl who felt the need to have everything to finally come to terms with her true unhappiness. I was rewarding my bad behavior with expensive items I didn’t need. Purchasing things to mask how truly sad I was on the inside and how ugly I felt. The years of problems I had in my life showed itself to me the moment I set foot in my room. The past relationship rewards, the sad breakup rewards, the countless bad day rewards, ALL OF IT. And you know what? I feel better knowing that I am on the road to being happy. It’s going to be hard to resist buying pretty shiny new things, but for my own well being it needs to be done. I have to keep telling myself, what’s better: being happy or a new kate spade wallet? Okay, wait. Let me rephrase that. What’s better: being happy or debt? Yeah that’s what I thought. Move along.
This is my introduction to a more frugal way of living and these are my own personal stories I am sharing with the world.
If you see me in the store with too many things in my cart, please feel free to keep me in check.