Expenses

Through being Cool.

You are so Cool.

At least thats what you want everyone else to believe. That everything that you snicker and make snide comments about make you superior to every species on the planet. Because its your opinion that matters over every one else’s. We all want to be better than everyone else. Degrade the masses with subliminal messages. Show everyone just what we are all made of. Made up of materialistic every day things, that will make us better than everyone else. We go out of our way to find these special things just to prove we had it first. Being cool means you have everything and know everything, because that’s what makes you special.

Of course you’re special, you’re so cool.

Its the shoes that we buy that make us who we are. Its the clothes we wear that shape our self esteem. Its the cars we drive, the homes we live in, and our lifestyles that set us apart from everyone else. Because we are the cool ones that show off our material things that makes us so cool. We are whats new and great in the world and it makes us better than everyone else.  Its our status symbols upon status symbols that prove that we have truly made it. All materialism is just stuff that makes us feel superior to everyone else. Sure you find the coolest bands, the coolest clothes, know all the coolest places, but that just makes you in the know that doesn’t make you any cooler. We are a generation of needing to be somebodies when we are really complete nobodies.

But I need the hottest shoes, the dopest bag, and to drive the sickest car. I need a lifetime of “I am so cool” to make me an ounce of fucking cool. I need to find the newest “it” bag, hear the next best thing, watch the cool as fuck video. I NEED these things because having these things makes me better than everyone else. Knowing all theses things proves I am just as fucking cool as the next person. Just as cool as everyone else. Isn’t that what we all want? To be just like everyone else? We all want these things in our cool-as-fuck world that makes us into completely different people. Because being someone else is better than what we show to the world. I wish I was cool. Cool enough to wear the coolest dopest shit you’ve ever seen. Cool enough to share with the world all my pretty shiny things. Every thing I love everyone else hates. Everything I like is different, unusual, and boring. Every thing I want for myself is kept privately for fear of being shunned by the world. Because no matter how much money I make, it’s never enough. For every dope thing thats “dope” to me, people don’t seem to care about anyway. Every thing I have is just my attempts at being cool, which makes me fail miserably. We are not school children trying to one up one another in the school yard. We are not roaming the halls of our imaginative high school. We’re grown ups, who are still growing up. We’re human beings trying to live. More importantly we are not children anymore showing off whats cool in front of the masses at show and tell. What does it matter what I like that you don’t like? What does it matter if the mainstream is more fun then the underground? What makes cool so fucking cool anyway?

You reach that point in your life when growing up is inevitable. Everything that you once held dear to your heart all finds a way to disappear. All the things you once loved starts becoming childish and juvenile. I am through being cool. Through pretending that everything that I like is suppose to be what everyone else likes. Through spending money to impress complete nobodies into believing I am a somebody. Through wishing for material things in my attempt to impress you. New shoes doesn’t change who I am because even wearing new shoes doesn’t change the numbers in my bank account. Material things don’t make me cool because the more we try being cool, makes us less than fucking cool. I don’t need a closet of beautiful things to make me special. I don’t need to drive the coolest car to make me a somebody. Because reality is we are all complete nobodies. Who are we to make people believe that having these things makes us better than everyone else? All the things we love are made by people who have nothing. Some days I wish I had nothing just so I can appreciate everything I have surrounding me.

I am done pretending because reality is I am not cool. Not even an ounce of cool, not even a smidgen of cool. I am just me. I can live with that, why can’t you?

 

Food vs. Debt.

The moment you believe you have everything all figured out is the moment you realize you don’t. For the most part I have my debt under control. However, Debt is always that dark cloud that looms over me. Debt is a funny word with horrible consequences. Who would have ever thought that a word so innocent looking could hurt so much. Its like a bad relationship you can’t escape from. No matter where  you turn, your Debt is right behind you. Taunting you, ridiculing you, and overall just proving to you that you can never get over them.

DEBT in all it’s magnificent, no mercy glory.

I personally hate being in debt. Well lets be really honest, who honestly likes being in debt? Any which way I can pinch a few pennies to reclaim my balance in my life, I just about do. While I have drastically cut out a lot of unnecessary spending, I keep finding myself missing a few hundred dollars. Where exactly does my money go to? I have stopped excess shopping. I have stopped purchasing countless clothes, accessories, shoes, and beauty supplies. I have even stopped purchasing books, notebooks, and supplies. Where else could my money be going? Every dollar is accounted for. I have budgeted all of my expenses and narrowed them down to all the necessities. But what on Earth can be taking a few hundred dollars. While I do put some money into savings, where does the rest of my money go? Thats when it really donned on me.

Food.

I have had problems with food for as long as I can remember and I am no stranger to talking about it on this blog. However, while I have my food problems under control, I cannot manage to control my stress eating. A majority of my recent weight gain is all due primary because of stress. When I have anxiety or if my depression hits an all time low, I eat. Somewhere in my crazy mind, eating relaxes me. I love to eat just as much as the next person. On top of that, it has taken me a long time to be okay with eating. The truth of the matter is, I don’t just eat, I binge. If I am having a crappy day, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy countless things, primarily junk food. Most days I can calm the nerves but once my anxiety hits it’s back to the bottom. It doesn’t stop there, it’s the eating out, its the drinking, its the fancy coffee here and there. It’s not just once a week. Most times its 5 times in one week. Then the next week comes and it starts all over again. While my savings shows me that I am saving money, my bank account shows that I cannot control my spending urges when food is involved.

Depending on season, time of day, and even weather, on average I spend about 100 dollars a week on food. This including the sit down meals, fast food, trips to the grocery store for snacks, coffee from coffee shops, etc. This doesn’t including the tips and gas. On average 100 dollars a week is why I cannot have nice things. I am losing money all for the sake of a good time and my sanity. Instead of finding creative ways to curb my anxiety, I turn to the one thing that always comforts me, food. Food to me is this huge comfy security blanket that I count for everything. If I am having a bad day, it makes it all go away. It makes the feelings of self doubt disappear into the feeling of no self control. I can’t control the urges. As much as I think I have everything under control, I find myself like clockwork holding on to the things I shouldn’t have. It’s easy to say that I can stop at any time. That I can easy calm my nerves and find ways to use all this crazy energy for other things. Just when I am at my weakest moments, I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. While I applaud myself for my efforts in saving money, its the little vices I can’t help but do. A $100 dollars a week does eventually add up. It shows that while I have stopped purchasing things I don’t need, I still can’t stop the urge to shop for something.

In a way I have transferred my need for things into my need for food. Just as clothes and accessories were excuses for temporary happiness, now food has become that way. Everything is a work in progress and while I am happy that my love for food has returned, I still can’t help but use food as another crutch. I am not saving money if I am still buying unnecessary things. I am not being healthy if I continue to use food as my stress reliever. Lately I have found myself avoiding grocery stores when I am feeling down. I have to second guess my need to get fast food, and limited my coffee drinks to at least once a week. While I still have my urges to buy snacks, its not as drastic as it was months prior. While I still have problems dealing with anxiety and depression, I have to find creative ways to get this energy out. At least I know where my money is going.

Food 0
Debt $400

UGH.

Blonde Ambition.

There comes a moment in your life where you need a change. Something to go from invisible to visible. The years of playing the disappearing act and wanting that need to reappear. Better, different, someone other than how people remember you. You change your clothes, you change your attitude and if you’re drastic enough you change your hair color. I am all for every aspect of change, including in the hair department. When you change your hair, you change different aspects of yourself.

New beginnings and this constant need for change. If you change your insides you want your outsides to match. Finding myself shedding my skin from one extreme to another. Adapting these different versions of how I want to be and how I want to conduct myself. I want the change because it’s the change thats making me feel this way. When you spend these moments disappearing, all you want is that moment to reappear. The disappearing act you made of your life, now is the time for your comeback. I have done everything humanly possible to my hair all in the name of “new beginnings”. I have chopped it in different variations of layers, cuts and trims. I have dyed it every color imaginable, and yet I’ve always kept it safe. I’ve always stuck to highlights, honey glows, and if I’m feeling adventurous reds and pinks just for fun. At times you become influenced by your surroundings, you feel a peer pressure from your friends. In the name of growing up and feeling different, you take the advice of various different people.

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There is a whole process that goes into a hair transformation. There’s the “Should I?”, “Can I pull it off?” and then the “Screw it”. I have seen my fair share of “Screw it” with drastic conclusions. Anything then the ordinary, anything then what you see before you. Different, dramatic, drastic. When I decided to go blonde, I jumped off the bridge and did it. At the time I was going through a lot of different emotions and in the in-between stages of growing up and acting grown up. I had a new job, I had moved back home for what seemed like the 100th time, I just wanted something to show for all my new things. On top of everything, I had money. Money saved, money in the back, and more importantly brand new shiny credit cards to take care of everything. I loved it. I still wasn’t grasping the concept of being an adult but still I had money to take me to the next level. It’s amazing what you do in the name of new beginnings and it’s amazing the bullshit things you put up with once people know you have money.

When I went blonde, I thought a new change in hair color was what I needed to be an adult. I had seen countless of my peers go through drastic hair changes and watched their careers change. I watched their lives change from ordinary to extraordinary. I wanted that. I didn’t care how much it cost, I just wanted to see if my insides would mirror image my outsides. If I did all these things, would it change me.  What they don’t tell you in the magazines is how much maintenance goes into a hair change. They don’t tell you how your scalp is going to feel, they don’t tell you how your hair would feel, and more importantly they don’t tell you how you will feel in the end. I had people telling me it was a great choice and just what I needed to grow. Deep down I hated it. I know it was just hair, but even with a bad haircut I couldn’t just grow out a bad dye job. It is just hair and complaining about it is first world problems. This was my hair, this was my comfort zone of emotions. This was my security blanket of protected emotions. I spent more time obsessing over my hair then changing anything with my life. I spent money on every type of shampoo, conditioner, treatment, product to make my hair feel normal. I didn’t feel like a grown up. If anything I felt like a child hiding from a bad mistake. I watch the new beginning feelings I had tarnish then disappear. While I was more visible to the world, I myself felt invisible. Nobody saw me, they saw a big blob of platinum blonde hair before they even knew who I was. I craved the attention but hated the reactions.

hair

Sometimes in life you have to file things under “Great Idea at the time”. Eventually the going back and forth to get my hair touched up was costing me a fortune. The countless products to make my hair feel like hair again, were putting me in debt. Instead of feeling visible, I found myself disappearing. I put myself into a depression because of how unhappy I was. All the money I had went into making my hair feel like myself again. Everything I was feeling on the inside, wound up making it’s way to my outsides. It wasn’t just the hair, it was this need to appear to be someone I wasn’t. I was so severely unhappy with myself that becoming someone else wasn’t helping either. I needed to fix that. Equipped with a 5 dollar bottle of box dye, I did just that. In a matter of minutes I watched the months of unhappiness, darken into happiness.

While everything I was feeling was deeply rooted by my past, I knew it was a journey to make myself happy again. A hair color wasn’t going to magically change my life for me. I was haunted by the demons of my life that was only handicapping my happiness. All these “new beginnings”, I wanted were never going to work until I changed myself. No haircut, hair color, change of clothes was going to change that. I had to work on myself on the inside and watch it work itself to the outside. Money wasn’t going to solve everything. While the 5 dollar bottle of box dye saved me from myself, it wasn’t a miracle worker. I still had a ways to go, but at that moment I felt okay. That’s all I wanted to feel.

I’m okay, I promise.

Six Hour session from Black Brown to Platinum Blonde:  $235  (not including tip)
Touch up roots, every month: $150 (not including tip)
Shampoo to maintain color: $29.99
Conditioner: $15.99
Deep Conditioning Treatment: $11.99
Blonde Spray Wax: $14.99
Blonde Wax: $9.99
Gas to get to appointments: $40 (appointments were out of town with a professional hair stylist)

 

 

It’s all about the price tag.

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There is no word more frightening to person dealing with debt then the word “SALE”.  While “sale” to the average person means saving a buck or two, to a person with debt it means throwing money away on unnecessary items. I would know, I have fallen victim to the sale trap on multiple occasions. Actually to be completely honest, I have once again fallen victim to the trap! How can anyone say no to 50% off? How can anyone say no to promo codes and coupons? I know very well, I don’t need the items, but I want them.

There we go.

I don’t “need” the items but I “want” them. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The problem with sales isn’t in the saving of money, its in this uncontrollable urge to have everything. There is no knowledge of self control when a sale is involved. Think I am lying? When was the last time you walked into a store that was having a sale and didn’t see people walk out with shopping bags full of items? Yup, NO SELF CONTROL. I obviously do not believe in self control. I don’t. If I see an item that is regularly priced for X amount of money, I don’t purchase it (SEE! I am getting better!). However, if I see the same item 50% off, I purchase it. I mean at half the price, they’re practically giving it away right?

Wrong.

For every 50% off, I end up paying more then my fair share. While the illusion is to save money on multiple items, the reality is I am spending money on everything. I do know my limits in regards to items I could purchase. However, if I am seeing that I am saving money, I will spend the money. Which defeats the purpose of saving money. I want to save money. I need to pay off debts, but with all these annual, semi-annual, blockbuster sales, they are not helping the cause. I know it’s great to reward and indulge every once in a while but it’s a revolving door of unwanted purchases. All of which I don’t need. I have a hard time coming to the conclusion of not needing the items. Somewhere deep inside comes the need to have them. I need them. I need them because I can’t live without them. When you throw a temporary price cut on top of that, that’s when the problems happen.

Truth is I am doing very well with handling my finances. It’s these tiny temptations that come in all shapes and sizes. While I have stopped emotional spending, I just can’t get over the “sale” hurdle. I know very well I don’t need these items. I know that. I have even gone as far as getting rid of a majority of things in my closet. I just can’t bring myself to let go of a “good” deal. These deals that seem too good to be true. I find myself trapped between sale prices and free shipping. That I am actually saving money because I didn’t leave my house to purchase these items. It’s an ongoing dilemma that while I have rid myself of all the things I don’t need, I need to purchase things to make up for it. Sure they don’t cost as much as all the original items I had, but here’s 4 more at the fraction of the cost. It’s got to stop.

I told myself I would be strong. That I would stop purchasing things I didn’t need and focus on the mountains of things I do have. The whole point of being financial stable is to come to a point in your life that you don’t need those items. Sure an item here or there is fine, but every other week? It’s time to finally put the wallet away. Time to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. More importantly, stop throwing away my money on things I believe are a “good” deal.

Simplify.

If only that was easy.

Ellie – 1
Sales – 25

SOBS.

I’m on my own hustle.

Another day, Another dollar.

Every new day that approaches is just another day to keep myself financially afloat. Finding creative ways to save money and even more creative ways to make money. Being in debt isn’t easy. You’re constantly trying to control every aspect of your finances and budgeting ways to make even the simplest things happen.  Basically if you read the fine print about my life, being in debt majorly sucks (along with a million other psychological scars). Weeding out a lot of the wants and focusing on only what I need, is one of the main factors of my budgeting. For the most part I have been doing well with taking care of my finances. I’ve stopped living paycheck to paycheck. I haven’t overdrafted my account in months. I have even managed to save money to pay a good chunk of my debt, as well as splurge on much needed fun vacations. While I am on my own hustle, I am completely aware that everyone else is on their own personal hustle. I get it. Times are rough. People need that extra chump change to pay for expenses. My personal dilemma is that I am a sucker for sob stories. If you tell me you don’t have any money, I believe you. If you tell me that your life is rough, I believe you. Which therefore makes me the biggest target.

People are natural born salesmen. They have the eyes and the ears to prey on human emotion. I know mainly because I have in my youth manipulated situations to get my way (who hasn’t). In this day and age people are becoming desperate in their attempts to make money. There are thousands of get rich scams born every day and some more obvious than the rest. I am just here to tell you that I get it. You don’t have to sell me on product. You don’t have to tell me how so and so product is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You don’t have to tell me that the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on product, your one product can do is less than 10 minutes. I GET IT. What gets me and absolutely breaks my heart are the sob stories that follow. The over all theme of every hustle is “I am broke, please buy my product”. What do I do? I buy the product. Told you I was a sucker.

Let me just get one thing straight, I am all for the hustle. Times are rough and making money at times isn’t as easy as going out and getting a job. We all want this lifestyle of never having to worry about money. Never having to pinch pennies to make ends meet. As I have stated times are rough, we all find ways to make up those extra expenses. We work longer hours to get our overtime pay. We take up extra responsibilities and at times take up an extra job or two. Sometimes that isn’t enough. We’ve already sacrificed many of our favorite things to make up for our expenses. Because of our expenses we turn to these get rich scams to help us out of a situations. We turn to the Mary Kay/Avon/Party Lite/ Tupperware parties to be our salvation for our needs. Like the sucker that I am, I fall into the trap. I fall for the “You don’t have to pay anything” pretense of the party, the allure of the appetizers, and sell of a great story. While I have been told multiple times, I don’t have to buy anything, I can’t help but buy. For every party that I have attended, if you sell me on a product more than likely I will buy it. If you tell me the wax doesn’t burn, I will believe you. If you tell me I’m spending too much money a basic lipstick and your formula is better for cheaper, I will believe you. I am being sold on an idea that this is the best product and all I am really seeing is that you need my help.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the next great product. However, I have drawers full of the next great product. Literally drawers full of varieties of makeup, shampoos, supplies, and all housed in their individual Tupperware container. One of my main problems with my debt is my inability to say “No”. When you invite me to your parties, I go to support you. While I know there is no obligations to purchase, I can’t help myself. I want to help you, I want you to be successful in your hustle. Sometimes helping your hustle is draining my own. As much I want to give you all the tools you need to succeed, I can’t help but fail myself in my own needs. I hate to be the bad guy and no matter what I say, I’m going to be the bad guy.  Truth of the matter is I do not have the money to spend.  To be completely blunt and honest, I don’t need whatever you are selling me. Unless it’s a magical eraser that will completely erase my debt, that is the only thing that I truly need. If I can’t spend money on myself, I’m sorry but I can’t help you in your hustle. Trust me when I say, I want to help you. Trust me when I say, I truly understand.

You have to understand where I am coming from. I have spent every last cent of my own money to help people out. I just don’t have it in my heart to keep saying yes, unfortunately I need to be realistic and start saying NO.  It’s not that I don’t believe in you, I do. Just out of respect for my own wallet and my own sanity, I have to politely decline. Please do not invite me to your hustle parties. Please do not try and sell me on the next great product. Please for whatever reason do not sell me on your sob story. I will support you in all that you do. I will pass out a catalog, and drop your name and the product you are selling to everyone. I will be more than happy to share your listings and your posts, but please do not pressure me to purchase. Debt is a 4 letter word that has consumed my life and I must focus on my own hustle before I can focus on yours. While I wish you luck in all your many pursuits, I just respect that you keep me out of them.

Thank you.

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.

The very next day you gave it away.

And now the rest of you have that song in your head.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Alright, I came here for a purpose. At the moment I currently have 6 tabs open. Tabs consisting of Amazon, Sephora, Target, Old Navy, and of course Gmail (to track my purchases), it’s that time of year again folks. Aw yes, the holidays.

The holidays in all its mass commercial consumption of never ending spending glory. As of 10:40am on this 12th of December, I have not finished my shopping. To be honest, I don’t believe I was fully prepared for the holidays. I mean who is really prepared for them? The holiday decorations started as early as late August and as of now are in full effect. They were coming whether I liked it or not, and I was going to have to deal with it.

I’ll be honest. I love the holidays. Who doesn’t love an excuse to spread holiday cheer? Not to mention shower the people you care about with items that remind you of them. Holidays are basically the time to go absolutely overboard all for the sake of being jolly. You see it everywhere. In the over abundance of lights, decorations, and yes the festive gluttony of food. Oh, how we love our precious time together. While our bank accounts plummet, we manage to still enjoy this joyous time of year. After all it is the holidays, we’re allowed to over indulge during this time.  Spending time with the people that we love, enjoying every minute of the holidays.

Spend, spend, spend.

Every holiday season, I give myself a budget. After budgeting out my personal expenses (bills, necessities, etc.), I line out an idea of what I plan to spend. This of course is just a general idea. None of which actually works. Often times I over spend, over buy, and put myself in a little holiday debt. With the parties, you’re already factoring out the costs of what you’re bringing, bringing for the host and if you’re me, what you’re wearing to the party. Then comes the December birthdays, the birthdays that don’t associate themselves with the holidays but rather are a holiday in themselves. On top of that you have the mountains of holiday cards with accompanied stamps. Then comes the gifts, equipped with wrapping paper, cards, and more holiday cheer. By the end of the season, after the overwhelming allure of the holiday, you are absolutely wiped out. I am wiped out just by reading this. My bank account has come to a standstill. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. If I were a millionaire, I would spend every last cent to make people happy. Sadly, I am not a millionaire, therefore I am working through this holiday very slowly.

Over the years, I have over spent. The power of the holiday has compelled me to over spend! I buy way too many things, I buy too much wrapping paper and on top of it all, I over spend on myself. Sure the holiday is all about giving rather than receiving but shit, I need some things too! Which comes to my own personal dilemma. When does the spending ever really stop? As much as I want to erase my mountain of debt, I can’t help but add to it. When it comes to the holidays, who is going to stop me for buying things for people that I care about? Well of course the bill collectors are but still. It’s this cycle that can’t be stopped. You save this money for months, then in an instant it’s gone. That’s what I’ve always done. I saved to the point that I can’t save anymore. Then December hits and it’s gone.

Paycheck, savings, gone.

The only person I can really blame is myself. I do it because of this need to give. This desire to spend and not ask for anything in return. Mainly I do it because at the end of the day, it truly does make me happy to see people happy. Even if it’s just to see myself happy after months of not spending money. I of all people know I shouldn’t be spending money. Somewhere between the countless Christmas songs, the twinkling lights and the nostalgia, I just can’t seem to help myself. Who can really? It’s just one month of non-stop spending and come January we wash our debt slate clean. Just one rigorous cycle of spending and then the cycle of saving starts all over again.

Holidays are harder when you’re in debt. You have to over think every purchase, go over everything you really want to get, and more importantly only focus on getting the things you need. Gone are the days of spontaneous spending. Gone are the day of over indulgence. Gone are the days of drained bank accounts and patiently awaiting the next paycheck. This holiday season will be different. I have limits to my spending. Budgets are placed for a reason, whether I like it or not. More importantly as much as I want to over indulge for the people that I love, I just can’t. Sometimes our own person sacrifices come with a price. My price is the need to stop spending. Becoming creative with my spending and finding ways to save money. I wish it were easy. I wish I could just take my whole savings and spend every last cent of it. Sadly I can’t. Trust me, there are so many awesome, beautiful, sparkly things that I want. I just can’t have them. Not right now. Not at this time. I started this holiday season out differently. Planning, budgeting, and even going over the shopping cart item by item. Finding the promo codes, taking advantage of the free shipping, and saving items for another time. Removing items from my basket and just getting only the things I need. It’s a harder process but I know my bank account will thank me for it.

There it is, all of it. Last Christmas, I gave you my heart and now I’m left with a mountain of debt. Here’s to a holiday of being more creative and frugal with my spending. Wish me luck, guys!

 

The struggle is real.

Let me be honest.

Okay, seriously. All I am doing is being honest.

Saving money, paying off debts, you know BEING RESPONSIBLE is not the business. Sure being responsible is all about your ability to function as an adult. Sometimes being a responsible adult is not all it’s cracked up to be. All you want to really do is be reckless and spend money. Those new kicks, you want them. Rolex watch, you want one. Alexander McQueen scarf, you want 2 of them. Trip to the south of France, you want to go to there. The truth is everything that requires having fun costs money. As much as every single media outlet can say you don’t need money to have a good time, most of the time they are lying. Who wants to go outside and chill at the park? Be outside, be one with nature? Please…. I have allergies and find great joy in the confides of my indoor spaces.

Why is it whenever there’s things that I enjoy or want to do, everything costs money? Baseball games, movies, shopping, food… everything costs money! Everything is taunting me and everything is asking for me to have a good time. For every dollar I save, there’s a sale at my favorite store. For every day that I don’t get coffee, I am 1 star away from a free drink. How is any of this fair? It’s not fair! It’s fair to the people who have the money saved and can afford to splurge. However to the millions of us in debt, it’s nothing more than a huge temptation that we can’t help but dive into. For the past couple of months I have cut my spending in half. I stopped buying clothes, accessories, and focused on everything I really needed. I literally went through my closet and pulled out everything with price tags and anything I haven’t worn in over a year. Just my way of truly cleansing my life. HOWEVER just because I cut expenses doesn’t mean I stop spending. The misconception of  budgeting is sometimes you spend money before you can truly save money. While I have cut a majority of my spending, I still find myself reliving my old vices which causes me to spend money.

This problem goes back to emotional spending. The spending of money because I’m having a moment. It doesn’t really matter the moment, good or bad the spending happens. Instead of going to the store and buying myself something nice, I’ll buy myself a nice lunch. Sometimes even splurge and get my nails done. Something. Anything that will curb that need to over spend. How ever what I am not thinking about is that everything adds up. The whole point of budgeting is to cut costs on unnecessary items. In the course of the past couple of months I have managed to save over $800 dollars by cutting costs on everything. However in those same past couple of months I have also managed to blow through the $800 dollars I have saved. Whether it be psychological or emotional or just someone voodooing me, I just cannot save money. For every $100 dollars I manage to save, I find 100 different ways to spend it. For every $250 dollars I put toward my debt, I find a way to spend the money. I am not sure whether its the notion that I think I am not spending any money but reality is I am still being careless with my spending.

My problem is I have a problem saying NO. Its easy to say No to things I don’t care for, things I don’t want to do. Yet how do I say No to the things I want to do. If a friend invites me out and it’s something I want to do, how do I say NO to that? How do I say No to Life? <-Okay that’s my problem. That right there. I don’t have the money to live the life. Which in turn makes the struggle real. Of course I want to do the things I love. However I don’t have the money to spend to live the life I am accustomed too. Honestly I never could afford to live the life I am accustomed to which is the reason I am in debt. NO BRAINER. I get it.

The Breakdown of my spending goes as follows:

I make roughly $16/hr. Which makes my paycheck around $530 (after taxes).

A breakdown of my current weekly expenses:

Gas: $50-$60
Mom (paying off debts guys!!): $100
WellsFargo: $150
Savings: $100
TOTAL:  $400 a week

A breakdown of unnecessary expenses:

Lunch: $10 a day (5 times a week)
Coffee: $5 a day (6 days a week)
Random Dinners: $25 (at least once a week)
TOTAL: $105 (a week)

Breakdown Totals:

$400 expenses
$104 unnecessary expenses
TOTAL:  $503 (a week)

Grand Totals:

$530 Check
-$503 Expenses
TOTAL Left over:  $27       <-This is why I can’t have nice things

Somewhere in my warped mind, I believe that food is not an expense. Food to me is a necessity, we need it to survive. Yes, I need that $5 dollar coffee to live my life. I also need the $2 dollar croissant, that’s made with real butter as well.   Seeing that my food is there a minute and gone the next (since I have no self control and tend to scarf my meals down), I don’t consider it an expense. While the only thing to even showcase the evidence of my food spending is the countless napkins lining the passenger side of my car (I should really work on that).  Not to mention my bank account drained because of my lack of self control. The main problem of my spending and not being able to save money is for every $100 I put toward a debt, I spend it. The $5 dollar coffee that I consider a necessity, adds up.  For every $100 dollars I save, I use my card for my expenses. Every time I use my card, I’m spending more than my fair share of money on that card. Since I spend the money on that card, I put what I have in savings toward that card. Which in turn drains my savings and therefore, I’m right back where I have started from.

No money, still problems.

Truth of the matter is all of that is an unnecessary expense. Do I really need to be eating out everyday? Do I really need a coffee every day and it’s delicious buttery croissant? Of course not. I don’t need it. I want it, but I don’t need it. If I could be really honest, I am just lazy. Lazy to make a lunch every day, lazy to make a coffee every day, lazy to function. My laziness is making me broke. My laziness is why I am in this mess in the first place. While I do applaud myself for finding alternative methods to deal with emotion, I’m still finding ways to spend money. The point of not spending money is to do just that. DON’T SPEND MONEY. I understand that’s the whole point of being an adult is being responsible for your well being. Seeing your mistakes and growing from them. Just on some occasions being an adult doesn’t really cut it, you grow restless and become reckless. I get it. I’ve done it. Now I’m just at the point where, “Man I’d just like to see my money”. Its like everyone says, we all gotta start somewhere. Shoot even Brian McKnight started “Back at one” right? So these are my pitfalls, reasons, and honest accounts of why I do not have money. This is also the reason why I can’t hang. Budgeting money is not easy. Being responsible is also not easy nor is it any fun. However to come up on top, you gotta struggle, you gotta fall, and then eventually everything will work out in the end. Everything in it’s right place.

But for real though this struggle is as real as you and me.

*SOBS*

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Back in 2009, I watched a film called “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (film was based on the Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella).
confessions_of_a_shopaholic_12

If you’ve never seen it, breakdown:

It’s about a girl named Rebecca Bloomwood, who’s a writer and because of her shopaholic ways ends up thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. Not to mention she starts writing articles for a financial magazine about being responsible about your finances and wellllll ohhh the irony seeing that she is flooded with never ending debt.

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Basically my life story without the designer wardrobe, less accumulated debt, or the handsome Hugh Dancy.

While I did absolutely enjoy the film, I at the time of the films release could not possibly relate. Actually, I just absolutely refused to relate. My spending wasn’t that out of hand. I had an absolute handle on my finances. Sure I didn’t have money. Sure I spent every paycheck on unnecessary things, but I wasn’t spending $325 a check on various handbags or shoes. I was in control of my money, in control of my life. The only thing I absolutely learned from that movie, wasn’t to save money. No. Not at all. What I learned was that I needed to step my wardrobe game up.

At the time of the film’s release I was 27, recently getting over a broken heart and you guessed it broke. I had a very good job, making really great money (great money that I knew how to spend). I worked literally 5 minutes away from my home and I should have been content. I should have been fine with the cards I had before me. Sadly once you start the process into your late 20s you become disillusioned with your current state and start thinking of the past. At least thats what I did. Processing a broken heart is a long process to begin with, processing a broken spirit can take a lifetime. I was in the middle of both problems. I was unhappy with my life, unhappy with the state of my solitude and started a downward spiral of spending.

Here was my situation:

While making money is great (Honestly who doesn’t like making money), my job wasn’t my ideal job. For the past 12 years, I had worked more than 10 different jobs and never felt any of those jobs fit who I was. I had been working non-stop since I was 14, I needed a change. What a normal motivated individual my age would have done was figured out a way out of that slump.  Either finding work in a different industry or just figuring some aspect of a plan. Had I been in a right state of mind I would have done that. Since I was still completely heartbroken, I found myself drowning myself in work and trying as much as I could to occupy my time. Work helped with the forgetting but it also made my life miserable. Honestly I didn’t know what I wanted as a career. I was finding some amusement keeping with a blog but nothing too spectacular. I loved photography but honestly I had grown tired of taking everyone’s picture. I was burnt out. I had been a nanny, telemarketer, admin assistant, executive assistant, personal assistant, receptionist, claims specialist, hostess, sales assistant, general store clerk, and all before the age of 27. I needed a new beginning. I needed a different change of pace. I also needed a new wardrobe in order to go into my new life.

Somewhere I had heard that to start fresh you need to get rid of the old and start purchasing the new. Purge yourself of your old life and make way for a crisp clean new beginning. Here I wanted a new life, something to get me out of this slump I was in. I wanted something that would make my outsides look fabulous that would in turn make my insides feel good. Equipped with various subscriptions to different varieties of magazines (Elle, Vogue, W) for inspiration and a new spending account, I was well on my way to a new start. Therefore I started with the first place I would get the most notice, my wardrobe.

My average paycheck from my employer at the time was around $1225 bi-weekly. I was making roughly around $612.50 a week. Coming from working at jobs where I was averaging $300 a week from temping, seeing $1225 on my check was good money. While I had always had a passion for fashion, I could never really afford the beautiful luxuries I loved in the magazines. Sure I’d splurge on a great pair of designer sunglasses (Dior “Glossy” $325, Marc Jacobs “Terry” $325, Dior “AviaDior” $425, etc), but owning a pair of Louboutins was just ridiculous. With the help of the wonderful world of Ebay, Ebay helped me obtain all my designers needs for a fraction of the cost. Then you have to put into account that a lot of H&M’s were opening up in shopping malls near me, the complete access of online shopping, on top of the Ebaying, that’s how it all began. Since I was convinced that owning new things would be the first start to changing my well being, I had a spending no-holds-bar-free-for-all. Lets break this down to the theory of emotions. A majority of everything I buy is based on emotions, during this excess spending there was no exception.

With a large collection of monthly magazine subscriptions, I started reading various articles of ways to get over a broken heart. One of them happened to be: “To get over a past relationship, rid yourself of anything that reminds you of your past relationship“. The article went into detail about things you should keep, things you shouldn’t keep and a variety of those items of course had to do with wardrobe. Since I was extremely broken hearted, I got rid of anything that reminded me of the past. Instead of getting rid of it, in the way of donations I found ways to make a profit of my heartbreaking items. I started selling everything. Craigslist became a huge factor and when items wouldn’t sell on craigslist I would sell on ebay. I didn’t care if I made my money back, I just wanted to get rid of things that reminded me of the past. Anything that was a memory of a sad time in my life, I wanted completely out of my house. I didn’t need this bad juju going into my new start, my fresh beginning. With the profits of my sellings, I started buying new things. Things that were going to improve my well being, my new fresh start.

The Spending Breakdown:

My monthly income: $2450

My monthly expenses (phone, insurance, credit card bills, gas): $382
Miscellaneous expenses (going out, restaurants, coffee): $344
Just my expenses alone: $726 a month

My “New beginning” spending income: $1724

Sales from Ebay/Craigslist monthly: $300 +
H&M: $300
Target: $500
Nordstrom: $150
Neiman Marcus: $375
Sephora: $75
Ebay: $400
Urban Outfitters: $100
Total Left over from Spending: $124

My monthly expenses allowed me to have a spending cushion of about $1724, to which I used to my advantage. Problem with that spending cushion was that I wasn’t budgeting any of that. I wasn’t putting more money to my minimum payment on either of my credit cards. I wasn’t even properly saving money. How I saw my check bi-weekly was $1225, the lump sum of the week where I had endless possibilities. Instead of budgeting my expenses or cutting costs in items I didn’t need, I spent more. On top of the need to change for my new beginning, more excess spending started happening. Upon reading all these “life changing” articles in various magazines, I found myself spending even more. A few items from Urban Outfitters, A few designer dresses from Ebay, unlimited amounts of new products from Sephora. My room started to look like a UPS shipping center. Items were coming in and leaving just the same. For every one thing I sold, I bought two items in it’s place. If I sold a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress (purchased for $325, sold for $100), I bought 2 more dresses (Ebay find: Marc by Marc Jacobs Dress $100, BCBG Dress $295). While I saw income coming in, none of it was making any profit. Since I was spending the money before I had any chance of making a profit, I was left more broke then when I started. Somehow I didn’t care. I was so completely numb from heart break that I didn’t realize that my $1225 dollar paycheck was leaving me only $100 until my next paycheck. Instead of saving that $100 dollars, I did what any irresponsible person would do. I spent it. I went from having a $1225 dollar paycheck to having only $100 dollars for two weeks. All in the name of a broken spirit and new beginnings. No matter how many times my parents told me to save my money. The countless times I had to ask for a handout to get me out of my overdraft hell, I couldn’t stop spending. The spending like much of my life was completely out of control. Yet somehow I wasn’t Rebecca Bloomwood status. I was still keeping up with all my payments and even if that meant my account would overdraft, all of my personal expenses were always paid on time. I didn’t have any bill collectors calling about my debts. While I did have debts, I paid just enough to cover my expenses. Yet never enough to fully be out of the hole.

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.  TOTAL: $518.80

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.
TOTAL: $518.80

Budgeting was a word that did not exist in my vocabulary. I was looking great. I had great clothes, great accessories, therefore people started to take notice. My once conservative way of dressing, turned into a more colorful approach to fashion. My wardrobe went from only a few key pieces to an assortment of stylish must haves. The more people complimented my ensemble, the more I felt the need to buy. It got to the point where I stopped finding the need to get rid of items and started to keep them. I state that I’m an emotional shopper because while I was purchasing things for my new start/new beginnings I was still miserable. I wanted to fill the void of my unhappiness that I found myself spending more money to obtain this happiness. The only time I had ever felt a pure sense of happiness was buying something. Because buying beautiful things meant something big was around the corner. With every new purchase I found myself wearing only a fraction of what I bought. For every 7 things I bought, 2 would be worn religiously. 3 would be kept for “special occasion” purposes, still with tags. The remaining 2 items would never be worn and just be hidden in the closet until I do my yearly donations, and still with the price tags. The $300 dollars or so I would spend at the store and wear only about $60 dollars worth of the purchase. I would be left $240 shoppers defeat and $240 dollars out of my account and deeper in the hole. It was this need for the luxurious things that will make my life better. So I thought. When you start maxing out your credit cards all for the “love” of fashion your realize that something eventually has to give. In the course of that time I had managed to spend a little over $3,000 in the course of 4 months. 4 months! If I wasn’t going out every weekend or buying everything I could get my hands on, I was paying off debts and finding ways to make more money.

What I should have done was asked for help. I should have talked to someone the moment any or all of this emotional bullshit was happening. I didn’t, I thought this was a problem I needed to solve myself. The only way I could resolve any issue I had, was with spending thousands of dollars on bullshit purchases.  It was more than just the spending, it was this emotional void that I thought I was filling with buying beautiful things. Looking at that part of my life as the person I am now, I just wondered why no one shook me and said what I was doing was wrong. Nothing I was feeling internally could be solved throwing money at a problem. No matter how much a bag, scarf, jacket, or sunglasses cost, while beautiful it may be was never going to ever make my insides feel better. While my spending has since downscaled since the Shopaholic Storm of 07. I can’t help but look at a lot of the items from that time period and think “Man I spent 400 bucks on this?”.

While I may not have had the supreme spending power as Rebecca Bloomwood, I did feel the void she did. Just that notion that all of our saddest darkest moments could be solved with a credit card and a shopping spree at Bendel’s. Thousands of dollars in debt later we both realized that, none of that was healthy. No amount of beautiful items will ever make us happy (as much as we didn’t want to believe it). The temporary happiness we get from buying things can never silence how we feel on the inside. While it took Rebecca Bloomwood about midway through the film to realize her mistakes (probably longer in the books), it has taken me a few years to realize my wrong doing. I get it. We live, we learn, and we save up money to pay off our debts. We all have to grown up sometime. While I may not have been vocal about my problems in the past, it’s good to get a handle of my emotional needs now a days. I know I am not perfect, I never pretended to be. Eventually we all find ways to bring our happiness back with out the need of material things. At the end of the film Rebecca eventually found a way to be happy and debt free. Soon, so will I.