Why do I spend money?
I am currently on Day 28 of my January No Spend Challenge, and I am not doing so hot. I tend to have this idea that I do better when I don’t track my spending, but in actuality, I think I am just naive and in denial.
I had been aiming for 15 no-spend days, but at this point that’s impossible, as I’ve only amassed 9 days this month (and we have only a few days left). At a glance, the things I have spent money on aren’t horrific, and (mostly) not expensive… except for two gifts for family that I splurged on. Lately I find myself falling back into that dark hole of “how will I get all of these goals accomplished – realistically?”
The short list of those goals is an emergency fund of $20k, 20% for a house downpayment (and, closing costs, which an entirely separate fund in my savings account), and paying for my son’s college education. All this, while maxing out my 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA. Sprinkle in some things like a trip to Greece (and other smaller trips, because I am hoping to actually live while I chug through my to-do), and oh yeah, saving up for a new car. I hope the latter isn’t something I need to address for a number of years, because my hope is to drive my car for years to come, but life doesn’t always work that way.
I understand the key is patience, I really do. I also know these goals will take years to accomplish. Unfortunately for me, I’m just playing catch up from first having no money, and then being irresponsible once I got some… and it’s overwhelming. Being financially clueless is a lot easier than taking ownership of where things lie. And, when I feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to listen to the voice in my head that tells me how much compound interest I lost out on by not paying closer attention to my retirement accounts. Or, how if I had saved just a little in the past ten years, I’d be farther ahead in so many aspects. Now, I think about how I want to buy a house, and how my son will be going to college before I know it. Yep, I feel the shame.
Needless to say, I am currently sucking up every no-spend/money challenge on the internet right now. Girlboss, Broke Millennial, Mrs. Frugalwoods, I watch Dave Ramsey… you name it. I want to get my sh*t together, y’all.
Girlboss sent this little ditty my way, and I almost wrote it off, but then I realized something about my immediate reaction; I realized the only “worthwhile” extra income to me was $500. What would $50 or $5 do for me?
A lot. It can do a lot, if you save it. Listen, $5 isn’t going to knock your socks off, but if you save it or even invest it in an account like Stash, it could pay off in the longterm. If I had $5, I would do just that. If I had an additional $50 or $500, that would go directly into my son’s 529 college fund.
I am prepping myself to do a no spend challenge EVERY month this year, so let’s gooo Feb. At only 28 days, I will again aim for 15 days of no spending. Here’s what Broke Millennial is doing, in case you want to follow along.
Here’s a few links I loved and/or found helpful:
An interesting, if not exhausting, peek into the psychology of never-ending options – The Best Doesn’t Exist
Because’s it’s just about that time! Common Deductions and Credits for Tax Year 2018
An interesting look at how our choices can define us and our future. Poverty, Bubbles, and a Thin Line
Mary Oliver passed this week. RIP to one of the world’s greatest poets. xo Listening to the World with Mary Oliver