Money. Money makes the world go ’round.

I have to think about every cent I spend. I’ve done a few things irresponsibly lately, financially and otherwise. I have to take responsibility for those actions, those pennies I spent, and move on. And I am.

I found out that I’m getting a sizable tax return. Everything I’ve read encourages me to save any unexpected money, but if rather take 75% of it and apply it to a credit card instead. If I do, I’ve got one credit card out of the way and paid off. That’s one check mark for 2014. And the others I can pay down slowly, and add that money I was paying toward the first one, to the other two. It’s a perfect plan!… So why do I feel so wretched right now?

Money has always been a tough subject for me. I’ve always known that my habits were irresponsible, but it never stopped me. I knew, I cried about it, but I never did anything differently. I just kept charging and charging and not thinking about it until it all hit me at once… And then I was distraught for weeks. I wouldn’t spend anything I didn’t have to, but then, slowly, old habits would creep back in.

This is where my head was tonight when I got into an argument, in front of friends, with my boyfriend… What about? You guessed it — money.

I made a passing comment about something he had spent a lot of money on recently, and it just snowballed from there. Here I am, visiting him before a work trip, and we’re arguing about how we shouldn’t talk about money in front of other people, about how it’s his money, about how I offered to give him some money after Christmas… And on all counts he’s 100% right. But that’s where my head was. I was thinking about everything I have to save, spend, pay, scrape, worry about, and he drops a sizable sum on something I never would have bought. But he’s right — it’s his money, and I shouldn’t have brought up any of it.

And perhaps that’s why I’ve been so silent all evening. I’m sure he thinks I’m giving him the silent treatment, but honestly, I’m just sitting here hating myself. I hate myself for putting me in this situation, for being petty enough to fight in front of friends on the two days we have together, for not being the type of person I so desperately want to be.

So today I feel low.
I feel very low.
They say every day is a new day, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be hating myself tomorrow too.

Best Laid Plans

I got my first paycheck of the year a week ago. Finally! I could institute my budget and stick to it! I could make sure it would all work!

In theory, it should have worked… If I were still living in the Midwest, that is.

I’m living at home, so I have very little payments aside from my debt. I had a plan to live on $250 every two weeks, for a grand total of $500 a month. Everything else would be paid on bills, savings, and hacking away at that big Debt beast. And… It’s impossible.

I shouldn’t say impossible. It’s really my own fault it didn’t work out. My own fault, and the rising cost of gas.

I’ve been more willing to go out to lunch lately. I’ve been stressed at work, so I want to get away from my desk for an hour, eat some good food, and forget everything that happened. Two hundred and fifty dollars doesn’t go far when you eat one hundred of it in a week for lunch. I would be better served by packing my lunch, but need I remind you of my last post lamenting my lack of kitchen?

And then there’s the gym… My membership is only $20 a month, which isn’t bad at all… Except that my gym is 20 minutes from work, so I have to drive there, work out, and then drive 15 minutes back home. I refuse to give up the gym. My mood has improved so much since I started going that it’s ridiculous. There’s a branch closer to work, but it’s overrun with coworkers and people I knew in high school. I’ve decided that I’ll keep the gym I currently go to…

And just suffer the cost of gas. When I lived out west, gas was between thirty and fifty cents cheaper than it is here on the East coast. I failed to plan for the increased gas costs. I kicked myself when I filled up my 14 gallon car to the tune of $42.

I feel overwhelmed right now. I’m going to adjust my budget this week and allow for $50 per paycheck, rounding me out to $600 per month for gas and entertainment. I’m also going to start planning, preparing, and packing lunches for work. What choice do I have? I’ve only got $50 until Friday, that blessed day known as payday.

Through all of this, even with the stress, I’ve been so thankful for my job. I’m not sure what I would do without that community, let alone the life sustaining money that it brings in.

Until next time, friends.

The Hardest Part

There are a lot of things that stink about moving back in with your parents. Some of them you can expect, like losing some of your independence, or not having your own space or alone time, not being able to invite anyone over because, well, you live in a bedroom in your parents house. You aren’t wrong — all of those things are terrible, but there’s something even worse.

The worst part about living with your parents in your 20s is not having your own kitchen.

I’m not joking. When I go downstairs to make food, I always feel like I’m in the way. I also feel compelled to do the dishes every single time I visit the kitchen.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be so bad if my family shared diets, but we don’t. My parents eat a lot of soup and crockpot prepared meat. I’m a vegetarian who eats vegan most of the time. This makes sharing meals really difficult. My parents can’t cook for me, and they don’t want to eat the things I make.

Not feeling comfortable in my parents kitchen is the worst for me. I keep trying to weigh the benefits, like saving money, and helping my parents, but I really miss being able to cook for myself and make a big food mess.

I suppose I’ll get over it, and it sounds silly, but right now I’m kind of frustrated.

Two weeks.

It’s been two weeks since I posted. Two weeks of living in a small room after having my own two bedroom apartment for the past 4 years. Two weeks of shared space with my parents and pets. Two weeks of holidays and running around and feeling exhausted. Two weeks and a small bout of the flu that made it’s way to everyone in the house, minus the pets. Two weeks since I moved back in with my parents and I haven’t totally lost my mind yet.

I should credit my boyfriend with keeping me mostly sane. He has grounded me in a way that I couldn’t have by myself. I’m too preoccupied to feel like a failure right now. But he’s leaving soon, so much sooner than I even realize, and I’m dreading the realization as much as the day itself. Hopefully I can keep up my cheerful outlook when he leaves, but I’m not feeling very optimistic about my prospects.

I’m sort of in denial about a lot of things: my boyfriend heading back home, going back to work tomorrow, just how much debt I’m actually in. When it all sinks in, I may start screaming. I’ll let you know if that happens.

Until then, I’m going to settle in to a good book and start planning my next post.

Moving Home Mantra: “I failed. I am a failure.”

I spent my first night back in my parents house crying. This wasn’t the full, gasping for air, shoulder shaking wail that it should have probably been. It was a soft, sniffling sob.

I held my hands over my face, letting every admission of failure pour out of my mouth and into my boyfriend’s ears. Here I was, a 28 year old, who had been on her own for the past year and a half, getting ready to go to sleep in my parents house. Now my house. More accurately, my room. More specifically, the room I slept in every night from ages 14 to 20. I had left, only to have to come back home. All because of myself.

I know this isn’t something new. There’s a whole name for my generation — The Boomerang Generation. We’re faced with crushing debt from who-knows-what, so we turn to the people we know will always take care of us — our parents. I’ll get more into this later.

As I lay there crying, admitting how much I had failed to succeed as an independent grown up, my boyfriend did he best to comfort me. “It’s temporary,” “think of how much you’ll save/can pay down or off,” “it could be worse,” and everything else I already knew. Objectively, I know these things to be true, but in that moment it hurt to know that I could have succeeded, but I held my own self back.

This is what I fell asleep thinking: “I failed. I’m a failure.”

And somehow, despite that horrible mantra, I woke up with a new attitude. Some part of what my boyfriend said had sunk in. It is temporary, I can do this, I can save money and crawl, on my hands and knees, out of this pit of debt. I can use this time to reflect, to write, to learn how to knit, to bike, and hike, and encourage myself toward hobbies that are free and challenging.

I can do this.

I can succeed.

And in the mean time, I will write about it.