Friday, May 25, 2012

Thing Number Nine | Money

I want things. I want a certain lifestyle. I want to be able to travel. I want to live in a nice house. I want to wear nice clothes and pretty jewelry. I want to be able to buy without counting the cost. I want. I want. I want.
But I can’t have it all.

Money is something I struggle with. I’m definitely prone to retail therapy and I know, I know, that this is bad. It’s hard not to indulge; a little treat at the end of a rough day at work feels so innocuous. I also feel entitled to spend because I work and I have two degrees and I bring in a good income. If we can pay our bills, reduce our debt (school loans and mortgage), tithe, and help those in need, then I should be able to spend some of the leftover money without a care, right? Right? Hello, can I get an “amen”?

I’m just barely coming to grips with the fact that just because we have money doesn’t mean I get to spend it profligately. Thoughtlessly. Recklessly. Right now, Jon and I are a healthy, two-income, no-kids, still relatively young household. All this could change in the blink of an eye. One of use could become sick or injured. One of us could lose his/her job. I could get pregnant. (Ha! I wish!). And we are definitely going to age.

We need to save. More. And intentionally. I want to watch our savings grow. We need to manage our money better. Should we put our savings into a mutual fund? A cd? An IRA? We need to pay down our debts. Hard to balance that with saving, though. Technically, we could pay off the house right now. But that would clean out our savings and we don’t want to do that. We need to plan for our future. Do we still want to move? Will we have enough retirement? What about healthcare when we retire?

I think I’m getting better at it. Maybe. At least a little. I’m exercising more restraint. I’m using the Southern California Digital Library to borrow books for my Kindle instead of ordering from Amazon. I’m baking a loaf of bread as a treat for myself instead of buying a new bag. I’m realizing that I don’t need to take a souvenir home from an excursion; I’ve got the memories and the photos. I’m trying not to window shop because that often turns into actual shop.

I can’t have it all. But I have more than enough.

I may indulge in retail therapy, but not at Tiffany’s. This is a necklace I bought for Robin Ann for her fortieth birthday. We’ve been drooling over the Tiffany’s Christmas window display at South Coast Plaza since we were college freshmen. We never give each other extravagant gifts but this is a milestone birthday and I really wanted to celebrate her in a special way.

The Essie Turquoise and Caicos nail polish was an impulse buy at Target on the same day as the Tiffany’s purchase. Definitely a silly little extravagance but I kind of love it and Jon likes it, too, and it cracked me up that it was pretty much the exact same color as the Tiffany’s packaging!

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