Ever since I read Mom to the Masses' post on money a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about it.
It seems like everyone I know has run out of money all at once. If I listen hard enough, I can hear the sound of change jars being emptied out all around me.
Last year I took a job making more than the average American for the first time in my life. Every time I see one of those news articles about what the average American makes, I am above that line. I don't have a husband, I don't have kids, I don't have a mortgage, no car payment, no credit card debt - I should be home free, right?
Wrong. I seem to be hovering somewhere in the "just above broke all the time" category. I find it sort of baffling, considering my well-known penchant for thrift. I am no friend of designer labels. Have bought 2 articles of clothing in the past 6 months. Don't buy much jewelry, or travel much, or even eat out much anymore. Yeah, I brown bag it every day and don't even a television.
Back when I made half as much as the average American, thrift stores and garage sales seemed like part of the deal. Now that my job actually pays a decent wage, it seems like it shouldn't be this hard.
Yet every day my prayers include "Dear Lord, please don't let me get sick and miss work;" "dear God please don't let the dog have to go to the veterinarian;" and "Dear God, please keep my car running."
I realized that I, like Mom to the Masses, have become an expert at the mental calculus of saving money. I try to work it all out and sometimes I mess up. I berate myself for tossing out spoiled food or staining or tearing a piece of clothing beyond repair.
Sometimes I get so tired of obsessing over every penny that I want to go out and spend a couple hundred bucks. But I don't because I know my inner shitty committee would yell at me for weeks or months afterwards.
Sometimes my penny-squeezing is an abject failure. I was dropping off my gas bill at the grocery store payment station and saving a stamp when I got a $174 traffic ticket. THAT one didn't work.
So how is it going for you? Do you obsess, or do you just blow it all and wince and peek with one eye when that credit card bill comes in the mail?