Budgets and Why I Hate Them

Another serious post means that it’s time for another edition of Fun Facts About Me!  I’m part of the 1% of the population who have amblyopia or a “lazy eye”.  My amblyopia is due to the fact that I was born with one very nearsighted and one very farsighted eye.  Basically, it was easier for my brain to only use my nearsighted eye, so that’s what it did.  My eye’s aren’t crossed, they both point straight forward.  (I bring that up because it isn’t the case for everyone with amblyopia.)  So yes, I’ve been to the eye doctor a lot in my life, and yes I had an eye patch growing up. :/  It was not cool, I didn’t feel like a pirate all the time, and I generally hated it.  Grown up me had surgery to help the issue, and I wear mild contacts to help crisp up my vision.  Otherwise I have generally great eyeballs! I know this because I was at the eye doctor this week.

Maybe it’s the way I grew up, or some delusional idea that college would set me up for life, but I never envisioned a life where I would have to pay so much attention to my budget.  Granted it was never part of my life plan to be a single, upper twenty something, but we have to play the cards we are dealt.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that success takes hard work and dedication.  It’s just that I thought I had done all of that.  I worked….reasonably….hard in high school, and enrolled in a great college.  I worked…again reasonably…..hard in college.  I thought that was all you had to do.  I had always been told, that success in school created a successful life.  Unfortunately, I ended up in college during an economic crash, and a high GPA wasn’t going to save me.  I graduated from a great college with good grades and ZERO job prospects.

I fought with my parents about what to do next, and ended up moving in with the guy I was dating.  It seemed like staying in a bigger town was a better option than moving back home and living with my parents again.  Plus, I’d sworn to myself that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who ended up in their parent’s basement.  Moving in with that guy was awful, I didn’t like it at all, but I was too proud to admit my parents had been right and move home.  Lucky for me, I found a job about a month after graduation.  Technically, I was offered a job in Rapid City and an onsite interview in Iowa.  I sometimes wonder how life would be different if I had taken a chance on the interview, but the past is yesterday and it can’t be changed.  The major bummer about my job in Rapid City was that the fact my degree was totally irrelevant to them.  So here I was, bright eyed and bushy tailed with a freshly printed diploma, and no one cared!  I have to say it was a bit of a let down.  Our professors had always told us if we completed our program, companies would want to hire us.  I had been promised that I would be in high demand!  Instead, I was basically in no demand.  While the job was disappointing in some ways, it was also incredibly fun in others.  I learned how to stab veins like a pro and I met some of the best girls I know!  It takes a really special group of girls to sit through double happy hour at the Applebee’s in Gillette Wyoming and live to tell the tale.  We were those girls!!  Shout out to my beauties at UBS!!!

Seriously though, if you're able you should give blood.  It's an easy way to help strangers in your community and across the country.

Seriously though, if you’re able you should give blood. It’s an easy way to help strangers in your community and across the country.

Eventually, I was offered the job I currently have, and I thought all my American dreams would come true.  I’m currently a lab manager, and while it isn’t hard chemistry all day every day, it is a chemistry job!  I finally felt like I was an adult off to achieve all my big adult dreams!  Turns out that isn’t exactly how the real world works.  Looking back at my childhood, there were probably moments where my parents struggled with money and the annoyance of a budget.  The thing is though…..I never noticed!  I never felt like we were deprived, struggling, or living within a budget.  We lived within our means, but to me that’s different.  Within one’s means is a feeling of being responsible.  When I talk about my budget, it’s generally with more of a sense of being deprived of the things I want or feel like I should be able to do.  We were raised that if you couldn’t afford to buy something outright, tough cookies for you.  Credit cards, loans, and debt were not the answer, and I’ve kept that mantra going in my own life.

It wasn’t until I lived on my own, with my own bills, did I realize that money can be such a struggle.  I never thought that managing my money would entail me checking my credit card bill before agreeing to a sushi date with my bestie.    I don’t want to worry about whether or not I have enough money for a weekend away visiting friends, or if I can spring for a cute pair of shoes at the mall.  It’s those little moments where I feel like I can’t do the fun things I want that I feel annoyed.  I understand budgeting and planning for big purchases or vacations.  It’s the “fun money” that annoys me most.  I worked hard to get where I am, and if I want sushi and beer I should be able to have sushi and beer worry free!  The other annoying part of adulthood is what I like to call “surprise expenses”.  It never fails that I’ll be having a really good month with my money, working on my savings account, and then something with happen.  The car needs an oil change, the dog has a vet appointment, the house needs something….etc.  I get that these are important things to spend money on…..but that doesn’t make them less annoying, especially when I’m trying to save for other things.

I don't want to have to budget for this!  I just want to enjoy my sushi guilt free while the sake melts away my problems!

I don’t want to have to budget for this! I just want to enjoy my sushi guilt free while the sake and soy melt away my problems!

I…generally….live within my means, and I try hard to only dip into my savings for important things.  I make good money at my job, and I know that I’m much better off than most people in this world.  The main cause of my financial stress is that I’m paying for graduate school, my car, and mortgage payments all while trying to funnel money into my savings account.  It’s possibly the biggest middle class, white girl problem ever, but if you’re going to have life problems, better that they be absurd than serious!

Hopefully writing this post will help me remember to be GRATEFUL for the things I have.  However, you should never get to a point in life where you become stationary and stop striving for bigger, better things.  I’m not one to create a dream board, but I will share my “To Purchase” list with you.  These items aren’t in any particular order, some aren’t very practical, some are, and there isn’t timeline for purchasing any of the items.  But, if you’re going to have to live within a budget and dream, it’s good to dream extra-large and in charge!

  1. Harley…preferably the automatic one that is currently only a concept demo because I have limited skill….. :/
  2. Towing kit and roof rack for my Terrain
  3. A nice makeup brush set…why must makeup cost so much money, does anyone know the answer!??!
  4. Snowmobile
  5. Fixing my poor, virus ridden Macbook
  6. Jetski
  7. COWBOY BOOTS….the more bedazzled the better!
  8. Crossbow….or a new compound bow  Yes, I want a crossbow, don’t judge me!
  9. New sunfish sailboat and trailer