Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Money - and the Lack of Money - Sucks (the life out of life)

I was always taught that you never discuss finances with people. You always pick up the check. Never let people know you can't afford things.

As a result, I'm a mess with money. Here's the another problem - my husband was brought up the exact same way.

I don't buy it, anymore. My mother was wrong. If we don't discuss money, we don't know how to use it properly. I mean, yeah - it's gauche. The alternative is finding yourself in a cycle of debt. The only people who have the luxury of living with that kind of financial silence are those with the wisdom to be born wealthy.

So, I make a decent, middle-class living as a call center supervisor. Somehow, we are always broke. I know single moms who make about half of what I do, and have a savings account. I struggle to keep my balance above $0.

I know all of the tips. I worked at a bank, for god's sake! I taught people how to correctly budget and save. We've tried tracking every single purchase on a spreadsheet, giving ourselves allowances, and putting together a budget before I get paid. It doesn't matter.

Add in medical bills, up-coming student loan payments for Jon, and just trying to get caught up on debt. It's so overwhelming. Things like someday buying a house, moving out of state, or just getting a new apartment seem so out of reach.

So, this is a third problem - even though I make the money, I don't spend the money. I don't buy groceries or pay bills or anything. I don't splurge on meals out, buying clothes, or anything. Jon does our household finances. He also has struggled with impulse control and wanting things he doesn't need (that he's seriously made progress with). Because the amount of money in our accounts constantly declines, I get panicky and feel out of control.

My relationship with money is a mirror to my relationship with food; it's feast or famine. I can make $10 last for a week, and $500 can disappear in a day. Maybe as I learn to control my eating, I'll be able to make some headway on my finances.

Maybe I'll have a savings before I'm 40.