(Mis)Budgeting

As an adult in my early 30s (32 to be exact), I realize it has come time for me to take the official plunge into home ownership (kicking and screaming of course). This has been something I’ve been brewing on for at least a year, but I’m admittedly frightened by the entire process and as a result I haven’t quite pulled the hypothetical trigger…until last week.

Found a realtor, Check! Everything else should just fall in place now, right? Nope. Now comes shopping around for home loans, saving money (which I should have been doing longer than four months now), home inspections, builders, fees upon fees, moving expenses and so on. The entire process (now having heard it over a dozen times) causes me a great deal of anxiety.

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Of course the most important part of this equation is careful budgeting so I CAN save enough for a down payment, other fees and closing costs. Seems simple enough right? I’m careful enough with my money, right? Wrong!

During my lunch break today, I printed out my last three months of bank statements and took a fine tooth comb through every swipe I made with my debit card. To add fuel to the fire, I decided to highlight each swipe in a designated color that i assigned to a specific area of spending (ex. “Entertainment”). And yes, my handwriting is atrocious (I was writing quickly since I did this at work).

Budget labels

As I combed through each line item I realized that the majority of the swipes were under the “Entertainment” category. I lump things like movies, dinners out, exhibits, concerts, alcohol, misc, clothing purchases that aren’t for a specific event, unnecessary Amazon shopping, etc. Basically anything that I don’t need that involves fun or indulgence. It was shocking to me to see that I spend about 20% of my paycheck each month on “Entertainment” and about 10%-12% on groceries/household items. Shockingly, I don’t spend as much on gas as I thought. I’m actually doing fairly well in that category considering the fact that I work about 45 minutes away from where I live. Of course, not shocking 60% of my budget goes towards actual bills like rent, car payment, utilities, student loans, medical bills, vet bills, car insurance, credit credit, etc (things that are necessities).

So what does this tell me?? Well, one I’m apparently a social butterfly–but mostly that I need to chill on my spending on social gatherings (even in the realm of my relationship where we “share” the responsibility of treating for dates–we take turns). It seems simple enough to fix this, but will take some serious adjustments. For starters, I could limit eating out to once a week and only go to places with deals. I could also not order alcohol out (because that’s easily $10 a drink in some places) and “brown bag it” during times where friends are preGaming before a night out anyway. I could also shop MORE based on sales/deals, clip coupons (I really hate doing this), use money saving apps, more closely track my spending…maybe even start using cash more so I’m more aware of my spending habits??? I had been meeting with two friends weekly on Sundays to have an open discussion about how shitty we all are at saving money (to hold each other accountable), but I’ve preferred lazily laying in bed on Sunday mornings with my boyfriend (because we’re both lazy) instead (do you blame me?).

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It all seems overwhelming, but not impossible. It will be painful, but it needs to be done to get to where I want to be within the next year. I just need to approach this in a realistic way that will work FOR ME. Maybe I’ll document this very painful process along the way.

 

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Isolating Myself

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks at work and per my usual stress mode, I’ve started neglecting other aspects of my adult life, like being social.

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It has dawned on me a lot this year just how introverted I truly am. While I enjoy people and social outings, 90% of the time when I am stressed, tired or focused on a tasks, I prefer to avoid them (social outings). It’s important for me to pull away from everyone and everything to recharge. A lot people truly don’t understand that or understand how difficult it HAS been for me to attend baby showers, weddings, surprise parties, cook-outs, birthday parties, retirement parties, going away parties, reunions, happy hours, family gatherings, etc. over the past few months when all I really feel like doing is crawling up in a ball and sleeping for hours.

I’m tired constantly and rarely have a lot of energy these days outside of going to work, which is bad, because at 30, I should still have a decent amount of energy left. I think part of it is depression/anxiety, which can deplete your energy levels at times, but I really need to see a doctor to rule out any additional health issues too. I keep putting my health, MENTAL and EMOTIONAL health in particular, on the back burner over work obligations. The kicker is, I’m a healthcare professional and work in a hospital that promotes well being for patients AND staff and yet I haven’t been feeling like myself in weeks and I’ve been ignoring it.

On top of pulling some longer hours at work this month, I’ve also been dealing with trying to get a place closer to work and possibly getting another car. Both of which I can’t truly afford to do right now because every time I turn around I’m dropping $500, $600, $1,000 to fix my damn truck, which is money I could be SAVING to put towards moving or money I could put down on a new car. I’m also still making payments on it! I just got it back Friday after it being in the shop for about a week over transmission issues! It’s frustrating, but maybe it’s just not the right time for me to do either one of those things right now. I have about an hour drive to and from work in traffic, so to give my truck a bit of a rest, I’ve been trying to take public transportation a few days a week. This save me gas money and allows me to (sort of) decompress to and from work.

In other news, he’s coming to visit at the end of this upcoming week. He’s coming for “work” or so he says. When I was visiting him last month (which I intentionally didn’t write about 🙂 ), I told him how much he matters to me and how I try to make the most out of our visits because we don’t see each other that often. I think I broke something in him, because ever since I’ve said that, he’s been saying all of these crazy sentimental things like how he really trusts me, how we’re so close and how he’s going to give me a key to his condo. He also told me that he was going to make more of an effort for us to see each other, like maybe we could get together monthly and trade off on who visits who. He’s really one out of a handful of people that I even have the energy to deal with right now. Sometimes just hearing his voice is comforting. The cadence of his voice is very calm. I can unapologetically be myself (even if I AM depressed or anxious), and he’s ok with that because he understands and deals with it himself and doesn’t judge me or ask me to “get over it”. My best friends are really supportive like that as well. Anyway, I’ve really got to stop isolating myself in general.

Perhaps July will be a better month and I’ll have more time to take care of my needs.

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Jackpot!

So, apparently the mega million jackpot is now at an astonishing 900 million dollars! I can’t even fathom that amount of money! Even after taxes, that amount of money would bananas!

I’ve had several friends, co-workers and family members ask me:

“What would you do if you won the mega million jackpot”

 

Aside from this:

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Here are the things I would do (after waking up from passing out):

  1. I would immediately call out of work–no, not quit, just call out the day after with no explanation.
  2. Hire a financial advisor — maybe. Not sure if I’d trust just anyone to do this.
  3. Delete ALL of my social media and turn my phone the fuck off.
  4. I would get a TracFone in an alias name
  5. Claim the coins! (in my state, you have to claim it in your actual name)
  6. Resign from my job as soon as I claim the money.
  7. Go to the most expensive restaurant in my area in sweatpants and order the most expensive meal they offered. I would then tip the waiter/waitress $1,000.
  8. Legally change my name
  9. Pay off all of my student loan debt, car loan, credit cards, etc with a lovely, “fuck you” included with the checks
  10. Drop cash to have a house built in the suburbs (with a fence of course)
  11. Drop by the dealership of a car place to buy a new car STRAIGHT CASH MONEY
  12. Pay off the house my parents just bought, pay off their cars and give them money so that they can retire early (even though they are about to retire now)
  13. Give my close circle friends and family that I regularly speak to some money–and that’s it. No one else.
  14. Donate money: towards education/research at my current employer, to my alma mater, homeless shelters, food banks, animal shelters and towards the research of cancer and diabetes.
  15. Book a one-way ticket to London and start my journey to travel across the world. I would take as much time as I wanted to in each country that I visited. I would travel write and I would return when my house is finished (probably a few months)
  16. Chill.

Winning that amount of money would be a blessing for sure, but I would try to remain as level-headed as humanly possible.

I’m curious to know what other people would do. I’m sure everyone would get joy in knowing they would be able to free themselves of debt, quit their jobs and do whatever the hell they wanted indefinitely (if they can manage their money well).