money anorexia.

that subject probably doesn’t seem like it makes a ton of sense.

(also, please forgive what may appear to be weird spacing. i am trying to adopt the more net-accepted “one space between sentences” style and it’s super unnatural to me, but it’s what they use at work and i keep messing up copy there. hard habit to acquire, so if some sentences have one space between them, and some two, that’s why)

let me explain.

i am really nervous about money, and having enough of it. i love saving. i love a deal. i love being smart about finances.  i contribute to my retirement plan and have since i was 22. i have a regular transfer set up to my savings account, and i try my damndest not to touch it. my upcoming vacation to jamaica is the first real vacation i will be taking in my adult life, and it took a lot to convince myself that it is a worthwhile move.  fiscal responsibility is extraordinarily important to me, personally.

(this comes from a rampant and intense desire as a young adult to be independent and self-sufficient, and a keen understanding that money is the key to such things.  also, from having a bunch of it stolen from me in my early 20s – approximately 6-7 thousand dollars.)

in the interest of accomplishing my goals of saving and living very much inside my means (which are by no means luxurious – i AM a nonprofit employee after all, and a junior one), i very rarely indulge. i do not buy myself new clothes very often, or beauty products. anything i can take care of at home instead of purchasing, i try to – i do my own nails, tweeze my own eyebrows, fix my own clothes (if i can). i’m not amazing about everything – i buy breakfast and lunch during the week instead of making my own usually, which is a money suck, i am a light smoker, also a money suck. nobody’s perfect, but i try to keep my indulgences to a minimum.

this doesn’t mean i’m not human and i don’t see shit i want ALL THE TIME. consumerism is obviously rampant, and it’s really difficult to break the belief that your life will just have some magic sparkle dust sprinkled on it if you just have THAT ONE THING. i’m usually pretty good at suppressing my desires, or at the very least finagling a good deal (i.e. last week i wanted a bunch of nail polish, i bought it on ebay, saving approx. $2 per bottle.  win!).

but here is the problem.  these bouts of restriction inevitably lead to some sort of loss of control and i buy way too many things.  my version of way too many things is perhaps different than your average person’s, but hey, remember what i said up there, much of my sanity depends on having a large rainy day (or lose my job, or must find new apartment, or insert emergency here) fund. so this week i have purchased two dresses and a 6-color essie nail polish collection and i want SO MANY THINGS. i am on some sort of spending binge, though i am trying really hard to stop wanting everything and pound into my head that things do not equal fulfillment or happiness.

(it probably does not help that i have had a really rough week emotionally, either).

i think a better plan would probably be to allow myself one small treat every paycheck, and i get paid monthly.  as in, one dress.  or one beauty product. perhaps this would solve the restriction/binge cycle i inevitably get myself into…

anyone else have odd/strange/troublesome spending habits?

6 thoughts on “money anorexia.

  1. Firstly, kudos to you, babe. My dad instilled the importance of saving in me from an early age and even now, whenever I start a new job, I sit with him (via phone mostly) and he sets out a budget for me. One which I am usually pretty good about sticking to. But I, like you, enjoy things. I binge spend. Just this past week, I bought a ton of new books, about 8 new pairs of shoes and a bunch of clothes. I reason that I never buy anything full price – a trait learned from my darling Mum – and that I can go months without buying anything frivolous.

    I don’t actually mind the spending binges. In a weird sort of way, they work for me 🙂

    1. see, i have never been able to make/stick to a budget. perhaps i do in my head, because im pretty aware of what i spend on everything and where my money goes, but that’s a practice i really want to cultivate. i’ve tried quicken and ms money and even, more recently,, but nothing has ever stuck. this is a skill i need.

  2. I think I do that with time, rather than money. You know that “This is why I’ll never be an adult” thing from Hyperbole and a Half? I do that. The key thing for me isn’t so much the internet over-indulgence or the procrastination, as the tendency for periods of high responsibility to be followed by responsibility crashes involving both of the above.

    That’s the part that intrigues and bothers me, and that I most need to get a handle on. Because I really enjoy the times when I move from task to task in a focused way, finish things, and manage to have breaks that end instead of turning into multi-hour productivity-free distraction-fests.I wonder if the thing that scares us about the hinge between control and indulgence is that maybe one day we just won’t find the on-switch for control again?

    It sounds like your idea of having a controlled splurge tied to getting paid might help, in the same way that I seem to manage my time better when I give myself MORE breaks. During the procrastination+panic phases, I fret over something until I start avoiding it, and I stress through those hours of avoidance/multiple quick re-engagements and panicked disengagements as though I were getting paid to do so; as though they were actual work.

    Whereas if I permit myself to have breaks that are actual breaks (i.e. away from the computer and the feeling that I’m hiding from work), the breaks stop having the shiny allure of the forbidden. And it sounds like the shiny allure of the [self-]forbidden is what’s bothering you about the splurges, as much as the actual fact of spending money: it’s scary to give in to temptation, yet if the thing (whether it’s time not working or a physical object of desire) becomes planned for, allowed, it might lose its power… (god, this was long. sorry!)

    1. oh ang, my issues with attention and focus and even organization would be a whole series of related and similar posts – i’ve thought about writing about control and release and the grand balance we’re expected to strike as adults and how hard it all is. interesting thoughts on the psychology behind the ideas – i’m so glad to be hearing from you here. <3

  3. the grand balance we’re expected to strike as adults

    This, YES. I keep wondering if our generation is different (so pampered, collectively and relatively, despite the individual hardships we faced) or if every generation had its version of Struggling To Strike The Adulthood Balance.

    Maybe this struggle is an inherent human trait only obvious in times of affluence; another aspect of the programmed restlessness that makes us upset or strain against the good stuff in our lives as well as the bad.

    Maybe in earlier generations, who were expected to marry before sex and had less free choice of partners, it came out more in infidelity. I don’t know…

    I would SO love to read your thoughts about control and release. I love talking with you about this stuff. 🙂

  4. Ang said most of what I want to say, except to add that restricted financial freedom has done me a lot of good. And mostly, I feel like you do, and don’t always want to buy all the things. When that goes away and I crave spending, it’s almost impossible not to listen. My binges are smallish and ultimately harmless to the family budget, but I really feel them, the anticipation and the aftereffects.

    Money is weird.

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