Paper Gangsta

January 24th, 2013

Hey, here’s a funny story in the TMI category, but look, never stopped me before: Shortly after I posted about the ANXIETY SPIRAL I . . . I got my period. I am not suggesting these things are related, OH HO, I would never do such a thing, but I’m saying I . . . I feel better. Draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, here are some quick things I’ve been thinking about — I’ve promised to write here more, for myself, even if no one reads it. Besides, my mother would yell at me if I stopped. “I passed the URL on to the ladies at church and you hadn’t even UPDATED,” she admonished me one day.

The ladies at church. A conservative church. Well! What a surprise this is and must have been for them. Hello, church ladies, I am terribly sorry for my period talk and potty mouth.

– This is the first year I’ve really had Things I wanted to accomplish. Concrete things that are measurable and actionable and move the needle somewhere. I — we — have some pretty aggressive financial goals, so I have been redoing our budget and making changes and GOD, look, every time I fall off the wagon a little, I forget what a money nerd I am. I kind of get off on slashing things and doing without and making little changes to save money here and there. (MY KINGDOM FOR A GIANT SLASH IN FLORIDA.) I can exercise such RESTRAINT with money when I put my mind to it, and it makes me feel virtuous and smug and each purchase I don’t make cheers me to no end, as does the monthly transfer into whatever account I’m paying down or growing.

It’s gaining satisfaction from deprivation, which is twisted but rewarding, right? So why why WHY am I not as disciplined with diet? WHY? It’s the same principles! The same theoretical rewards made real! WHY? WHY? WHY?

– In the realm of finances, I was chatting with Liz today and talking about my biggest hang-up with money is that I am STUPID with spending and sort of thoughtless. Like, I will spend $500 in a single month at Target if I’m not careful, but if I have to make a SINGLE purchase more than, say, $50, I balk. Oh, that’s too much MONEY, I’ll tell myself. When really, it’s not any more than I’ve spent on random shit like an extra pair of unnecessary leggings, four crappy T-shirts, a face mask and six extra boxes of Band-Aids that were on sale. Stuff I didn’t even NEED.

But if I STOPPED doing that and actually started paying attention, I could use that money to buy something I DO need, like new couches, because I’m sure you thought yours were disgusting, but you’re wrong. Ours are the grossest. We bought them back in 2000, when we moved into our first apartment together. That’s right, we have THIRTEEN YEAR OLD couches that have been through a cat, a dog, two children and seriously, I think I had a nicer sofa set in college. The cushions on the back don’t even stand up anymore. But it seemed so ILLOGICAL to buy new ones when we were having, you know, small children who will, and have, barf, pee, poop and otherwise sully them. Except we realized that we don’t spend any time in an ENTIRE ROOM OF THE HOUSE, because we hate sitting on them so much.

But no. Much better to have stockpiles of awful beauty products lying about. Buy the damned couches.

- Why am I still talking about this? I don’t know! Maybe because I’ve spent three days talking to financial advisers and re-doing budgets and buying Hello Wallet and GETTING SHIT DONE. I feel like some kind of FINANCIAL WIZARD, but really, ah, no.

I’m sure this is all very riveting. Sorry. Look, I never promised you a rose garden.

I hope you have a great weekend.

 

*Lady GaGa

 

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Entry Filed under: Nuttin',The anxious anxiety

37 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  January 24th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    We are financial derivation twins. I practically giggle when I hand over a wad of coupons at Walmart – Walmart! – or wave my ad in the cashier’s face for a price match. I have been known to test myself by going shopping just to see if I can overcome temptation. Show me a potential deal, and i salivate. I am insane.

    My downfall lately has been online deal websites (I know, I know, unsubscribe, but I’m weak). One click and suddenly I’m considering buying something I probably don’t need because it’s such a markdown (allegedly). What if I need it later and the price goes up? Clearly, I have some issues to work on this year.

    I think you’re doing a great job. I hope those couches are in your near future.

  • 2. Ginger  |  January 24th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I have that issue of spending a chunk of money at Target but being unwilling to spend more than $50 on an individual item. Hence why all my shoes are crap from Target, when I SHOULD buy something quality that won’t look like hell in 2 months.

    I don’t know how to fix that little quirk though. I’m pretty bad about budgeting—it’s like the last bastion of adulthood I can’t seem to wrap my head around. Which is why my financial planner just sighs and shakes his head at me.

  • 3. Angela  |  January 25th, 2013 at 12:04 am

    I’m so glad someone besides me has the hang up with spending more than $50 on a single item, but I can spend money at at walmart (sadly no target her) on absolute crap without thinking twice about it! People always look at me like I’m crazy when I mention this. My money spending anxiety with larger amounts is so bad that I make my husband go in and pay for clothes when I need something pricy. He uses the debit card that is tied to our joint account, that of course I also have with me. It’s just ridiculous.

  • 4. Swistle  |  January 25th, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I have that same issue with “Can spend $600 on Target miscellany but not on a recliner.” It’s comforting to see how even with just a few comments, we seem to be in a majority.

  • 5. Erica  |  January 25th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think “Jonna’s a Money Anorexic!” I’m pretty sure someone is going to be pissed that I’m treating an eating disorder in a flippant way, but COME ON. You totally sound like an anorexic with the smug satisfaction of deprivation. Although, with your Target binges, maybe you’re more of a Money Bulimic. Personally, I am a Money Grazer, in that I spend a little all the time and never save.

    Also, I do the same thing re: period hormones. One day I will realize that I hate everyone’s face and want to stab them and my life is shit and oh god why do I even try? I’ll check my period tracking app (SHUT UP) and sure enough, it’ll say anything from 8 days to 3 days until my next period. And then I’m all “WELL DUH.” I’m surprised by this every single damn month.

  • 6. Shelly  |  January 25th, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Oh, I am in the SAME place as far as I actually some real goals this year! It’s a good feeling – I want to accomplish something! I have a purpose! But also scary, because one of the biggest things I want to accomplish this year is changing jobs.

    And I absolutely think that my manky, 12 (wait, no, I got it second hand – okay, I have no clue how old) couch will out gross your couch. The children sit on it, but my hubby and I do not.

  • 7. A.  |  January 25th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I’m the same way when it comes to Target. I finally just got a Red Card so I could save some money there, but then do I save the money I’m saving? No – it probably gets spent on lunch or coffee. But buying a double stroller for when the baby comes? I can’t bring myself to pay that kind of dough.

    Money. GAH.

  • 8. Sarah  |  January 25th, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, I have this weird pride about the fact that I’ve never spent more than fifty bucks- and usually way less- on shoes or bags. BUT I spend way too much, every single damn month, on coffees and lunches and expendable things. I still am okay with it most of the time, because I take genuine pleasure in those treats so to me it is worth it. But my husband is always baffled. “Wouldn’t you rather save for a new- whatever it is I’ve been complaining about wanting?” And no, apparently I would NOT rather. Decaf lattes and lunch with my mom saves my life.
    This month, though, since I have seriously sick kids since the end of December, I have not spent nearly as much as usual on little treats like that. We would have saved a boatload except that we’re, uh, extensively adding on to the house. So. Still broke.

  • 9. Kathryn  |  January 25th, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Ok, so here’s my thought on why I am not ever effective in dieting: I am disciplined in SO MANY areas of life (money, cleaning, household managing, trying to raise kids the not-as-lazy way, exercising) that I simply cannot also be disciplined in this one area that brings such pleasure. I have been trying to lose the same 10 to 15 pounds for the last five years, in between pregnancies, and in the back of my mind, I think, “Splurge a little. Eat a chicken nugget with your kids/don’t hassle with a salad, you know that grilled cheese looks sooooo good/you DESERVE a little indulgence right now.” It’s messed up, I think, but it is my way of not being a robot. Maybe it’s the same for you?

  • 10. Corinne  |  January 25th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    WRT couches: Go to IKEA and just do it. I just went through the same thing, where I was literally using my couch and chair from COLLEGE (I am 41) and thinking “Oh, we shouldn’t get new furniture now with little kids and cats” and meanwhile would not let anyone in my home because I didn’t want them to see the filthy disgusting furniture. I finally snapped and went to IKEA and I AM SO HAPPY. I sit on them and just giggle at how nice and clean and awesome they are – and, they were CHEAP, so when the kids do trash them and we need new furniture in 5 years, no big. (TIDAFORS in Tullinge gray-brown, if you are wondering, and they are so great.)

  • 11. Artemisia  |  January 25th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    WE ARE IDENTICAL FINANCIAL-SPENDING TWINS.

    Identical.

    Cheese and crackers. If I would just not buy so many ugly lip glosses and quit stocking up on bundles of tubes of toothpaste (why?), I could afford nice boots or kick the shit out of my student loans. But, no.

    I swear I have the EXACT same financial and spending habits and thoughts as you. EXACTLY.

    A. tolerates it, but he does not get it. NOT LIKE YOU DO.

    I am so stinkin’ excited. Now I want to work on my budget, RIGHT NOW. I was planning a nice session of Budget Readjusting this weekend already, as A. starts a new job on Monday. We will no longer be a one-income household and oh, the budgeting tweaks that must be done!!

    I am a dork. And I love you. Happy Friday to you!

  • 12. Artemisia  |  January 25th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Also, I am so repulsively smug about being able to avoid temptations presented by an “amazing deal.” If I don’t need it, I don’t need it, even if it is a deal.

    But I cannot get control over my lip gloss and extra toothpaste weaknesses. So lame.

  • 13. shin ae  |  January 25th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Jonna? I’m from a conservative church, and I love you and your blog. Surprise!

    I now feel better about my couch. I’ve been keeping people out of the house because I think it’s so disgusting, but maybe it’s okay. I doubt I’d have thought anything of your couch, had I seen it, or of Corinne’s, either. Also, it’s the colder winter months, so that helps, right? Um, scent-wise? Ugh.

    I’ve been exercising more financial restraint out of necessity, and I do get the wonderful glee every time I put something back on the shelf. There’s something to it.

  • 14. HereWeGoAJen  |  January 25th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    The way you feel about your couches is the way I feel about our floors. I hate them and they are so gross. I refuse to put the baby down on them. He will never learn to crawl.

  • 15. Maggie  |  January 25th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Yeah I only go to Target on or shortly after pay day. I’ve gotten *SO* good at Target shopping, actually, that I can usually estimate to within $5 what my total is going to be. No I don’t add as I go along…that would be, like, kind of budgeting, and pay day Target trips are those which I pretend don’t really exist, as I deduct all bills, etc. AFTER the Target trip…

    Re: couches…it took us over 2 years to decide on what new couch we wanted, and went through several design iterations. We finally decided on a design and found a custom furniture place that would build it to our specifications. In order to get the Very Best Price, we also picked out an Ikea couch that we felt we could totally “live with”, so we knew we had the upper hand in negotiations & could just walk away if we didn’t get the price we wanted. We ended up getting the price, and we love the new couch, but the moral of my story is…I think…Ikea has some great couches that are cheap enough to justify buying a new one, and also cheap enough that you won’t freak out every time a child with a sippy cup or goldfish goes near it…

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    Freaking Target and its siren song. It gets me every time.

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    I feel like if Target had to make a 10 year plan, it would be to eat my soul.

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    Yeah I only go to Target on or shortly after pay day. I’ve gotten *SO* good at Target shopping, actually, that I can usually estimate to within $5 what my total is going to be.

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    Also, I am so repulsively smug about being able to avoid temptations presented by an “amazing deal.” If I don’t need it, I don’t need it, even if it is a deal.

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