(now the ABBA song is in your head, too! you’re welcome!)
We’ve all heard the following career advice, regardless of whether or not we agree with the sentiment: (to paraphrase) … Find something that you love to do, and figure out how to make a career out of it. Well I am really very good, extraordinarily talented even, at spending money. Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out a way to channel this exceptional ability of mine into a professional pursuit from which I can earn a living.
And that blows — especially because saving and budgeting are not what I would call “personal strengths” of mine.
On paper, it seems that I earn a good living. But along with the higher paychecks that abound in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, so do higher expenses and costs of living. With that reality, I’m barely getting by. Don’t get me started on how much I pay to rent my two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Arlington, Va.; I become physically ill each month when I have to write that check (cue sounds of flushing toilet).
Now, I am trying to figure out how to manage my finances as I am once again living on my own, as a single woman on a single income. No longer having my husband’s earnings along with my income to help with the bills has been a bit of a shock and an additional source of stress (because I need more stress, right?). Going back to living paycheck-to-paycheck is not fun, at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize that I am lucky. I work from home and for myself, so I will be able to write off many expenses come tax time. The days of huge dry cleaning bills and a large supply of professional-looking work clothes are behind me — unless you count the ridiculously expensive lululemon yoga gear that is now my wardrobe staple.
But I desperately need to make some changes. No more take-out, unless I’m taking something out of the freezer or pantry. Get used to my current wardrobe, as it’s unlikely there will be any additions for some time. Notice my darker hair? Yep, time to phase back to the natural color so cut and color appointments can be spaced a bit farther apart.
Sure, I can move into a cheaper place, but not only is moving a huge expense, but also at this point in my life I just can’t imagine moving into yet another rental. Once and for all, I need to get responsible with my money, erase the debt, save, and budget.
Yes, it sucks. No, it isn’t fun. But botox and facials are considered “needs”, not “wants”, right?