Money, Miles & Mass

2004 was the year I got my $@%@ together … and I desperately need a refresher course.

Backing up … I went to college and graduate school in Washington, D.C., so I never had a reason for a car. I walked or Metroed everywhere and relied on friends for out-of-the-way places, such as Target and Tyson’s Corner (one of my fave malls). When I went home to NJ, I hopped on Amtrak and made the voyage home.

But by 2004, I was getting sick of not having the freedom to get up and “go.” I wanted my own set of wheels. Unfortunately, I know nada about cars and L was still living in El Salvador and my parents live in NJ … so the only other person I’d trust to help me car shop was my dear friend Jason. Though I was expecting just to shop… I snagged an awesome lease deal (thanks to savvy shopping on the last day of the month and some bartering from Jason) and ended up driving home in my new ride. Continue reading “Money, Miles & Mass”

Musings on Selflessness

“Selfless” is an adjective I’ve often used to describe my awesome husband who literally moved to the U.S. for me, leaving behind all his family, friends, and job to start a life with me. He grew up in a developing country and has learned to make do with very little materially, but lots of love. He’s the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off your back and take you in if you needed a place to stay; open his wallet and fridge to anyone in need. Selflessness one of his best attributes, the thing I admire most about him. And, not surprisingly, it’s an adjective I never would have used to describe myself … until recently. But first, some context.

Growing up, whenever we’d go to the mall, my siblings and I would come home lugging bags of back-to-school/vacation/etc. clothes, and my mom — a shopaholic who taught me everything I know ūüėČ — would come home empty-handed.

When, as a kid (with no concept of money) I’d ask why she wasn’t buying something for herself, too, she always used to tell us that nothing on earth made her happier than buying things for her children.

That baffled me then, and baffled me for a good portion of my life, until recently. I never understood how it was possible that she could get such joy out of buying things for us … and could never envision myself being selfless enough to put aside my own wants and needs for someone else! I guess you could say I was a little self-centered, particularly in my teen years. Continue reading “Musings on Selflessness”

A Dollar A Day

Piggy bankI’ve confessed I have a wee bit of a¬†shopping problem, and that one of the biggest problems with my history of chewing and spitting was that I was wasting food (i.e., money)¬†left and rightliterally.

Fortunately, I haven’t chewed/spit in well over three monthshurrah, me!

But I’ve still had trouble buying stuff and just taking a bite before chucking it, when I know deep down I just don’t need it, yet I emotionally want it for whatever the reason du jour.

And,¬†more importantly, if I’m not going to be eating the whole thing anyway (in a day, or a week), why bother buying it in the first place?

My best friend and I were dorm mates all through college, and it always amazed me how she could have a pack of M&Ms on her desk that could last for a week.

She has a serious sweet tooth like me (hello, it’s naturally part of why we’re BFF!). And if she wanted to eat the whole pack in a day, she would eat it, no prob.

But if it was in front of me or on my desk¬†for a minute, chances were, it’d be gone, whether I wanted it or not — for me, it’s often emotional; she doesn’t struggle with that attachment to food¬†like I always have.

So about three weeks ago, after a talk with my husband (where I shared how I really want to grasp the concept of saving better) he suggested a good, easy idea I could start immediately: putting just a dollar a day in a little jar at home (vs. sliding money into my savings account, which just feels automatic and cold).

Just a buck. No big commitment, right? Continue reading “A Dollar A Day”

$$ and Therapy

Therapy has been priceless, no doubt.

Dr. G has really helped me a ton since we began our journey this August, in terms of understanding my hardware and my anxious nature; learning to reframe how I see things; learning to slow it down and separate rational and irrational thoughts; realizing when I’m catastrophizing; and challenging myself to not feel guilty where I need not feel guilt …

But it hasn’t come without a price tag.

Due to an insurance glitch, I just got my first bill (despite having asked about my copays a month ago, long story …)

The grand total? $385 in copays. Ouch. Continue reading “$$ and Therapy”

“Profiting” Off My Hardware

My husband is really good with money. I don’t mean to say we have a lot of money, just that he is genuinely “good with money.”

Growing up in a third world country where he didn’t have much, (but appreciated everything he had) he has been saving since he was a little boy. He made many sacrifies to buy special things or travel internationally, bought a house in his home country and even bought our house here in the U.S. before we were married–all on his extremely modest home country government salary.

I, on the other hand –for all my glorious fixations on food and exercise, which have helped me maintain my physical shape for the most part — am (shudder!) not the world’s best budgeter. And while our joint finances would receive a clean bill of health, my personal savings account…let’s just say it could use some major workouts!

Shocking, I know–here I am Miss Type A, perfectionist…treasurer of my sorority at one time (elected during my semester abroad, what were they thinking?!) … but I’m just being honest; I’ve never been that good with money.

I have always worked, but as my dad says, money burns a hole in my wallet. Since childhood, I spent what I earned–selling candy or lemonade in the neighborhood for a profit with my friends at age 9, babysitting when I was 12, working at resorts in high school, waitressing during semester breaks throughout college…

I was a hustler, and would work hard to save for books, a laptop, meals out, concert tickets, travel… but I still didn’t leave much, if anything, in the bank. Continue reading ““Profiting” Off My Hardware”