Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back To Being A Regular Person

Sometimes I get really sick of being “into” my finances.

Sometimes I just want to be happy that I have any savings cushion at all, instead of always feeling like it’s not enough.

Sometimes I want to stop thinking about saving for retirement, and start thinking about saving for a vacation instead.

Sometimes I get annoyed that I’m always running numbers in my head.

Sometimes I want tell my budget to fuck off.

Sometimes I fantasize about driving to the nearest car dealership and financing a shiny, new car.

Sometimes I want to go out to eat all three weekend nights…and not think twice about it.

Sometimes I get tired of fighting Comcast every three months about how much my cable costs; I just want to pay the full bill and skip the drama.

Sometimes I want to take yoga classes without worrying that that’s too self-indulgent.

Sometimes I want to dream about doing things without pesky financial worries getting in the way.

Sometimes I want an appetizer and dessert. And a couple of glasses of wine, too.

Sometimes I feel crushing worry about my finances.

Sometimes I want the shoes that aren’t on sale.

Sometimes it sucks to care so much about my money.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being a (financially) regular person. 

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Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back To Being A Regular Person — 25 Comments

  1. I say loosen up the reigns a tad! Obviously keep doing what you’re doing, but allow that occasional indulgence whether its dessert of the new shoes. And go do the yoga class!!

    • Okay, I guess it is serious. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come off as rude, just some of the things in the post are so extreme it began to seem humorous. (Not laughing at your worries!) It just always boggles my mind that the pf community is so against spending money.

      Out of everyone, the pf community is a group of people who are intelligent enough to spend money smartly! Unfortunately, it seems that the fear of spending any money at all is so great no one wants to do it. For those out there who once had big debts, is there a fear that once you start spending again, you won’t be able to stop? There has to be some psychological reasons behind this because if you’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck or on government assistance and still eat yourself up over buying new shoes (saving, what, $30?), then this might be a sort of deeper issue.

      However, I can relate! I used to haggle over a couple bucks because… it adds up! But what helped me to become less psychotic about my finances (without becoming irresponsible) was to break everything down into percentages. Seeing that something is only 2% of my income makes me realize just how little an impact that actually has on my expenses. There were times I thought of cancelling Netflix because, well, $8 is still $8 and that’s a few groceries right there. But at the end of the day, Netflix amounts to 0% of my paycheck. Zero. It is such a small amount, making that sacrifice (of something I use and enjoy) is not something I should spend energy worrying about – $96/year isn’t going to send me into the hole.

      • No worries, I didn’t perceive your first comment as rude at all! In fact, I found it refreshing that you would think that this post is supposed to be a farce. That means you’re not so “deep” into personal finance that you’re still able to look at your money rationally :)

        I totally get what you’re saying; I think that recently I’m experiencing the burden of Too Much Knowledge. In other words I know all of the things I theoretically SHOULD be doing with my money – based on other peoples’ perspectives – that it’s hard for me to look at my own finances and goals and decide what *I* should be doing with my money. So I feel like I should be doing everything – saving! investing! buying a house! – at once. That’s why I sometimes get bogged down.

        I give myself a healthy “allowance” every month, I just get obsessed and overly worried about the big picture of where my finances are headed. Bottom line: I need to calm down!

  2. I so relate! :)

    I will say that maybe you should loosen up just a little. You seem to be on a pretty good path with savings and paying off the debt. Things like a yoga class or having a nice meal (with an appetizer and a glass of wine or two) once in a while shouldn’t be things that you deprive yourself of.

    I liken the finance thing to the diet thing. I lost a ton of weight a few years ago and I did it by realizing that I can’t deprive myself all the time. I was willing to accept a little slower rate of loss and allow myself a glass of wine with dinner or a dessert out with friends once in a while. I look at my debt and savings as the same thing. As long as I’m making steady progress, and it won’t harm my budget or make me use credit, then I should allow myself to do some of the things that are beneficial to my emotional and mental well being. I see yoga and the occasional treat dinner in that category.

    (But fighting with Comcast – ARGH. I do it every month, too!)

  3. I know you were worried about this post, but I think a lot of people can relate! We all get discouraged sometimes. Heck, I’ve DELETED MY BLOG before because I was so sick of putting every single penny I spent under a microscope. I just wanted to buy effing porch furniture without feeling like the personal finance world was going to crash down around me.

    A few months ago at work, I was talking to my coworkers about my emergency fund. I knew I had upcoming gamma knife surgery, and $3,000 was just not enough cushion at all. My coworker – who is a married woman in her mid-40s with 2 teenage sons – actually said, “Wow! That’s great!” when I said I had $3,000 in savings. She thought $3,000 was a lot of money! And afterward, even though I knew logically that no it’s not nearly enough money in savings, I felt kind of jealous. Like, what would it be like to be the person who felt like a few thousand dollars in savings was GREAT? (There’s actually a lot more to that story because she’s a spendaholic, so she wasn’t saying it was great for a married person with no dependents to have $3,000 in savings. But I digress.)

    I’ll add one of my own. Sometimes I want to sign a two-year contract at the nicest gym in Knoxville for $45 a month and not feel the least bit guilty about it.

  4. Oh I hear ya! I am CONSTANTLY thinking about how much to save, in what investment vehicle, interest rates, short vs. long term horizons and more and it really gives me a headache sometimes!
    How much do you give yourself as spending money in a month may I ask? Depending on the amount it may need some upping…and don’t feel guilty about it either :)

  5. Well, as you pointed out, if I went back to being a regular person, I’d go back into the dark abyss where I had no plan for how I was going to pay my student loans.

    My interest in my finances is one of the best things that could have happened to me in my life. It opened my eyes and woke me up to the nightmare I’d created for myself.

    You can enjoy nice things in life, do all the things you listed and still live a financially responsible life.

  6. The great thing about worrying about your finances in your 20s is that you get everything on auto pilot at an early age and don’t have to worry about things as much as you get older.

    I used to error on the side of being too frugal and the Balanced Money Formula really helped. 50% to needs 20% to savings and 30% to wants. So whatever your income you can spend 30% on whatever you want and not stress about it.

  7. I love this post. This is my first Christmas being “into” my finances. If my head was still buried in the sand, I would be encouraging hubby to buy me an upgraded Ipad. Instead, I made him swear not to charge a damn thing for me. It sure is different! Thanks for being real.

  8. I’d flip it around- remind yourself that not being financially responsible is a very, very, very recent thing. For most people in most of human history it was just normal old life to save, be frugal, think about every purchase, make long term plans, scrimp and save for special things- that “crushing worry” was probably not seen as so crushing because everyone worried about it, since it was the responsible adult thing to do. It’s only recently that things like credit and consumer culture have really made it so that people can be able to live day to day life without thinking about money.

    The way you’re living now is normal, for sane, intelligent people. It just seems not normal and stressful because you, my friend, are bucking a seriously enormous and dangerous cultural acceptance that being ignorant about money and spending/living on credit is just fine.

    I get where you’re coming from, because I’ve felt it too. When your own parents or best friends or the whole world or even your teachers and your teller at the bank are all up to their eyeballs in debt with no worries, or everyone is putting that vacation on credit without a thought, or your girlfriend is always kitted out in the cutest clothes- yeah, it’s crazy making. Just remember you’re being made crazy by their crazy.

    And sure, go to a yoga class or get some wine sometimes. Maybe drink some wine and then go to yoga :)

  9. Oh Man I totally get where you’re coming from. In a way I’m envious of my friends ignorance when it comes to their finances. I have a friend who’s decided to stop paying her student loans, just because. She closed the bank account they W/D from and doesn’t care that they’re in collections since everything ‘she’ owns is in her husbands name and not hers- she thinks it’s ok to stop paying the $200.00 min/month so she can up her shopping budget or whatever. She’s an idiot when it comes to money, I’ve even intervened but she just doesn’t care and neither does her dumb husband. I wish sometimes I could be as careless as her and not care…just a little haha.

  10. This feeling happens the worst for me at target! I just want to buy everything!

    I totally feel you on the couple glasses of wine at dinner too :)

  11. I can totally relate to this post. I just want to be normal sometimes, but as Dave Ramsey reminds me: NORMAL IS BROKE. I don’t want to be broke. Its a little unhealthy to feel broke even when you have two steady jobs and $10k in the bank. But its also smart not to indulge in every little whim of your inner child. I’m trying to walk that balance. I read about it being called “bag lady syndrome”, when wealthy women always feel like they do not have enough money.

  12. These are all things I do too, except dealing w/cable. I gave up (gave in). My 18 yr old car suddenly started leaking coolant. I’d so much rather buy the car I’m saving up for now instead of fixing this one AGAIN! But, no, I’m financially responsible.

  13. OMG SO MUCH THIS right now! Usually it doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s actually been really difficult to plan a wedding with a PF blogger mindset. It usually feels like it would be so much easier (and less stressful) to just go into some debt in order to make the “big day” happen… but the flip side of that coin is that I just can’t stomach going into debt for a wedding. Stressful either way, I suppose. :-/

  14. Love this post. I often think this way about my debt. I am not thankful that I got into debt, but I am thankful that I was smart enough to get out of it. However, my financial habits have forever changed because of it. I wonder what my life would be like if I never got into debt.

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