I have been plagued my entire adult life with money problems. My whole life I have been unable to balance the amount of money I make with the amount of money I spend. There was one year when I had it under control. I was using money managing software, had a budget and actually did not live paycheck-to-paycheck. Unfortunately Ex was the person who turned me on to using the software, so now I have a violent reaction everytime I try to open it. I've tried using other systems of managing my money, to no avail. I image this must be the same disappointment and frustration people who are constantly trying to diet must feel.
The problem is...I need to do something. I'm entering the umpteenth week where I'm counting down the days until payday. I hate this feeling more than almost anything. I hate that I'm so damn used to it.
One thing that makes it so bad is that I make good money...even for New York City standards. On surveys that ask for income, I can easily check the third or fourth box. My monthly living expenses only use up half to three-quarters of my monthly salary, including my mortgage. The fact that I have a mortgage should be a sign that I have my money sh*t together. I have a retirement plan that has a good chunk of money in it for only being established for a year, and I have savings. But for some reason, I'm always tapping into that savings to make it to the next payday.
To my credit, I have improved on some things. I'm paying bills on time with much more frequency than I used to. I have automatic bill pay set up for most of my monthly expenses and bill collectors don't call me anymore. I do not use credit anymore either...if I can't use my debit card, then I can't buy it. I've been turning down restaurants, social events when I know that the amount is too much, though I feel horrible when I do. All of my big debt is considered "good debt:" education loans, mortgage, etc. and all of it combined is way less than $200,000. So then why do I have nothing in my bank account right now?
Because I only get diligent about my money spending a week after payday, that's why. When payday comes I splurge...thinking I deserve spending $20 for lunch and $40 for dinner because I've been suffering all week. And I feel shame...shame that I can't handle my money better. Shame that I'm broke way more often than I should be.
I've got a dog to care for now. My dog needs to eat at least twice a day. There can be no peanut and jelly sandwiches for Ella. She'll also need a carrier and vet care. I can't not have money to care for her. I have to get my money act together or she is going to be the one to suffer. I'm looking forward to my new schedule of coming home right after work. That will greatly limit my ability to go out during the week...that's where my money goes after all.
I know intellectually what I need to do, but this speaks to a more emotional issue that I need to get a handle on. Maybe I'll start talking about it in therapy...something I've never done. That tells you something.