Posted on | February 22, 2012 | 16 Comments
I struggle with money.
If you’d asked me in high school or college if I thought I’d still be living paycheck to paycheck at 34, I would have responded with a wide-eyed “I hope not!” And yet here I am, living paycheck to paycheck and hoping that no one comes along and pulls the rug out from under me or the roof from above me because Lord knows I can not afford a catastrophe right now. I started thinking about all of this last night and I realized that I don’t like the feeling of not having money tucked away. I don’t like knowing that if my car needs repairs, I can’t pay for them. I don’t like feeling like a financial failure.
The thing is, I’ve never really learned how to save. My parents are amazing and I love them, but they never really taught me the value of a dollar. I’ve always worked, but I worked to buy silly, frivolous things… not to pay tuition or to save up for a car. I had everything I ever really wanted handed to me, even if it wasn’t the exact version of my dreams. I wasn’t handed a brand new BMW when I turned 16… but they did buy me a very old Ford Tempo. I wasn’t given a trust fund, but my college tuition was fully paid for.
I just never learned what it means to SAVE.
So I’ve decided to do something about it, and I’m posting it here so that you can all help hold me accountable. My goal? $30,000 in savings in six years. 30k by 40. It’s a lofty goal. Some of you will laugh and think “I have that much in my back pocket,” and some of you will laugh and think “No way, no how.” But I’m going to do it. I want to teach J how to save. I want to be the kind of parent who can afford to pay for braces if they are needed. I want to feel like I’m financially okay… even if I’m not 100% secure, that I’m sort of… prepared.
So what it boils down to is this… I have to save about $500 a month to hit $30,000 by the time I’m 40. This number may vary because of birthday money, Christmas money, and any bonuses I might get between now and six years from now. I think it’s doable.
I think it’s going to suck.
I hate being broke. I hate that I have to give up eating out and splurging on gifts for friends. I hate that I have to avoid buying new clothes for myself or for J and that I have to live on such a tight budget that will allow for groceries and gasoline and very little else. But I will hate it even more if I raise J to be the kind of man who is constantly worried about where the next dollar will come from. I will hate even more if J is staring down at 40 and has nothing saved to show for it.
This is going to be a really hard thing to pull off. But all I keep thinking is this… at the end of six years, I’ll be out of credit card debt, I’ll have a car that is paid off, and I’ll have $30,000 in savings.
And I think that will make all of the “pain” worth it.