So, one of my least favorite things about being an adult? Constantly worrying about money and desperately trying to budget myself.
You would think that at 24, I would have SOME idea of how to do this. I mean, my mom worked at a bank for almost 20 years and has never gone a day without balancing her checkbook and knowing where every single hard-earned penny is going. Some of this should have managed to rub off on me, but no. I’m not terrible at it, but I’m not super responsible either.
I guess the one thing I have going for me is that I’ve never had a credit card in my life. Nope, not one. I’ve never used one. Any form of plastic money in my wallet is a debit card, meaning when I used it (which is often), it’s taking money directly from my checking account. Why is this? Well, my mom always said, “If you’re gonna spend money, it’s gonna be your own.” So, no credit card debt for me.
Don’t be mistaken, though. I am very much in debt, in the form of student loans. Going to college cost a pretty penny and that called for taking out loans every year, each one a little more than the last. I’ll be paying off my undergrad education until for at least another decade.
Fast forward to my current financial situation. I’m still looking for a full-time job while doing contract work that may or may not be slowly driving me crazy. I’m currently living paycheck to paycheck, trying to make sure that my bases are covered. As I write this, my checking account has only a couple hundred dollars in it. Once my paycheck and some freelancing money kicks in, I’ll have a little more. Enough to say, pay a loan, get some groceries, and get a Saturday day pass for Lollapalooza without putting myself in the red. Do I really need the day pass? Probably not. But it’s probably the only splurge I’ll be making for a while.
So, I guess this is what being a “responsible adult” is pretty much all about. This time three years ago, I had 2 jobs (and an internship) and somehow managed to buy myself a new Macbook AND go to Lolla. But I was still in college then and my parents were still helping me out. Now that I’m in my mid-20s, I am (for the most part) on my own. And sometime within the next couple of days, I plan on sitting down and writing out a monthly budget. The numbers will probably be daunting to look at, but I need to know what I’m dealing with and be able to know how much money I’ll have left over. Maybe once I’m actually employed, I won’t be so anxious about what’s in my bank account.