Thursday, January 22, 2009

For Richer or Poorer

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not have to worry about money.  I wonder what it is like for people who go shopping and buy whatever they want, no matter the color, cost, or size.  I wonder if they have any selection criteria, or are they out to simply make their lives happier by filling it with material possessions.

But then there are times when I look around my 800-square-foot apartment and wonder how on earth I ever managed to amass so much stuff.  Why on earth did I buy those books?  Why did I insist on that silly yoga ball?  Is having a borrowed-coffee-table-that-is-really-an-end-table-that-my-dad-made a luxury, or is it simply a necessary part of my living room furniture?

It's a weird place, the un-poor spot where I am just comfortable enough to not know what need is and have a serious grasp of want.  Sometimes I feel guilty that my life is so good.  I'm healthy and have the option for healthy food (still stuffing myself on rice and pasta though).  I work a steady job and make decent wages.  My only debt is my college loan.  That's not bad for a kid in the "starting out" phase.  But when it comes time to donate money or give away my old clothes, I balk knowing that even $10 will hurt my wallet.  It's that tight.

I'm trying to save some money.  Just $50 or $100 each month since I got my raise in December... though one month not putting anything away doesn't count as a failure, it still feels like it.  I'd like to be able to save up and buy those tires my car is going to need soon.  I'd like to save some and buy a piano of my very own.  I don't need a fancy house or zoomy car or wine with my dinner every night, just to save some money and put it away for tomorrow.

Today, $5.  I'm putting in $5 for tomorrow.  I'm already over my budget this month (glasses, contacts, and a speeding ticket pretty much did me in), but I figure $5 today is worth something later... new shoes?  new sheets?  ten more minutes of vacation?  It's not much, I know.  I'm trying, though, which is probably better than most 20-somethings.

How do you save money?  Where do you cut corners in your budget?  What is something you like to splurge on when you can?  What are you saving up to buy?


Strayer said...

I am saving up to buy tires for my car. They're almost bald again. They're from a wrecking yard, off a wrecked car and have lasted a year and a half--were free to me, outside of the price of having them put on and balanced. So that is what I am saving for. I save my change, in jars, and it only takes about six months, to end up with enough for tires. I might have enough now, will take all the jars in next week. Might have enough for some good tires.

None of my pants fit. They fall off, and the belt I bought broke within five months. So I need to be saving for some clothes that fit and that will be next. It can be very embarrassing, the pants that fall off thing. I have one pair of working shoes, and one pair of thongs I wear in the summer, and one pair of boots I've had for years. I buy good shoes for the one pair and they last sometimes for two or three years, wearing them every single day. They're Keens and extremely comfortable. In the summer I don't wear them as much, which is good, because they last longer. I wear the flip flops or go barefoot around my place and in the yard. I have always wanted to learn how to make shoes and I hope to take time to learn that skill soon.

It's hard to save, but good for you for trying to do it. I have learned most things a person can do without or find used for almost nothing. I'm glad I've moved many many times, because I never take anything along with me, when I move, that I haven't used for a few months. Lightens the load and I like that.

chris farrell said...

I ride my bike everywhere (yeah I'm one of those annoying bike people). It saves wear and tear on the car. I never eat out. Those are two big ones right there.
Hi Strayer.