Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A different kind of disaster zone

That would be my finances. Click the image to enlarge.

Just a warning, this post is filled with a ton of angst. I am a spoiled, wealthy brat who realizes how much she has but is foolish with it. And I feel very ashamed, and really don't know how to change my ways. 

I let go this month. Our take-home pay decreased substantially because I contributed twice my usual to my pension thingy at work this month. In total, we only added $216 to our checking account and $415 to our emergency fund. Still -- only adding $600 in liquid savings feels really bad. 

1. ED treatment got more expensive this month. My therapist just moved to California so I've been going to a bunch of trial appointments with what feels like every therapist in town. Eventually I'll find someone I like who takes my insurance but until then I have to pay for the full cost of the visits.
2.We ate out at a pricey place. First mistake: going to the hottest restaurant in the DC area for our wedding anniversary. Second mistake: trusting that they wouldn't try to kill us at dinner. If you have food allergies, Volt in Frederick is not a great place to go!
3. I didn't restrain myself when it came to entertainment. It's that simple.
4. I bought more Christmas presents. I felt it was better to split the present purchasing over three months. I only have about $60 worth of planned gifts to get yet, for a total of approximately $400 for the whole family, for $50 apiece. The remaining gifts complete the "baskets of local goodies" I've been planning to make. But next year I need to focus on more homemade gifts and also to set a budget.

Really, #2 and #3 are the biggest problems. I just have to restrain myself. I've got no choice if I don't want to find myself having to pay bills out of our savings.

It really gets worse.

The spoiled brat continues her spending, because this week she's taking another vacation to another ritzy destination. My MIL goes to the Caribbean and begged us to go with her. She offered to pay for food and for the hotel. We thought, 'what a deal!' Yeah, right. Airfare alone was $750/pp.

What's really going on here is that my FIL died a number of years ago and my inlaws used to go there every year. So there will be lots of things that will be done just for the endorphins. She already has plans to take me jewelry shopping (real jewelry shopping..."it's half what it is in the states!" she exclaimed). If I say I'd rather not spend money she will then offer to buy me something or will bring me back something I can't stand. And that is very dangerous. She tried to buy her say in our wedding, and I HATE it when she pays for things, because I feel like she's using money to gain some kind of invisible control over me. I feel like I'm in her debt. I feel that way about the whole vacation.

My husband is talking about snorkeling and renting boats and eating out...I just paid the pet parents are coming over when I get back and they'll want to eat out a lot...and I'm overwhelmed.

My husband doesn't have a spending problem, I do. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle any of this. I used to never eat out and that was how I afforded all of the stupid things I would buy. But now I don't want to cut into his fun because he prefers to eat out and enjoy vacations and I can't control my spending on the little stuff.

Like the eating disorder, angsting over it makes it worse. Perhaps it's best to just talk with the guy I married and set a reasonable limit on how much to spend at the jewelry store, and to be okay with it. I have $250 in contract work coming to me this month. Perhaps that's a reasonable amount to spend.

And on top of it all, I know so many people who make so much less than I do, and yet I'm so careless with it.


  1. At least you are aware of your spending and attempting to change it- I know people who sigh about having no money, but appear not to have made any attempt to curb spending.
    I think it will take time to form new habits,,as with everything in life! Could you try breaking it down in to small habits...sticking to an eating out budget (but not worrying too much about the rest)...then next month something else. Even if it is always taking a water bottle and not buying water whilst out and about...always taking lunch..sticking to an entertainment budget the next month... Might be a good idea to focus on the thing that bugs you the most. But make your habits attainable!

    It might be worth a try if you are feeling overwhelmed :)

    1. That sounds like a good idea. The "entertainment" is the real problem, but probably the hardest to fix because it gives me the most endorphins. I've already figured out how to get the clothes and personal care spending down, and that seems like the next best thing to focus on. I'll give it a try. Thank you for your suggestion and encouragement!

    2. Also meant to say...try and enjoy the holiday, even though it's essentially been forced on you! We have a weekend away with the bfs parents coming up...which will probably be fun, but I'm getting a bit control freaky about for some reason. (Possibly because I actually quite like staying at home and regard staying somewhere else as a bit of a faff- especially as I have to ask my parents to look after the menagerie of animals!)

      Anyway- good luck! I hope next month you feel like you've done better with your goals :)

  2. Hugs to you!! You've got the first part down--understanding the problem.

    Maybe next year, you can just send your hubby with his mom. Then you get to save the money, avoid the money/stuff guilt trip from MIL, and have some time to yourself.

    I think setting a budget for things like eating out is a great idea! The few times we go on vacation, I try to set a budget since The Hubs LOVES to eat/drink out while I would rather head to a store and grab simple things to eat lol. It also helps if you take a set amount of cash and agree to not spend more than you took. It makes you much more aware of your spending when it's physical.

    Finally, would your old ED therapist be willing to Skype your sessions and still get it covered under insurance, if you filled out the insurance forms? Otherwise, some therapists will offer mini-"get to know you" sessions for a reduced fee rather than having to pay their hourly rate for a test run. Good luck! I know just how hard it is to find the right therapist!

    1. Wow, why didn't I think to just send him in the first place?! I should have you around all the time to think of these smart things that never occur to me! :o)
      A budget for eating out next month sounds like a very good idea. He's not a fan of cash, but I can keep an eye on the credit card statement. I'm going to switch to my debit card to try to make it more real.

      Unfortunately my ED therapist doesn't like the idea of skype. I'm trying to find large practices of therapists so that if one doesn't work I can just try another one in the practice and can skip the "initial consult" fee. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for your encouragement! How's your moving prep going?

    2. Has your therapist suggested any other therapists that they think you might get on with? I don't know if there are differences in style/techniques, or if it really comes down to personality and who you get on with...

    3. she suggested a few. I've crashed and burned with the two that were close enough for me to get to. :o( One I just don't seem to get along with. The other questioned whether or not I have an eating disorder and then suggested that I should just exercise more!

    4. Okaaaaay...the second does not sound so useful! Good luck finding a decent one...

  3. Oh honey, I'm so sorry that you're struggling.

    You know, I always used to think that my problem was that I couldn't "control myself" well enough - this applied to my eating disorder, to work, school, money and pretty much everything else in my life. It took me a looooong time to realize that the real problem had more do do with the emotions inside that I was trying to control - everything else flowed from there.

    I still struggle with it - as evidenced by last night's encounter with the Halloween candy. But at least now I know that these things are really a symptom of something going on inside... it means that I'm running away from some out of control emotion that I don't want to face. As hard as it is, when I can make myself sit down and actually feel the crazy panicked feelings that I don't want to feel - the rest tends to fall away rather quickly.

    Hang in there!

    1. Cat, I'm really impressed with how you've learned to handle the emotions. I know it's going to be a long time for me. But as you said "learning to sit down and actually feel the crazy panicked feelings" is something I'll have to practice. Thank you so much for your support. It's wonderful to know that there are people who really, really understand this.

  4. The thing I've realized is that money, food and shopping continue to be a problem as long as I feel any type of deprivation (and they don't have to be related at all ... If I feel deprived of "me" time, that could equate to binge eating or binge shopping, neither of which will actually fill the void). I am doing three things right now ... 1) budgeting with my husband (we're using YNAB which is a digital "envelope" system) and LOVE it); 2) gratitude journaling more often and 3) decluttering more often. All three help me to feel the ABUNDANCE in my life when I do them regularly, so that's my new priority. Good luck -- don't beat yourself up over things in the past you can't change ... there's a lesson or a gift, (depending on how you look at it) in there for you.

    1. I really like the idea of abundance journaling. My therapist has suggested it but I haven't tried it yet. Sounds like a plan. And thanks for telling me about the YNAB program. I looked it up today and there's lots of good advice. I'm working on a budget. We'll see how it goes. Thank you for commenting!

  5. Wow! You know, don't beat yourself up. I added up my expenses earlier this year and found that I was spending about $400 on non-essential items. I felt horrible about it, because it meant I was spending spending spending and not saving ANYTHING.

    I spend about $100 per month just on alcohol alone! We're all fixing our budgets and spending, you are not alone. :)

    1. We all have our weak spot. No choice but to embrace it I suppose! Shoe budget, here I come?


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