On Spending and Needing
When I lost my dad, I lost my sense of security in life. When he was around, I knew that no matter how badly I fucked up, he would be able to help me fix it. Whether it was just by answering the phone when I called to cry or by helping me strategize through the tougher things in life - I felt a huge sense of safety knowing he was in the life with me.
I've learned through therapy the past few years that as humans we're hard wired to worry so it's only natural that in this loss, I've found myself consumed by worry. More recently, my worries have turned to money. I picked up a handful of new bills this year and my mind keeps telling me that I'm not going to be able to keep up and that I'm going to continue losing things that mean so much to me (my business, my home, etc).
It's irrational. But just plausible enough to keep me racked with anxiety each day.
So, when the anxiety hits me the hardest, I've been working through a new way to manage it. I can't magically find financial security. But, I can take small steps that will eventually put me in a place where my worries can trail off into another area of my life. I've been pouring that energy into marketing my company because more business means more money which means I can breathe a bit easier. And, in my personal life, I'm going to challenge myself to a little spending freeze.
This past year I got into a bad habit of consoling myself on bad days by shopping and celebrating my wins the same way. I've fallen into a habit of spending when I'm bored or buying things I don't want or need just as something to do. I've spent money I shouldn't have spent then later spent time beating myself up over being irresponsible... then spent money because I was feeling shitty and wanted to treat myself. It's a weird cycle and I have expensive taste so here I am starting 2018 with a bank account that looks rough and this feeling of panic looking forward.
The past two weeks I've been traveling which always reminds me of how little I really need to get by. It also reminds me of how fucking expensive it is to eat all of your meals out. I spent $15 on a gin and tonic in New York and I still want to weep a little bit when I think about it. Traveling is hard on the ol' wallet.
Hence, my personal challenge to take a few weeks off from spending. The parameters are pretty simple; the only places my money can go in the next 4 weeks are the non-negotiable items in my life.
where can I spend?
- groceries (BUT need to keep it to no more than $50/week)
- gas (and any other necessary automobile expenses)
- my bills (insurance/power/mortgage/internet/tv/etc.)
The only other exception I'm going to make is for plans that have already been booked. I've got one brunch with an out of town friend later this month and an evening of My Favorite Murder live (in the same weekend!!) that I've already committed to and definitely won't be backing out of. I don't want this to feel like a punishment and I've never taken kindly to people telling me what I can/cannot do (including me...) so some leniency is necessary.
I'm traveling tomorrow so the official start date will have to be Tuesday, January 9th. In the meantime, I'll keep channeling these worries into action rather than letting them overtake me.