I don’t think it’s any surprise that I don’t have very much money. Each month I put money toward my goals and my bills, and that doesn’t leave me room for what people refer to as “disposable” income.
All my income is posable.
For years, this has felt limiting, especially when I lived on the east coast and all of my friends had more money and were willing to spend more, almost all the time. I had a hard time keeping up, and I had an especially hard time with envy. Wishing I had more. The friends I had in DC are some of my best friends, even though I moved away from them.
But the scene was different. “I haven’t seen you in such a long time! Let’s go to lunch/happy hour/dinner/brunch/Georgetown for shopping!” and I had a hard time saying no. Of course I want to see you. Of course I’ll go spend money I don’t really have to spend time with you.
But when I got a handle on things and started focusing on repaying debt, saying no got easier. I had goals. I got out of credit card debt, once and for all. Now I’m pouring all of my extra money into my student loans. After that, everything extra will go toward my car payment.
Then, I’ll be debt free. Which will absolutely be exciting.
But I think that by deferring all extra income to paying off debts is keeping me poor, and that’s a good thing. I pass by things all the time saying no, I can’t afford that, or no, I can’t possibly justify that, not now, maybe after my loan is paid off.
That gives me pause. What if I’m only doing a good job because I really can’t afford a new sweater/coat/purse/pair of shoes?
I think I am protected by my limited means. In fact, I think the only way to avoid lifestyle creep in the future is to “hide” my spending money. To put it somewhere I can’t see it.
I’m going to have to automate my savings. Automate my investing. Keep myself feeling like I have only $500 or so, each month, after bills, to spend on necessities. Otherwise, I would be able to justify this, that, or the other thing, and then poof!
How do you save? Do you keep yourself poor by automating your savings?