Two weekends ago, I put on my big girl panties and attended a Financial Planning for Women class.
While I think I’ve mastered the basics of budgeting, the mere thought of IRAs (ahem, individual retirement accounts), Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans, mutual funds and worst of all – investing – gives me a full-on financial panic attack. I immediately want to hop in my car, drive to Anthropologie and spend every last penny I have on a gluttonous yet fabulously gorgeous new wardrobe to avoid having any money to actually invest.
But I won’t.
For starters, Daddy Everythingtarian would kill me. If this were a game of Clue, I predict my Everythingtarian life would end with Daddy E in the kitchen with the golf club.
More importantly however, if I’ve learned anything in the last couple rollercoaster years of my 20-something existence, it’s that life is not and should not be all or nothing.
There is no need to forego fun activities to save every last dollar just like there’s no need to frivolously spend your entire checking account on an Anthropologie wardrobe. In foodie terms, it’s like there is no need to swear off all forms of sugar, natural or not, just as there’s no logical or healthy reason to shove your face with 10 Almond Joy candy bars (which you may or may not find me doing this Halloween Sunday).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: balance, people.
In the last couple years, I’ve found a healthy balance with food + exercise that works for me. Now, I need to woman up and find a healthy financial balance that also works for me and my life.
My goal? I want to successfully navigate the often frustrating world of managing income, savings, spending and investing while still managing to have some fun with my dolla dolla bills.
The first step? Ingraining into my brain the words of Julia, my finance class professor, who said, “Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge.”
The second step? Track my money, transaction by transaction, for a whole month to see where I am actually spending my hard-earned dough.
So I did.
This past Sunday night, I sat down with a hot cup of apple cider tea and began by calculating my food expenses, starting with what I spend on eating out. One monthly U.S. Bank statement, my iPhone calculator and some quick math later, I saw the total and about threw up all $8.95 worth of my massive veggie calzone.
Let’s just say it was more than $200.
Yes, TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.
It hurts everytime I have to say it.
Like really, ouch. But I endured the pain of this embarrassing reality and decided to use this to challenge myself to be better.
My third goal? I, Holly the Healthy Everythingtarian, will not eat out for the next 30 days.
There are several exceptions I’ve made to this goal, including the upcoming Foodbuzz Blogger Festival, birthday celebrations and special events. I did this, because I refuse to drive myself crazy adhering to this challenge. Counterintuitive? Perhaps. Conducive to my final goal? Absofrickinlutely.
Because if I can complete this goal, then maybe, just maybe, I can splurge for that Anthropologie dress I’ve been eyeing up as the perfect cocktail number to wear at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival…
Too bad the festival starts in eight days, and I’ve still got 30 more to go…
The winners of the 3 Sisters Cereal giveaway are comments #15 and #40…
Alex @ I Eat Asphalt: “The honey oaties are lookin good to me. And chocolate oatmeal!? Might have to stalk that down.”
Alli: “I would love to try the Graham Crackerz cereal, never heard of that flavor cereal before…”
Send me your addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get those free cereal coupons out to you along with some extra treats!