Weaving My Financial Security Blanket - The Preface
Where did I come from?
I've never been good at saving money.
I had a pretty modest, though certainly comfortable, upbringing. My parents were able to raise both my younger brother and me on a single income by knowing how to economize. From the outset, they attempted to pass their financial know-how on to me. Once I began making my own money (babysitting, age 13), a strict plan for saving 75% of my earnings was imposed upon me. I played along until college, when I took full control of my own finances. That's when I gleefully scrapped every bit of money management advice my folks had ever tried to impart upon me and all heck broke loose, so to speak.
I drank and partied some of my money away. I wore some of my savings (while a lot more hung unworn in my closet). I ate a decent chunk of my savings, and played the bigshot, often covering tabs for my friends who claimed to be broke. Of course, my parents protested loudly over my financial indiscretions. In my rebellious mind, this was the ideal reason to squander the rest of my savings on a down payment for a car that I didn't really need.
Once the savings were gone, I began using my credit cards, on which I had always paid the full balance, to support my shopping habit and then to finance a move 1500 miles from home to sunny Central Florida.
Florida was like a wonderland for me, a small town girl who had rarely ventured outside the shelter of the college town I had known since my memory began. There were malls everywhere in Florida, great restaurants, move theaters with 16 screens, amusement parks... the list of money-spending opportunities was seemingly endless! Unfortunately, my income as a receptionist at an engineering firm didn't even cover my rent, car payment and insurance, much less all of the other goodies that I had never known that I needed until I saw them. Before I knew it, creditors were calling, my credit rating was in the crapper, and I felt as though my world was crashing down around me.
In the midst of all of this, I met a great guy. We quickly moved in together, then fought frequently over money even though we kept our finances separate. He was a saver - the anti-me. He bailed my butt out of numerous financial pinches, and I generally repaid him by finding/creating a new pinch.
Fast forward ten years. We are now married and living near my family in Upstate New York. We don't have children yet, though we do have a couple of adorable dogs that we refer to as "the kids." We still keep separate finances, though my situation is vastly improved. We rarely fight over finances these days. Aside from a few thousand dollars in student loans, I have no debt, and I have a pretty good job. My husband also does reasonably well. The downside? I'm still a spender. I am still living paycheck to paycheck and have little to show for my expenditures aside from a car that is paid for and a pretty nice shoe collection.
I don't want to live this way anymore. In fact, I WILL NOT live this way anymore.
Want to know how I'm going to turn it all around? Stay tuned!