Y’all, I have an enormous problem. An enormous, life-threatening issue I like to call Mia Compulsively Buys Shit When She’s Emotional.
And, if you know me even just via my writing, you know I’m emotional pretty much constantly.
Everything upsets me. I’m a flesh sack that has been filled with the right amount of bones and musculature, but a very wrong amount of feelings. An excess has been poured into my flesh sack, making me ooze insecurities and delusions of grandeur on the reg. It’s out of control.
In addition to my hugely emotion-driven behavior (I’ve come really far, it used to be worse if you can imagine), I’m also largely financially illiterate.
The cherry on top of this frankly dysfunctional composed human is that I, the dysfunctional composed human, have a big stinking interest-accruing pile of Student Loans.
My Mint app likes to remind me that my net worth is actually negative once you factor in the soul-crushing sum I owe to the US Government for which I garnered an English degree.
An English Degree.
I’m very proud of my degree. I graduated with honors (a ceremony I missed because I had no idea I was even up for honors, but that was a year ago and doesn’t matter now. Also I went to the same ceremony this year because Jake received two awards. Shameless plug for my boyfriend). That degree was the right choice for me, and the time it took me to earn it was time well spent.
However, I did not in that time take a course on How to Avoid Mindlessly Spending Your Pauper’s Wages on Food, Clothes, and iTunes.
So. I started this new job at this darling shop on Ludlow (note: I’m trying to suss out what appropriate and what isn’t for the internet. Do I name people? Do I name locations? Is someone going to find me and ask for a hunk of my flesh sack? Will I be blacklisted if I say the wrong thing?).
In the process of starting this job, I got to know the other girls there. One of the other girls, Rachel I’ll call her (ooooooo, I feel like I’m writing a chic investigative piece now), and I decided to go on a Shopping Ban as described by Cait Flanders on her website/blog.
Because I like visuals, here’s a picture of my draft of my shopping ban.
It’s May 7th. We started on May 1st. Let me address a few things you might be reading. Yes, I’m smoking again. Yes, I hate this about myself. Two, “borrow before you buy” is a super common frugal tip and a good one. I sometimes feel shady about it because I sold all my shit and thus feel like I have very little to loan out to people should they need it. I feel like an incomplete cog in the cycle. I’m working on that. Three, I see I made a fatal error by allowing snacks and coffee, but not defining more mindful parameters. Or even just considering this list for longer than ten minutes when it was slow at work. Four, I’m looking at this list now and realizing I’m a fool. That’s all.
In the past week, I’ve learned a few things about myself. This might sound repetitious after the above paragraph. Whatever.
One: I excel with a bit more planning. I’m a fly-by-night person organically. It helps when you need to bullshit. I’m a top notch bullshitter. However, I know for a fact everything is elevated with a bit more leg work. I need to take an extra couple of days to set the intention before taking the plunge. I’m an expert at Going Before I’m Ready. The Going is helped with a little extra planning. I didn’t plan this shopping ban as well as, in hindsight, I ought to have. This has manifested in me slipping up, often, and forgetting why the hell I did it in the first place.
Two: I’m a snack junkie. Thus far, I haven’t broken on music, jewelry, clothes, things of that ilk. But every day since the Shopping Ban began, I’ve bought at least 10$ worth of snacks. If this continues, that’s $300 over a month. A MONTH. My cravings are honed in on beef jerky, chips (ANY POTATO PRODUCT, WHO AM I KIDDING), dried fruits, granola bars, and iced coffee. As often as possible. This relates to One in that when I plan, when I pack the amazing food from home (Shameless plug for my boyfriend pt. 2, did I mention he cooked professionally for like a decade? He so did.), I can excel because I’m not ravenously hungry from being out of the house all day “grinding”–as the kids say. This sentence is a mess. Roll with it.
Three: I’m hugely addicted to the transaction. I wasn’t even that hungry tonight, I had blueberries in my bag, and yet I walked to Coffee Emporium and bought a spinach pie (wtf, Mia) for $7.95 because I. LOVE. SPENDING. MONEY.
Four: As we’ve deduced, I love spending money, and I love spending money on snacks (because food isn’t as guilt-inducing as clothes), and I’m a poor planner. The final thing (I think) that all this has revealed to me is that I don’t think with much futurity. Being a hugely emotional person, if something is bothering me now, I don’t consider how things might be 20 minutes from now, a day from now, six months from now. Emotions pass. Looming debt, when ignored, does not. Feeling bad about myself is temporary. My rent is contractually not. I know I have things to pay, but I allow myself the sweet release brought about by the momentary salve of an iced coffee and new cosmetic product. You heard me. I love plastic waste and bullshit face creams. I love them. They are objects. They do not love me back. Look at me, I’m learning.
I’m telling you all this because my purse strings are tight right now. I’m struggling. And I’m telling you this because tomorrow is a new day. Reset to one. Get back on the damn metaphorical horse. Tighten your belt, Mia Renee, and zero in on your goals. The real goals. The good ones that end with published work, a voice over career, a nicer apartment (for two?), and enough money to fly home more. The good stuff. Which isn’t stuff at all.
What about you? What monetary thing fucks you up? Your bills keeping you up at night too? Lemme know.
I love you. I miss you. I hope to see you soon. Maybe I’ll have you over to split a pot of coffee instead of going to Starbucks.