Goose Egg

We have $3 in our checking account until I get paid on Wednesday. It’s not a big deal. Our bills are paid and current, we have plenty of food in the house, and I have three-quarters of a tank of gas, and I have a plan to get WH enough gas to get him back out into the woods on Tuesday. I could, if I needed to, have my entire paycheck advanced. So really, we’re talking about four or five days with little need to buy anything. We did have to cancel a planned trip to another part of the area for fall color, and that saddens me, but we have plenty of local fall color. WH found a hike from the backyard that has some incredible views, so he’s going to show me that this weekend, and we have friends coming over for dinner by the fire tomorrow night. I absolutely love a good weekend at home.

So why does it feel like such a big deal not to have some extra cash floating around? What is it about money that makes me people so crazy? There’s a sense of security that comes with having more money than necessary to meet our immediate needs, and an unsettled, insecure feeling that comes from not having more money than is necessary that I don’t quite understand.

I have a cute little house. My family is taken care of- fed, warm, healthy, happy. I have dear, dear friends whom I love, and who love me. We live in Paradise. Both of our jobs are good jobs, full of promise and security, and though WH is working for peanuts right now, his salary has nowhere to go but up, and will be going up in the next few months. My review is coming up, and I try never to take anything for granted, but I can probably count on a nice little cost of living raise at least, that would prevent the current situation from recurring, most likely. I’m actually very blessed, and wouldn’t trade any of what I have for an extra $100 to sit in my checking account and look pretty. (Or possibly be used for Cracker Barrel breakfast and a Sunday drive..)

When I was little, my parents were riding a financial roller coaster. One month I was taken on a shopping spree, and the next month, I would ask for a box of cereal in the grocery store, and my Dad would ask me if I wanted to keep our house. Whenever he bought us anything, even eyeglasses and medical attention, he would say “I hope you like them/feel better/got what you wanted, because I just spend $x on it”. To my disappointment, my wedding was no exception. To my surprise and amazement, the closing money for the house was, until Mom did it for him.

They did good things, too. Dad always showed me his paycheck stubs, and Mom’s too. I got to look at their mortgage, utility bills, and credit card statements, for as long as I can remember. He taught me about credit- how to use it, how to have good credit, what not to use credit for. I got allowance and lunch money, and I had a change jar to save up for vacation spending money.

When we have money, sometimes I can’t find anything I want to spend it on. There just doesn’t seem to be anything around that I feel is worth the price. I just don’t feel like shopping or spending money. Even when I need to, because my pants are holey or my shoes are worn. Even when we’re doing really well and it’s money someone sent me for my birthday. So why do I get upset about not being able to buy anything when I don’t really need anything? The things I want, too, besides our canceled Sunday drive, are completely out of our realm right now anyway- we would need an extra $1000 sitting in our account to purchase the digital SLRs I’ve been drooling over (and don’t really need, I guess), so why does it matter? Huh? Why?

I thought about getting a part time job for a night or two while WH is gone. Yeah. Then I remembered the 45-50 hours a week I work at my full time job, my half load at school, the housework I do, and my half-ass side business that I say I don’t have time to expand. What is wrong with me? Why am I checking out the want ads when I don’t need anything, and this is a four day situation?


5 Responses

  1. This happens to lots of people. Very common existence. I applaud your resourcefulness and sense of humor about it. Way to go. And now for my big announcement….

    A special day is coming up on my blog and in the blogosphere. Bloggers are set to blog for peace November 7, 2007.

    I invite you to join me – and a cast of incredible bloggers – as we mark our world with a promise of peace. Bloggers from around the world including 30 countries (and counting)and nearly every state in the United States will participate in BlogBlast for Peace.I hope you will participate in this growing phenomenon.
    Your blog. One post. One day.
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    Thank you,
    Mimi Lenox

  2. This happens to me all the time. If I have some extra spending money, I have no desire for anything specific. But, if I’m totally broke, suddenly I can think of a whole list of things that I MUST HAVE. What’s up with that? Human nature I guess.

  3. Oh man, I am so screwed up about money. I couldn’t explain any of my weird money habits.
    I don’t save well and I feel guilty buying essentials. My problem is that I’ll “deny” myself for a while and then go NUTS.
    Yeah, I’m no help here. I don’t have ANY answers for you.

  4. Well, ladies, it’s good to know I’m not alone. My paycheck clears Wednesday at midnight, and if I had any money to spend, it would all be gone now, so tempting is the siren song of buying things when you don’t have the money to do so.

    WH and I spent the weekend doing free things at home *cough* *cough*, instead, so everything worked out…

  5. Okay, hopefully this is in addition to a healthy savings account, Missy! If that’s the case, it’s okay, you’re just being disciplined. And even discipline is good in moderation. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What your parents taught you about money is intriguing – no wonder you feel so much guilt! Of course, mine were bad in a different way – allowance was a hit or miss thing which “they” say is bad to do with kids, teaches them feast or famine instead of consistency and savings. And it’s true. It took me years to start saving any significant amount. Of course, it also took me years to start making a significant amount, so I’m sure that’s key too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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