Sunday, August 15, 2010

Money money money. It's a rich man's world.

Oh, one can dream, can't one?

Oh the money issue. It comes up in every relationship at some point, and it's bound to make or break a relationship.

Let me start by saying that I have no intention of being rich. To me, money doesn't equal happiness. I've never had a lot of money, I was never "privleged", and I know I'll never have a lot of money (my English degree tells me so). I find ways to be happy with little things and appreciate everything I have, no matter how small. And I sort of like that I am frugal in many ways. It's a sense of pride, actually.

I've always had the mentality that I'll "be ok" no matter what. As in, I'll never live under a bridge in a box and demand money for cleaning your windshield with a newspaper. Poverty doesn't scare me. I don't burden myself with the pressures of money. I rarely get stressed over it, even when I probably should stress over it. But this lax way of thinking has caused me problems before, for sure. I will pay my car payment, setting it up to take money out of my account on a certain day, and I just don't put the money in my account. Why? I don't know. Laziness? Apathy (there's that word again)? Pure, blinding optimism? Maybe a little of all 3. So after 27 years of not worrying about money and spending my money however the wind takes me, I've found that I really actually DON'T like paying overdraft fees. I don't like seeing my online banking's giant red font with a negative sign in front of money values that I wish had a positive sign.

 So I've made it a point to do better, keeping track of my income and what I spend. I write down EVERY dollar I spend and EVERY dollar I make. If I spend $2 on a scratch-off lottery ticket, I record Lottery Ticket, -$2. If I win a dollar from that same ticket, I write down Ticket, +$1. It's helpful so far. It's a pride thing for me to look back over and see that, oooh, I spent way too much on dining out this week. That hurts to look at. Better cut back.

So far, it's working.

Because I waitress (thanks, English degree!), I never know how much I will make. I just know I'll make money every day. Not exactly the security most people look for, but I enjoy my job immensely, and I'm grateful for every tip, good or bad, I get, b/c I have a job and many people don't. But still, it makes it hard to plan things. Will I be able to put money toward the cost of the food the week of the wedding? No idea. But I know we'll make it somehow and we'll "be ok" (there's THAT word again).

Jared, unlike me, has a stable full-time job. He makes about $500 more a month than I do, but he works nearly triple the hours I work. If you ask me, I say I'm pretty lucky to have that sort of job that doesn't take over my life like his does (who wants to work 15 hours on a Saturday? He doesn't, but he finds it necessary). He thinks in terms of the future. As in, months and years from now. Retirement and what not. I think in terms of tomorrow. It's still the future. That's how I justify it.

So we clash majorly with money so far. He's able to put money in savings AND have money left over for bills and to do fun things. I have money for bills and fun things. Savings, eh, not so much. He's on me to get a better job, to live up to my potential, to try to better myself. The way I see it, I am doing ok as it is. I may overdraft every once and a while, but I'm not broke. I have the things I want and get them when I want, when I can. He sees me as a college-educated waitress who is better than waiting tables. I don't want to live my life behind a desk or working for someone else. I like to be in control of my own income (and though I work for a restaurant I don't own, I still control the money I make by getting tips based on my service).

We're at a bit of a dilemma in terms of money. I know that money is the biggest cause of divorce (or actually, I don't actually know, but it's what I hear). So I kow I need to get my butt in gear and do better (and ultimately, I know Jared is right. He very much so is right. I can even admit it to him and tell him he's right, but I just don't do much to CHANGE the situation).

I should probably say the serenity prayer here.
 I accept that I can't change how detrimental money issues can really be to a marrige. I know I CAN change my financial situation by not living by the seat of my pants (is that the phrase?) and by realizing that Jared, God love him, has one of the biggest points he could ever probably make. But the courage? The wisdom? I need some of that. Because the real world scares me. Once I get comfortable with my surroundings, I have a difficult time changing. I don't want to put forth the effort of submitting resumes or looking for jobs in random places. I want to stay the same, always.

But I know my marriage won't last if I don't find that courage.

So I hope this will be a turning point for me. Help me, God, to find the courage to change my situation for the sake of my future with the most wonderful man I've ever known. 

Here's to saving money and actually having a future.

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