Finances are a big struggle. Not in getting money, mind you – I’m lucky enough to have a WFH gig that provides me a fine amount of income (at least enough to pay my bills, a $600 a semester Spanish class every four months, and some other odds and ends). It’s in the actual spending of the said monies that I have a struggle. I’ve not been responsible with how I’ve used my money for a long time, and now I’m realizing how much that has hindered me. Even though I might have had my reasons for binging on take-out pizza and subscribing to however many different internet services, none of that makes up for the fact that I don’t have a savings account.
I’m a chronic over-tipper. It for sure comes from having worked in tip-dependent occupations as well as a general sense of wanting to make sure I’m doing my part. I know not enough people tip in general so I feel like I have to be one of the people that makes up the difference. Which is a weird and not too boundaried kind of behavior, but I feel confident that my giving a delivery guy a fiver on top of my order is for a good cause.
I suppose another problem is a want of being useful and having useful things, so when I am needlessly spending it’s usually on junk that I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of or need in a pinch. I’ve got a decent set of good old fashioned tools I’ve collected through the years, though a fair amount of them are hand me downs. My wardrobe, while not fashionista in the least, is suitable for any weather or situation I might run into – except for me not having a black suit, which is a paramount piece of formal wear to have as an adult as far as I can tell. My tech is good – a nice phone and laptop that are able to run the games and writing programs, as well as being able to edit video and audio media if need be. I’ve got good shit to say the least, while still not being over inundated with material possessions in a small apartment.
I guess, upon reflection, that it’s really a privilege to be able to wantonly spend money on the immediate things that I need/want as opposed to being responsible and amassing a savings. I have investments that I got from work and from my family, which while not amounting to r/wsb kind of earnings are certainly nest eggs that most people don’t have, much less as gifts. This is all to say that yeah, I’m bad with money, and while I’m not seeing any immediate problems from my poor habits I’m worried that they’re going to catch up with me. Plenty of stories out there where it does.
I feel inadequately informed on how to do money. On how to work my finances. And this is after taking at least three financial literacy classes throughout my K-12 and higher education careers. Granted: I was stoned in my college courses and didn’t give a flying fuck about high school so those lessons were ultimately lost on me, I think. Not for lack of effort on my teacher’s part (although in plenty of cases, yeah actually), but for lack of understanding how pivotal of a skill money management is for having a steady financial life – a steady life in general, to be honest.
I think what really cements the bad feelings about it for me is the fact that the rest of my family is exceptional with money. None of us are really rolling in it, but my parents managed their finances their whole life well and are living in a beautiful renovated condo while my sibling owns her own building that she also rents one of the floors out on. And here I am living in an expensive city with a somewhat-above minimum wage job as a soon-to-be thirty-four year-old, with $2,500 in credit debt where the only real prospect I have of striking gold is 1.) miraculously become a well paid, prolific writer out of nowhere or 2.) retrain. I have no hope that my current career-path in the Internet-Company-That-Must-Not-Be-Named will lead to anything that fulfills or empowers me, so I’m realizing that I have to make a call. Maybe a few of them. That call being what I want to expend my energy in for return on that investment. What is really worth my time?
I don’t think my day job is. Nothing against the company – it’s just that I have only so much time, and expending the majority of it on a thankless survival job, even during a pandemic, is a waste. I’m not saying I’m going to quit, but it’s not going to be where my heart lies. Which is rough, because it’s that place that’s giving me butter and bread to eat while my art, really my passion, is only really able to be accomplished if I have that safety net. But the only people who are going to value my time are me and the people I’ve made a contract with, and I’m not liking the terms of either deal currently so I’m looking to make a change for something that will give me more autonomy and develop my more useful and benevolent skills as opposed to flexing my data-entry muscles.
I was told a lot that if you have a fallback from the arts that you will most assuredly fall back on it. I’ve gotten this far without putting myself in a position where that was even possible, and while I’ve certainly survived I haven’t exactly thrived. But I suppose that depends on how we are defining the term. I may not have amassed fortunes, but I have gotten to know myself and develop my character in a way that I think a lot of my cohorts at the company haven’t. That makes me think that maybe I haven’t been doing so much wrong.
Be back soon,