Since my entry on Emotions and Finance was included in the Festival of Frugality, I’ve noticed a number of people linking to it, and I thought I should provide an update.
It’s been just over a week, but I’m really working to separate my emotions from my money. I turned down a request from a friend to loan him $20 because I really didn’t have $20 to loan, and because I knew he wouldn’t pay me back. Now, the situation may have been different if it were some sort of emergency, but he simply wanted me to spot him money for lunch. Instead, I offered him a granola bar. Not quite the same, but I protected my finances, he wasn’t upset at all, and I managed to not feel bad about saying no.
As for the semi-uninvited house guest, I let her presence bother me nearly all week. It was really starting to wear on me. I was stressed at work and stressed at home. My co-workers pointed out that by staying with me for two weeks, she should owe me a check for 25% of my rent, 25% of my cable bill, and at least something for groceries. Sure, in terms of rent and cable, she wasn’t costing me more, as the bill would have been the same regardless of her presence, but I pay a “premium” to live alone. And they were right. However, while I might have had the “right” to ask her for that money, it felt wrong. I had agreed to let her stay for free, and that wasn’t going to change. But we did need to talk about how long she was staying. So we did, and she will be departing soon. She has also started pitching in for groceries.
What surprised me the most? As soon as I finished talking to her about when she was leaving, it felt like a weight was lifted off of my chest. The stress that had been present for days was suddenly gone. I stood up for myself, stood up for my finances, and everything worked out. And best of all, it felt good.
Standing up for myself can be hard. It just seems easier to loan someone the $20 or let them stay for free for weeks on end, even though it might be stressful or something I can’t afford. But while “no” might be more difficult to say, it’s worth it.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.