How do you make sure you spend money on yourself?

Something happened over the weekend. I still can’t quite believe it happened. Everything was in slow motion. It almost felt like I was in a movie.

Hubs and I went to the local county fair. We do it every year. We went with friends, rode some rides and had a good time. Right before it was time to leave, Hubs picked one last ride. Him and the boys went on it. The ride makes me sick so I was thankful to stay on solid ground and get some quality chat time with my BFF.

We saw them get on the ride, saw that the ride was crazy and went back to the chit chat. Then BOOM. Something flew off the ride and landed 15 feet in front of us. The non-riders started gathering and murmuring amongst themselves. What was that? Where did it land? I saw where it went so I pointed the group in the right direction but went back to talking. I hadn’t seen this friend in too long. I didn’t need to see someone’s shoe or whatever it was.

It’s a phone!

I started to pay attention. Someone lost their phone? That’s a bad day. Most of us have expensive computers in our pockets. Someone screwed up by not securing it.

The gathered group figured out where it was and the families on the ground started taking memorial passes at the shattered pieces, commenting. That could be John’s phone or That sucks. 

I was curious. I had to. I walked up to see the damage. I peered over the fence and found it. DamnitThat looks like Hubs’ phone. I tried to keep calm. He has a super common Samsung phone, so let’s not jump to conclusions.

He gets off the ride and he’s calm. That’s a good sign, I thought. But, the people on the ride didn’t know something flew off. All the families on the ground told their loved ones and there were more memorial passes. Glad that’s not my phone  and more That sucks!

Hubs checked his pockets and I’m sure you can see where this is going. It was his phone. His Samsung Galaxy S5 phone was in pieces on the concrete.

My wallet hurts.

My mind started running over what was going to happen next. He needs a phone. Maybe not a fancy phone, but a some sort of smart phone. Talk and Text, yup. Web, probably! He uses email on his phone all the time. My brain kept thinking This is going to be at least $300. 

And then things got really passive aggressive. Let’s walk through it.

I started thinking that he needs to pay for this. He’s the one that screwed up. He should buy the new phone. But what good does that do? All our money is joint. There is no “he” pays for it. We pay.

Then I thought, he’s been complaining about his phone for the last few months, asking to get a new one. This one still worked so we held off, but now he gets to get a new phone. He’s getting what he wants because he screwed up. That doesn’t seem fair.

What about what I want? I’ve conditioned myself to be very careful with my money. The night before the incident I was looking at cross stitch patterns. I’m making a Harry Potter gift for my sister and for a couple extra dollars, I can get the pattern for all the Hogwarts Houses. What I want is $13, but I saw that the shop has sales so I followed it on instagram and Facebook, hoping to find a coupon. He gets a new phone because he screwed up and I wait to spend $13. I only have until the end of September to make it, so waiting could be problematic! Damnit, I’m going to buy that cross stitch and all the floss I need to make it. Maybe even one of those fancy floss organizers!

But why should I stop at that? He gets his greatest pain point relieved because he screwed up, why can’t I spend the same amount he gets to spend. Heck, why can’t I buy all the things? He’s always been the spendy piece of this relationship. When is it my time to blow money on stuff?

Maybe it is time for me to blow money on stuff. Clearly, me waiting for a 25% coupon off $13 is a waste of my time. I spend all this time and effort keeping our bills low, challenging every one, and he goes on a ride, screws up and gets a new phone. What’s the point of all my efforts? I pinch to pay for him to be irresponsible?

But I don’t want to be irresponsible. I don’t want to blow money just to blow money. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am financially. I’ve trained myself to go without, to control my lifestyle. All of my passive aggressive thoughts (and the aggressive ones too) would only turn the ship another direction with lifestyle inflation. Do I need to buy the cross stitch? Yes. Do I need to find ways to spend $300 because he gets to spend that much? no.

Do I have my spending toned down too much? Maybe. But I’m not quite sure how to fix it. I don’t want to be impulsive. When I see something I want, I put it on the waitlist. Then I wait. Sometimes I buy it, but most often, I can go without. I’ve tried giving myself a spending budget. Heck, I even have a special account I’m supposed to spend. But the money keeps building up. Eventually, I transfer it to another account and start over. The current balance in my Kate Must Spend account is $20.01. I’ve had accounts like these for probably 10 years and I can’t remember a time when I ever took money from it.

*shrugs* I don’t know what to do.

A broken phone caused a lot of things to run through my head. Most of them were filled with passive aggression and lifestyle inflationary thoughts. None of it was fun.

How do you make sure you spend money on yourself? Do you have any recommendations for affordable Android phones? Help.

July 2016 Net Worth

JULY

I read recently that a way to slow down time is to do new things. It forces your brain to place new markers so you can remember the first time or few times you experience something.

I need to do this.

I’ve been home from my trip for a month. What? How did that happen.

I’m like an adult. Life is flying by.

I go to work, come home, go for a walk with Hubs. For dinner, I eat rice, broccoli and chicken. On the weekends in July, I do the same hustle I’ve done every year since 1999 [not an exaggeration.. gosh I sound old].

I need a new hobby.

So, what’s new….?

I tried the Moment App. I wanted to get a better handle on how I was using my phone. I also wanted to use my phone less. The App was great for like 2 days and then I realized that it just drains my battery like crazy. I guess that’s one way to limit my phone use!

I’ve also been experimenting with using a Bullet Journal. It isn’t a true bullet journal, but I feel super cool when I call it that. Really, its just a notebook that I keep my to dos in. I’ve been incredibly productive since I started using it. As my baby sister likes to yell way too loud during MarioKart Wii, I’m the Bullet!!!!

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Be the bullet!

I got a nice surprise this month. I {finally} cancelled my gym membership and I avoided most of the run around. This was planned. The surprise was that my apartment building built a huge gym. It has all new equipment, including free weights and a path for me to do all the lunges. LET THERE BE LUNGES! That’s exciting. .. my rent is going to go up, isn’t it?

In other equally exciting news, it looks like I’m going to be able to keep my ear piercing. It’s been bugging me for a while, quite frankly its still bugging me, but I know how to take care of it and the local piercer gave me the okay.

Ok, money time.

[Flashback!]

July 2015:  I had a net worth of $43,892. I got to go to New York City for the first time! So many tall buildings! Such a big park!

July 2014: I owed $29,167 on my student loans.  I decided to stop saving to buy my car and dumped all my extra money on my debt.

July 2013: I took the Bar Exam and survived!

July 2016: Markets Gone Wild!
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Assets!

Retirement: $43,697 (+3,799) Dang! I flew past $40k! This extra large swing is thanks to a 3-check month. Do you think I can get to $50k by the end of September? That would be the ultimate birthday gift. You know I’m all about birthdays.🙂 See herehere, and here.

Taxable: $9,181 (+2) I jumped the gun on the update last month. I was incredibly impatient waiting for paper statement (yea yea, sign up for online access), so I posted when I had enough data to make an educated guess. My guess was pretty gosh darn accurate! I was only off by $2!

Auto Value: $11,769 (-150)  The depreciating asset keeps depreciating. I ran the numbers in Kelly Blue Book and apparently its back up to being worth $12,428, but I’m not here to play games. I’m already playing games by listing my car as part of my net worth. I also probably wouldn’t be able to get top dollar for my car anyway. If I sell it, it will be because I have to. 

House Fund: $32,220 (+2,134) My first big saving month since APRIL! July was still expensive getting the trip paid for, but it was also a 3 check month! 3 paychecks FTW!

HSA: $7,296 (+431) How long do you wait after you get a bill to pay it? I am a deadbeat and try to stretch it out as long as possible. Most of that is because I log into my HSA to cancel my auto-transfers, then I wait until payday. Effectively, I hate seeing this account go down, so I delay paying my bills as long as I can. #deadbeat.

Car Fund: $728 (+76) I could buy tires! This fund is morphing into the down payment for Hubs’ car. Unless we have a major emergency and I need to pay for car expenses, I totally expect to cash flow any expenses… like my scheduled maintenance on my car. Ain’t no reason to tap into this fund for that!

Liabilities!

Car Loan: $6,086 ($377)  The progress is slow and steady here. Nothing to report. This is simply a minimum payment on a cheap loan.

{Overall}

Net worth: $98,805. Up $6,667 from last month. 

6667? That sounds like a rounding error! But it’s not! A 3 check month on top of excellent market gains makes July my second largest increase of the year! Let the good times continue! I should cross through a certain milestone next month!

How was your July?  Are you hanging loose, riding these market waves? Also, if you’re pierced and like money, there’s a whole bunch of us. Raise your hand and we can be friends.

Working Dollars & The Helping Fund

I don’t budget, but I really love the rules behind the You Need  A Budget program, also known as YNAB. One of the four rules of the YNAB is to give every dollar a job. I’ve taken the rule to heart, but it may be hurting me.

The first plan for my dollars was to put everything on my student loans. Every dollar’s job was to pay off my student loans, unless given specific permission to work elsewhere. Some dollars worked to pay rent, some kept the lights on. With one priority and specific diversions, my dollars accomplished a lot.

After paying off my loans, I’ve been redeploying dollars. Some were asked to make friends in our retirement accounts. Most of my redeployed dollars went to the house fund.

My dollars are working here. Don’t disturb them.

This is where my problem comes in.  My dollars are working for my own good. What about any other good? Where does giving fit in?

For the past several years, I’ve addressed my need to give back by volunteering my time. I was a broke student. Money was tight but I had time. I gave my time a lot.

Now that I’m working, my time to give is greatly diminished. I don’t have much time. It’s especially difficult to give scheduled blocks of time.

Even worse is that my dollars are deployed. My dollars have jobs. They are working hard. I don’t feel like I have money to give. I haven’t reached my own financial goals. I’m supposed to put my own mask on before helping others, right? Reassigning dollars away from my financial goals is incredibly frustrating as I strive to catch up where I feel behind.

For the last few years, this hasn’t been much of a problem. We haven’t been drawn to give. We aren’t religious. We don’t tithe. We don’t have any causes we are particularly passionate about, so we don’t give there either. I justify my non-action by telling myself that its better for me to manage the money and give it all when I die. But what if that’s too late?

Quite frankly, I didn’t care that I wasn’t giving until recently. See, my sister is having financial problems. Some of the problems are short term in nature but others are deep seeded money management issues. I’m supporting her as best I can, both emotionally and with all my personal finance knowledge.

But what about the money?

I don’t want to become the family bank. It happened to my uncle and it has been really hard on him. I’ve had my own taste of it and boy is it bitter. 0/10. Would not recommend. I don’t want to throw money at a problem if money isn’t the answer. But what if money is the answer?

I wouldn’t mind being more comfortable with giving. I want to help. But how?

To start my giving journey, I’m starting small. I’m starting a Helping Fund.

To fund the Helping Fund, I’m using one of my neurotic money management tendencies. I like my emergency fund to sit at a clean, round number. So I’m skimming the interest off my emergency fund and depositing it into the Helping Fund. When I find a cause or someone I want to help, whether it be a happy or sad occasion, I’ll have a designated pool of money to pull from. I can add to it whatever I want, but I hope that having a Helping Fund will be a nice reminder that I should give.

It is going to take a while to accumulate any money. That gives me plenty of time to figure out where I should help.

This won’t amount to much, but it’s something. That’s more than I’m giving today.

Do you give? How? When?