Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Money Madness

For the first time in a long time, I have money in the bank. Not just little monies sitting there looking pitiful because they are too small to be withdrawn by ATM, but big solid monies that could replace a blown tire if I needed it to. This is a good and a bad thing.

The good part to it is that all of my planning, focus, and determination are working. I have all of my bills paid and I still have money in the bank. There's a certain feeling of security? comfort? unadulterated elation? Yes, UNADULTERATED ELATION that comes with knowing that there's money in the bank that is not allocated for some purpose.

The bad part is that I wonder if it should be allocated for some purpose. Should I move it directly to my savings? Should I let it sit there and earn no interest? Is it really allocated and I've simply forgotten a bill? Should I take this opportunity to buy the birthday presents I couldn't buy in past years, support the school fundraisers, buy name brand food (I can't tell you the last time I had Quaker Oats, Pop Tarts, or Cheerios)?

I recently paid $25 for an Entertainment book that I know I won't use just because it will help my sister get a full day out of school and in the local ice rink. I haven't bought one of these in years because I never use them. I wholeheartedly believe that they are a waste of my hard earned money. But I had the cash and she asked for my help. I paid another $9 as a sponsor for my youngest sister's walkathon.

I love the feeling that I was able to help them but I wonder if I'm hurting myself by putting their needs/wants before my own.

Recently, I returned $40 worth of unused products to the store. They were impulse purchases that I allowed myself to be talked into by none other than my mother. I know she meant no harm, but seriously, I quote, "So, you're just not going to treat yourself for the next two years? This $20 won't break you".

She’s right. It didn’t break me. But there wasn’t anything I couldn’t live without. And what’s worst is that I didn’t need them and after sitting in my house for a full week, I realized that I didn’t want them. If I had truly wanted them, they wouldn’t have been sitting there unopened in the store bags.

The plans I have for my life are HUGE and there’s a very good chance that I might be doing all of these things alone. My financial discipline has gotten much better over the last year and particularly in the last 90 days. I’m so proud of the strides I’m making. No, I don’t track every penny just yet but I do actually keep a valid bank register on paper (I tried keeping it in my head and bad things kept happening).

I know that I have stopped getting in my own way. If only I had the strength to move other people as well…


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