Seventy Dollar Selfies

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. Tell you what? That I have less than a $100 left to my name for the rest of our weekend in the city? I didn’t respond. I didn’t have an answer. I must have missed the episode in life where our friends say out loud that they’re penny pinching it between paychecks. I mean, it’s totally acceptable in college— it’s the running joke and deep seated truth of every student. Of course I only showed up to those club meetings for the free pizza! But after college, it’s not funny.

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The chilled New York City wind was cutting through our scarves and mittens as we sat on the top level of the tour bus that February afternoon. On my Iphone, we snapped some selfies with the Empire State Building behind us, he wanted to see the pictures. I handed him my phone… Oh no! I don’t want him to see that. By the time I snatched my phone back, it was too late… I left the Bank of America app open on my phone and he saw it…my $70 account balance. Em-ba-rassed!

Here I was with my big fat bachelor’s degree,  my first salaried income with all the perks of health insurance, paid time off and blah blah blah, yet— I had $70 left in my account and 12 days before my next paycheck. <insert Eeyore’s sad face here…where was Winnie the Pooh’s honey to sweeten up life when you needed it?>  

The whole “being an adult” thing is over-rated. Where was the college class that prepared me for life? The class that taught me how to store the bacon after I brought it home? Because, at this point I was having bacon for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snack time in between. I was eating everything I brought home… and I wasn’t alone… 75% of America is on this ‘eat all your bacon’ diet too. That means 3 out of every 4 of our working loved ones are barely making it. Why aren’t we more intentional in getting healthy with this part of our lives?

So, since there was no life class… what did I do? I lived.

It took 3 more months of living paycheck to paycheck before I got desperate for help. In one of those gazillion marketing emails I get everyday, I saw mention of a personal finance workshop in one of them… so I went, met a coach … <insert violin music here> and my Bank of America app has never been the same.

Here are a few things  I discovered and learned along the way:

My First Discovery:

I was making Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery richer, while I became more broke. Who are they, you ask? The founders of Buffalo Wild Wings(BWW). That year alone, I had spent $4,000 on chicken wings <insert surprise face emoji here>. I wasn’t eating there every night, just Tuesdays and Thursdays for the 60 cent wings! And who just eats wings? I had to get the fries and a drink too…oh and pay my taxes, wait –not done yet… gotta tip that college student of a waiter too. Yep! And the survey on the receipt gave me $5.00 off my next purchase. You got it! I took those surveys and was back again!

So, how do I know I spent that much at Buffalo Wild Wings that year? I learned from my coach to start tracking (writing down every time I spend). When I did the math after tallying up my spending, I came up with $4,000 just for Mr.Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m not going to go down my bank statement and bore you with other companies I made richer that year, but you get the point.

Best Lesson Learned:

Save. Before you roll your eyes, give me a few minutes here. For the first time in my life, I had saved $1,000 in what people would call an ‘Emergency Account.’When my coach first mentioned this to me, I looked at her sideways —I don’t have an extra $1,000 to save…. because if I did, I wouldn’t be living paycheck to pay check. Here’s what I did… I started to save ‘first.’–before I payed all my bills–with every bi-weekly check, I set aside $100…and in less than 6 months…Voila! There was my $1,000. It took another 6 months to convince myself that a weekend trip to Miami was not an emergency! 

When I started to get my personal finances in order, I didn’t talk about it, because I thought everyone else had it all together.  After all no one talks about their money, other than– “Yeah, things are tight right now.” No one ever admits how tight things are and for how long it’s been tight. I get it. I’ve been there…and some days, I’m back there. I’m not where I want to be… but I’m a better version then where I was. <there goes that iphone99s theme again>.

Now What?

For those of us who are losing sleep, maybe even some tears because of those little powerful green bills and plastic cards…you’re not alone… don’t be embarrassed or ashamed by some of your decisions… <here’s where I sound like a commercial> … decide today to make better money choices.You didn’t have to go see Captain America: Civil War at midnight the Thursday it came out and get the large popcorn, large soda special. That’s an extra $25 that could have been put in your emergency account. I’m not pointing fingers here, because I was totally in the theater with you— Team Save Bucky! I’m just bringing light to how quickly money leaves us when we don’t give our spending habits a second thought.

Let’s stop pretending that we can keep up with the Jones’. With everyone posting their “perfect life” on social media, I know it’s hard to maintain your ‘content-ness’, but trust me, all that glitters ain’t gold. Yes! He posted a new picture of his ‘baby’, his BMW, but do you know that he’s working for $12/hr and after he makes the payments, he’s scratching his head about the insurance. #NoComment

I’m here with you… Let’s take it one $25 at a time and journey together to an “eat less bacon” life!

Yours Vulnerably,

The Naked Writer

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PS. Thanks for journey-ing  through life with me! If you know someone who might enjoy this, share my heart with them and remember to subscribe so we can keep in touch (top right corner)! Oh yeah and comment (top left corner)! You’d be surprised how your comments encourage other readers— because other readers, do read the comments!

See you soon 😉

 

18 Comments Add yours

  1. This was amazing! Thank you for writing! It was easy to read, and flowed very well. I appreciate the raw honesty and transparency!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for journeying with me! Means a lot 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ibsen says:

      So funny about the person who has a BMW but works for $12/hr. I saw something last week that didn’t make sense: a BMW with a pizza delivery sign 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahaha!!!! No no no! I don’t believe it 🙆🏽 wow!

        Like

  2. She Speaks says:

    I remember the first time you mentioned “tracking my expenses”, I rolled my eyes and said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

    Several months later, it was one of the best advice you gave me.

    Still on the journey.

    Thanks for the read #2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaha!!! Wow! Look at that! So encouraged that my words are making a difference in your life. #LifeJourney #TwoAreBetterThanOne

      Like

  3. Vanessa says:

    This was good. So many people can relate to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so! Thank you Vanessa!

      Like

  4. 3000 says:

    Wow….was wondering where you would take us next. This was a pleasant surprise……. Thank you for sharing such wise advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was wondering where I would go next too… Lol. Thanks for journeying alongside me!

      Like

  5. YESSSSSS, Naked Writer!!! YOU BROUGHT ITTTT…,AGAIN! This topic is oh-so-super-duper important!!! I always found things like budgets, insurance, retirement, [insert other scary word here] so daunting and overwhelming! Partly because, these things weren’t really discussed growing up! However, we’re called to be good stewards of what we’ve been given!! I’m currently going through a Financial Peace University class…my oh my!! Learning SO MUCH! From budgeting properly, to intentionally paying cash, to understanding the fine print for different insurance options, etc.! Our finances should in no way be controlling us!! WE hold the control, but without the right knowledge, tools, resources, we can easily become a slave to it!! I rebuke that!!! Love your transparency, girl!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Daunting and Overwhelming because no one talked to us about it! Financial Peace University is an awesome investment into yourself and your future! I took FPU after my sessions with my coach and I thoroughly enjoyed it…. Even now I pop in one of his CDs every so often. So proud of you for “eating less bacon” and being so intentional! So proud of you! Keep it up!

      Like

  6. katsiaa says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome read! It’s so crazy how we can spend money on frivolous things, and not think about our future. I’m team save money all the way! You never know when a rainy day will come. Thanks for being transparent and inspiring people like me to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. #TeamSaveMoney
      #TeamEmergencyAccounts
      #MillionairesInTheMaking #WiseChoices

      Thank you for your kind words 😉

      Like

  7. Lis says:

    Sidenote. Girl you kept it all the way real. I sure enough relate to that $70.00 balance (cough less than $70 cough). I remember one time in college getting PISSED all the way off b/c some rude student looked at my Mac laptop (he ain’t know I got it on a discount) and rudely said, “Oh you got money…” Meanwhile, I literally had $0.02 in the bank. No, that’s not a typo. I was frustrated at being classified as a rich, snooty person when I knew I was struggling. Butchu know what, I RECEIVE THAT DECLARATION OF HAVING MONEY! #FinancialFreedom #ManagingTheBucks #BecauseImOnTeamSaveBucky #AndMyDaddyIsAKing #SoImRich #TubmansAllDay

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you for your transparency! In addition to declaring and hashtagging it… we gotta work, work, work… work. So proud of your vulnerability… great indicator that you are ready for a change. Keep me posted on the journey!

      Like

  8. Lis says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!!! (insert hand clap, Sr. Mary shouting, and organs blaring here). This post brings so much truth. Thanks for bringing up a topic that is hard to discuss, but so important to be aware of. I started gung-ho with tracking my expenses…and then I fell off…side-eyes to myself. But no more slacking. Financial management requires action, not passivity. (This is me speaking out loud to myself and motivating myself, lol). Thanks, chica!

    Like

    1. “I started gung-ho with tracking my expenses…and then I fell off…side-eyes to myself.” —- Aren’t we all guilty of this somewhere in our life? Proud of you for even starting. Just pick back up and start again… Take it easy on yourself! This is a journey, we have the rest of our lives to get it right!

      Liked by 1 person

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