Dolla dolla bill y’all

I’ve had a few interesting conversations lately about STUFF and MONEY. What’s up with NO ONE talking about money?

Here’s a brief history of my relationship with work, money and things:

  • I was raised in a household where my mom didn’t shop often, we ate off-brand food and we rarely ate out.
  • I didn’t have a “real” job until mid-college because I nannied during the summers and saved enough for the whole year.
  • Once I got into college, I discovered credit cards and kind of went crazy. I didn’t accumulate a ton of debt (thankfully) but I used credit often.
  • I graduated with a substantial student loan and a car payment.
  • Adam and I got married young and spent the first three years paying off debt.
  • Around that time, I quit my 30-hour-a-week desk job and started working for myself.
  • Welcome to present day! We now make 3x more annually than we did when we first got married by owning a few businesses of our own.

I can be a spender and yet I can also be disciplined. But within the past year, I’ve seen a shift in my spending habits that didn’t exist 4 years ago. Here are 3 observations:

1. I would and do pay people to clean my house or cook me food.

No I don’t have a chef (haha, I wish). But I do eat out more than I thought I ever would. We also pay to have our townhouse cleaned once a month. These are two things that I never experienced growing up as a kid. It’s not something that’s “normal” but it is worth the money. I can actually pinpoint my hourly rate and so paying someone $100 to clean my house for up to 3 hours is worth it if I can be working during those hours. I pay people when it saves me time.

2. Quality over quantity.

A year ago, I had A TON OF CLOTHES. Most of them from H&M or Forever21. Lately I have only a handful of pieces but they each cost more than any of the H&M/F21 pieces that I’ve since sold. I’ll be sharing my wardrobe revamp process next week but it essentially created a framework so that when I walk into a store – I have a method and a purpose. If the store doesn’t have what I’m looking for…I leave empty handed! Hint: I haven’t gone into Target and left with a random piece of clothing in MONTHS!

3. Spending is an emotional action.

The other day Adam was talking about clothes and cars. If the problem is, “I’m naked and need clothes,” then the solution is find something quickly that you can afford and cover yourself. If the problem is, “I have a job but I need a car to get there,” then the solution is to find something quickly that you can afford so you can go to work. But that’s not what we do. People buy BMWs, designer jeans and iMacs. Spending money on something is all about emotions. The emotions can range from:

  • I’m stressed about my finances so I’m going to clip coupons and go to Aldi (btw, Aldi is awesome)
  • I’m stressed about my job where I make a lot of money so I’m going to buy something to reward myself and make it worth it
  • I’m excited about my friend having a baby so I’m going to go buy this unborn baby a ton of sh*t to show my love
  • I want people to like me so I’m going to buy something that will elicit compliments (aka friends? probably not)
  • People who are successful have this kind of purse so I’m going to buy that now that I’m successful

You get the point, right? It really fascinates me. What do people spend their money on?

I pay to get my nails done twice a month.
I would probably never pay someone to design my blog or website. 
I pay $35 to get my hair blown dry.
I would probably never pay to get my car cleaned or washed.
I would pay $7,000 for camera gear.
I would probably never pay that much for a car.
I  pay $100 to get my house cleaned every month.
I would probably never pay to get my clothes regularly dry cleaned.
I’ve spent way too much money on Apple products.
99% of the furniture in my house cost less than $125.

How do you handle money? What would you probably NEVER spend money on? What do you splurge on? What seems reasonable? What seems irresponsible? Be respectful! Everyone is different.

October 17, 2013