Monday, July 30, 2007

A checkbook of my very own

My husband and I each get an allowance every month to spend on Whatever. His money goes into “his” checking account, and mine, well, I just sort of have an expense category in the general fund.

It never seemed to work out for me, somehow. See, the idea here is, if you want to buy something that costs more than your monthly allowance, well, you just don’t spend your money for a while and let it build up and there you go.

Works great for Himself.

For me, not so much.

For me, somehow, any money I hadn’t spent at the end of the month simply vaporizes at midnight on the last day of the month. On day one, I had the exact amount of my monthly allowance, and no more.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t look up how much I should have and, with that figure firmly in mind, sail forth for the yarn store – it was that I had this mental block around it. I never had more than my monthly allowance in my mind, even if I hadn’t spent a dime of it in six months.

I would refuse to buy things I wanted early in the month on the theory that I still had X days to go and the following social engagements to attend and also I hadn’t gotten my nails done yet and buying that $10 thing was PERILOUS, ENTIRELY and I had better just hold off until the end of the month, when I’d have a better idea just how much money I really had…

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I’ve been trying to work my way around this mental blocks for years. Occasionally, I’ve managed to actually spend my money (oddly, this tends to coincide with fiber festivals), but month after month – a substantial percentage of it simply disappears at the stroke of midnight, Day 30(31).

No more.

I finally did it.

I opened a checking account of my very own, and I transferred the ‘mad money’ I haven’t spent over the last twelve months into it, and I set up an automatic transfer for my full allowance amount and then I patted myself on the back and said, “Good girl! Way to seize hold of what is yours!” None of this ‘oh, that’s OK, I’ll just go sit in the corner and eat worms’ crap for me, no sir! I’m going to carpe cash-ium like my husband does, and I’m going to actually spend it ON ME, FOR ME, because I am worth it.

AND THEN I looked at the balance, and I said, “Dang, girl, you could have some fun with that!” Donald Trump would not be impressed with the balance, but little old me was positively a-twitter with the possibilities.

And then…this odd glint came into my eye. And a weird smile began to twitch at the corners of my mouth.

I am not a well person, people.

NORMAL PEOPLE, when given money that is ‘mad money’, money which is theirs to toy with, money that is BY DESIGN supposed to be spent on frivolity, will spend it on frivolities.

They will spend it on manicures, or power tools, or dancing girls, or fancy cigars, you know, whatever.

Your faithful (but mentally unstable) correspondent does not do these things.

Oh no.

Instead, she begins muttering strange things to herself. Things like “high yield savings” and “what if I got my seller’s permit and…”

What makes this truly sick and also sad is…it’s better than a trip to the day spa for me. I’m happier than a tick in a fat dog’s ruff right now, scheming away in my rocking chair while making the last (thank.DAWG.) of the preemie hats for the month.

I love these small-time schemes and challenges, taking risks and trying to be cunning enough to collect a reward rather than a (richly deserved) kick in the teeth. And suddenly having this money to toy with, well.

It’s going to be interesting to see what I actually end up doing, I think. I’m either going to start building a miniature empire over here, or, I’m going to (re)learn how to just spend the money on fun stuff.

I used to be really, really good at just spending money. Like a drunken sailor on his first shore leave in six months, actually. YEE HAW! Drinks on me and yes! I’d LOVE to buy this dress for $325!! YIPPEE!!!!

MAYBE I’ll learn how to do that again. I’m taking a stab at it this weekend, actually. Although I’ve already scaled back the original plan to about 30% of its original glory, and am chipping away at that remaining 30% with every passing minute. (Maybe instead of wasting money on food while I’m out and about all weekend, I could use photosynthesis…)

So then again, it may be that I’ll make a tiny but deeply satisfying fortune doing the things I used to do as sideline income opportunities before the mortgage-n-minivan era slammed into my like a load of bricks. This time there is a huge difference: The money I make doesn’t have to immediately be mailed off to creditors.

It’s mine. Mine, for me. I can keep the profits. Or I can spend them wildly on pedicures and smoothies.

Or Disney Cruises, if I have a particularly stunning year.

You know what I just realized?

I’ve cured my Blah. I’m excited, and interested, and engaged in it. SOMETHING IS FUN AGAIN!!

Now that right there is worth every penny in my brand-spankin’-new checking account!

Not…uh…that I’m willing to give any of it up. SO DON’T ASK ME!

I can think of ten good reasons to never let go of a dime, boy! <== Bonus points if you can name the reference!!!


Jeanne said...

Woo-hoo! Congratulations on achieving financial freedom! :-) I'm looking forward to hearing about the future plans for it!

PipneyJane said...

I can think of ten good reasons to never let go of a dime, boy!

It's Mr Krabs from Spongebob Square Pants.

- Pam

Yarnhog said...

Good for you! Carpe that cashium! I don't have that problem. Budget? What's a budget? Unfortunately, my husband is the same way. We could probably use someone like you around here.