My Relationship With Money.
I remember having “Money noise” in college. For my first few years at school, I was working at the school paper, making a few dollars, but it was barely enough money to put gas in my car — shopping and pricy bar tabs were out of the question.
During my senior year in college, I started working 40 hours a week, in retail, to try and straighten my money situation. It helped, but working 40 hours and taking 15 hours of classes was a tough gig. I drank a lot of Red Bull.
When I graduated college, I was a bartender, which gave me nearly $300/shift — way more than I made at the mall. But my rent was a cool $900/month, plus food and other bills. I soon took a second job as a cocktail waitress.
I worked double shifts on Saturdays, and Sunday was my only day off. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pain in my feet for those months. My cocktail job required high heels for the entire 8-hour shift.
About six months after graduating college, I landed a full-time job. It was a great job, with an impressive starting salary, and pretty amazing benefits. However, I stayed working at the bar for nearly a year into my job. It was freeing to have the extra money.
I still work at my same day job — I just hit my six year anniversary July 1. I don’t work at the bar anymore, or as a waitress, and I’m thankful for that.
However, I work for the state, and when you work for a school in the state that doesn’t really value education, your wallet doesn’t see much of a change. Over my six years, I’ve seen one raise.
So I’m a mere couple of digits from the salary I was making as a fresh college grad. It’s not something I particularly proud of. Because the cost of living keeps rising, the bills keep coming, and yet, my paycheck stays the same.
And so, I’ve done what I’ve always done — found extra work. As a writer and an editor, I’ve been lucky enough to find paying gigs every week, whether it’s editing someone’s book or helping a company with a press release — I’m able to pay my bills, eat, and have a little fun.
But truthfully, I spend a lot of my nights and weekends working. If I want to take a vacation, that means I’ve got to pick up extra gigs and sleep less.
My coworkers say, “You’re so driven,” but that’s how I have to be if the money in my bank account is getting low, right? And don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that my writing is even good enough to supplement my income. I’ve been able to get a nice car, take trips, and do some things my paycheck wouldn’t normally afford.
But it’s not a position I pictured myself in at 29. I saw more security. A bigger savings account.
And truthfully, I go back and forth with my feelings about money. There are times when sure, I wish I had more of it. But I know that if I had more, I would spend more.
My wants are usually petty, after all, I’ve got a nice apartment, food in my fridge, and gas in my car. No, I don’t have money for a down payment on a home; but I’m not sure if that’s something I even want.
I suppose my relationship with money will change over time; after all, I’m kind of in a weird, transitional point in my career right now. so for now, I’ll just have to see where things go… and how the money stacks up.
Posted on July 3, 2014, in The Squeeze and tagged bank account, budgeting, dating, drinking, ex boyfriends, first date, heartbreak, Holly A. Phillips, How to Make Lemonade, life, love, money, single, The Bitter Lemon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.