~Monday, April 7, 2014

A Pretty Penny

I looked at my bills this month and smiled. SMILED. Because for the first time in about 10 years, I'm feeling a little financially flush. I worked hard and paid off my car a year early. I carry no credit card debt. The new bedroom set I bought when I moved in with Abraham is now paid off. And the wedding has passed, which feels like the biggest cha-ching. 

So what now? 

The first thing I did was check my savings and retirement contributions and made sure I was contributing 10% of my income to each. My savings did take a hit during the last year, so I'd like to replace the funds in that account. I never let my retirement slack, so I'm in good shape there. I also called my stockbroker and invested about $4,000 of an old inheritance. We lived the good life on our honeymoon, and I'm anxious to ditch working for a living and feast in Mexico, ASAP.  

I also bought all of the things. The honeymoon was the final nail in the coffin for my beautiful 10-year-old luggage, so I spent $300 on new ones: dazzling bags on wheels in pinks and purples. I managed to get through last summer with three pairs of shoes, including one pair of flip-flops, so I rewarded myself by doubling the amount of summer shoes: Leather-strapped Born's and crocheted Toms' and work flats from Loft. Throw in two new dresses from Forever 21 because I just can't quit it. 

I like shopping, I feel good when I shop, but I don't want to be burdened with material objects. I don't want to work to maintain my possessions. I think I'm at the point where I would like a few high quality items instead a bunch of little things. I am a professional of the little things though, and Amazon and Forever 21 know it. 

I think the answer to my dilemma is to increase my savings contributions: maybe aim for 15 - 25% instead of 10%. Maybe maximize my Roth to the limit of $5,500. Start a house-repair fund, a child fund, a vacation fund, a something fund.

But I'm worried because I am so good at shopping, and I know what fun it is. I'm giddy when I open a box of sock yarns that I purchased and I fondle the soft skeins in brilliant colors. To me, that is a high.

I'm at such a rare point in my life, and I don't want to squander the opportunity. How do you balance a Pinterest life with a sound life that is financially secure? And if I do save 30% of my income, can I spend the remaining 70% on yarn and dresses?


  1. You are a grown ass woman. You can spend the remaining 70% on whatever the hell you please! :D One of my friends maintains two accounts. A Bills/savings and fun. She plays out of her fun account, guilt free, because she's already saved and already paid bills. Also I know you're a list maker so maybe two lists... big things and small things and alternate what you're going to cross off of each list when the shopping bug hits.

    I'm trying to train myself not to feel guilty for shopping, but I always do. Invariably, something comes up that I could have used that money for, that I spent on shoes and a dress and some earrings.... I don't save except for retirement and that is going to bite me in my butt. You're already on a great path! So many people in your age group havent' started thinking about saving.

  2. A few years ago, I started purchasing items that would last a long time, heirloom items, so to speak. Mostly kitchen things, as I wanted a few key items to hand down to any kids I may or may not ever have. Vintage cast iron, Le Creuset french oven, replacing all plastics with glass, quality leather purses, etc.

    Now when I make purchases, I always analyze if this item will last, and if not, why bother? If I can spend a little more money on something similar that will last longer, then i do it. I still have my little fun items from TJ Maxx or Old Navy, and that feeds my compulsion to shop.

    I set up my direct deposit to be split into two completely different banks 80/20. I have multiple savings accounts, one for savings, one for vacations, and one for emergency savings. I like to think of my 20% account as my secret account. This is all after my 401K contribution pre tax of course.

    If I were you, the first thing I would do is max out my Roth for the year, 5.5K, then set up your savings account goal for the year. Then perhaps start the vacation savings and house repair savings.