Saturday, June 5, 2010

Budget Month - Day 6

There's a part of me that's regretting posting as much about my budget as I have been. Not in the sense of 'if I fail, now everybody will know' (which is, actually, exactly why I did it - pressure not to fail) but more along the sense of 'I feel like a snob'.

I do. I really do. I'm aware my partner and I actually have it pretty well and talking numbers is embarassing to people who makes less than us or are in worse situations that we are. The thing is - we were on the verge of ripping our hair out from financial troubles.

Honestly, nobody talks about the middle class or upper middle class when they discuss 'budget'. And again, I'm aware of how entitled I sound; hear me out. Most of the people in middle class and above have worked their way up to that point from lower class or just downright dirt poor.

Both my husband and I grew up with hardly anything, though our parents tried, there simply wasn't enough. Because of this, when we finally were able to have money of our own, we squandered it - didn't know how to budget at all. It was the opposite most teenagers find themselves in - usually from a comfortable income at home with their parents suddenly to broke uni student paying for an apartment and furniture; however, we came from poor and then worked hard and worked our way up the ladders perhaps a bit too quickly.

I became a model at a very young age and went from tiny city apartment in LA to being paid to travel the world. All very glamourous, really. Suddenly I had to buy Gucci heels and Diane Von Furstenburg wraps because I deserved it. Oh there's a damn expensive word if you ever earned some money in your life. I earned the money, obviously, so I deserved things that I thought I could afford. Funny, how when rent came around, I had to borrow until my next shoot was in, pay everyone off and then buy another damn designer something or other, leaving myself broke for the next bill. Ad nauseum.

My husband on the other hand, worked his arse off, dropping out of school at 16 to join an apprenticeship to become an engineer. He bought his first house at 20 because he "Liked the garage". No kidding. He didn't even see the house before he bought it - because of the garage. Obviously we came from two completely different money backgrounds, grew into money in two completely different ways and then ended up with exactly the same habits because of it.

And I think people need to talk about this. I think it's important. Someday, if we play our cards right, everyone who didn't have much and worked hard is going to find themselves with extra cash here and again. They're going to have to think about buying a house. They're going to have to think about kids. Etcetera.

Nobody talks about the gap there. They either discuss finances when you're broke and in school or they discuss finances when you're paying off your mortgage with 4 kids and two car payments. Nobody discusses money when you actually have the damn stuff. It's taboo to discuss it then. If I were going through a harder time, perhaps it would be less embarassing. And that's just not fair.

How am I supposed to pay for a house if I go straight from broke uni student to mortgage if I don't use my money wisely in that small few-year gap between the two? I believe more people between the ages of 20-25 should talk more explicitly about money - we're the ones spending it! It's embarassing to discuss how much money you have going to your retirement, but not how much you spent in one night at the bar buying rounds for all your friends? A little backwards I feel.

So I'm going to continue to talk about it because, well, nobody does. Nobody with money says to themselves, "You know what I should do? I should write a budget that sets me well below my means so I can be ready for anything." I think I have one whole friend that thinks like this - and she's IN finance! (Hi Bec!)

So, I'm going to sound entitled and I'm going to sound a little snobby. But I'm going to take that risk.. and I'm going to take that risk so that other single people without kids and mortgages will stop and think for a split second before they buy something they don't need and go, "Wait. Maybe this is better spent elsewhere." And maybe it'll make those days of mortgages and kids and car payments just that little bit easier.

Now I'm going to go and get those oil drums my husband brought home and cut them in half and paint them so my apple trees can go in them - so that I don't have to spend my hard earned money on expensive pots. Then I will get the wood I have and build my dogs a new kennel - so I don't have to spend the money on a new one. Because someday I'll have a mortgage. And I'd like to be able to afford it.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking about money and budgeting even when you 'have' money is not being a snob. That's the thing.. the middle class is starting to become a thing of the past tho' as the gap between those 'with' money and those who are struggling widens.

    I will follow in your lead as soon as I get my hands on the new iPhone (which comes out here in AU in July sometime)... as right now.. if I had to budget I would fail.

    My problem is my income is so unpredictable ... and one of my biggest expenses (Emily) is also a little unpredictable due to how I use her for work and her expense is dependent upon how much work (and travel) I am doing for it.

    I want to live below my means however I've got a big expense (I have to move) coming up. Groan.