The Money Diaries: The 20-something emotional spender
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Today is another post in the Money Diaries series, which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries. We’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days, anonymized them, and posted them here.
Today’s post is by a 25-year-old woman who feels guilty about spending money she doesn’t have.
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10 a.m.: Pay day! Go online to check my payments and see how much I got paid. Another small pay check. I consider working more hours despite knowing school is too demanding to do so.
2 p.m.: Decided to buy Starbucks for everyone at work. Spend $13 against my better judgment. Half of me is happy to do something nice, half of me is ashamed of spending the money.
7 p.m.: Spending the weekend alone, boyfriend is out of town. Decide to buy some groceries, not because we need them but because I know I’ll be lonely. I walk to the grocery store so that I cannot buy more than I can carry home. Despite this spending limit, the bill still reached $55.
10 a.m.: Wake up alone, feel like going shopping. Decide instead to do some yard work, my wallet cannot handle any shopping.
5 p.m.: Came home for supper on my break from work to save money. The $20 bill I thought I had in my wallet is gone, I must have spent it but can’t even remember where.
9:30 a.m.: Just spent $30.54 on postage stamps. I needed to buy 10 stamps to mail a few letters, ended up being caught up in all the cool designs and bought more than I needed. I probably won’t even use the ones I bought because I like them too much.
1:30 p.m.: Wrote a check today for a race entry fee, had to check my account online to make sure I had the $45 in my account. I also made a note to myself not to use the account until the check clears. Feel guilty that at 25 I don’t even have a $50 cushion in my checking account.
9 p.m.: Go for supper with my little sister. The bill is $25 and I am prepared to pay for it but I’m secretly happy when she grabs the check and insists on paying.
12 p.m.: See a sweater I must have, convince myself it’s practically free because it’s on sale. Another $69.29 on the credit card.
12:30 p.m.: Get home from buying said sweater to a credit card statement. It seems that since I acquired a significant amount of credit cards I can’t keep them straight, missed the payment on one last month. Could have sworn I paid it. Went online immediately and paid as much as possible on the card: $125.00.
11:30 a.m.: Decide I need to go out to eat again. Spend $13 on the meal and feel guilty two fold, unhealthy and expensive.
4 p.m.: Get a phone call that the underwear I ordered is in at my favorite local store. I go down to pick them up, not only did they get in the 4 pairs I ordered, but also a regular shipment, I pick out one more pair. The total is $108.85; I just spent $108.85 on 5 pairs of underwear! On the credit card of course.
7 p.m.: Despite having an unlimited pass for a local yoga studio I go to a class at a different location because I prefer the longer class. Drop in fee is $13, he gives me a deal, only $11. Drop in gets expensive over time but I convince myself I deserve it and I’m doing something good for myself. After 2.5 hours on the mat I know I made the right choice.
10 a.m.: Decide to stay home all day to limit my spending, not much I can do from home, but first thing in the morning I resist the urge to buy something online. I go read instead.
11 a.m.: Get an e-mail to renew my JPG magazine subscription. Enter my credit card number for another $35.
10 p.m.: Am pleased with myself because I manage to go the rest of the day without spending a dime despite going shopping with my little sister.
Amount of money spent that I actually had: $0, number of things I bought that I actually needed: none. Number of nights spent worrying about money 6/7.
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Read more about guilt and our money.
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