Flipflops in the Rain


the part about my cross-country move that i didn’t tell you.

i moved away from D.C. because it was the financially responsible thing to do.

that may not be the whole truth, but it was definitely a big part of my decision to move. when i moved from bellingham, wash., to alexandria, va., in 2007, I went from paying $330/month for rent to $1,200/month. that’s practically four times what i was used to paying for living expenses, and neither of these figures includes the utilities i was paying.

you’d think such a drastic change would curb my spending habits. well, you’d think wrong. why don’t you run along and catch up on my history with money…. did you catch that? i’m a credit card company’s DREAM.

i don’t know when i decided that i needed to spend money so erratically, but i’m gonna go ahead and blame my parents. before i was old enough to earn my own salary, my dad would give me 20 bucks whenever i asked. 20 bucks that i learned at a much later age he didn’t necessarily have to give me. my mom used to joke about winning the lottery and planting a money tree in the backyard. she never won the lottery, but she planted a $20,000 swimming pool in our backyard and solidified my belief that money buys pretty, fancy and awesome things.

to buy these pretty, fancy and awesome things, i’ve been working consistently since i was 12 (if you call baby-sitting “work,” which i have ever since the brats across the street dragged their cat around by its tail and made me cry. but i’m pretty sure that’s another story.). although my parents taught me how to have fun with money, they also taught me the importance of earning my OWN money, and i’m proud to say i’ve bought almost everything i’ve owned in the past 15-some-odd years. well, me, and my good friend, visa.

i succumbed to the allure of my credit card in 2003 when i started working at american eagle. and then again in 2005 when i went to italy for a month. and then again when i realized how much easier it was to bring my credit card to the bar than a wad of cash. and then again when i realized how much fun it was to always buy the first round of shots. and then again when i moved to d.c. where not only was housing pricier, but rounds of shots were pricier.

even as i was struggling, i still just kept buying. i’d grown far too accustomed to living outside of my means. i’d grown far too accustomed to going out with my wealthier friends whenever i was bored (which was often).

but then i moved. and somehow i’ve paid off two credit cards and my car. in a matter of three months. i even took a pay cut (albeit, a small one), and i was still able to significantly pay down my debt. i’ve still got a ways to go (with a score of 65 on the charles schwab financial fitness quiz, i’m apparently middle of the road), but at the very least, i’ve learned that west coast flippy is more financially responsible than east coast flippy.

or maybe west coast flippy is just super boring. until that last visa card is paid off, though, i’m ok with a little more boredom in my life.

Disclaimer: This post is part of the 20SB Blog Carnival: Friends & Money, sponsored by Charles Schwab. Prizes may be awarded to selected posts. The information and opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the views or opinions of Charles Schwab. Details on the event, eligibility, and a complete list of participating bloggers can be found here.



that getting out of debt thing.

Ah, money. What I wouldn’t give to live without you. Wait. That’s inaccurate. I already live without you. Yet you still manage to cause such a burden in my life (and even more so in the lives of those closest to me, but that’s a whole other story).

This year, i’m conquering you, money. I will capture you and lock you up in an airtight account where no one but me can get to you. And I will keep you there just long enough to give you to the sadistic bill collectors who clog up my e-mail inbox every month. No longer will you get to enjoy reckless shopping sprees where you disappear and i end up with heinous shirts i only end up wearing once. Gone are the days of buying rounds and rounds of shots for people i hardly know. Goodbye fast food and lattes — it’s homemade lunches and free office coffee for me, and Visa smorgasbords for you.

Don’t worry, money. We’ll still see each other once in awhile. Just not as often. Ya see, I recently did some math and discovered we would have a much stronger relationship if I used you to better myself — not that the years of buying overpriced clothes, drinking far too much and eating crappy food weren’t fun. It’s just that, I’ll be 25 soon. And when I was little (when I still thought you grew on a magical tree at my daddy’s store), I thought I’d be in a much different place when I hit 25. I thought I’d own a castle in the middle of a deserted island with servants catering to my every wish. And while I’m not doing so terribly, I’d still like to own something resembling that dream sooner rather than later.

I hope you understand what this means, money, and i hope you’ll do your darnedest not to tempt me. Stop convincing me to “window shop” or meet up with my friends for “just a drink or two.” This spending detox will be good for both of us, I promise.