So after doing my finances this morning (usually a long process that involves a lot of self loathing and regret for the last month, punctuated with a half confident goal for the next 2 weeks) I realized I had some major reshuffling to do. For example, last year I spent $25 with Seattle Symphony to purchase my Campus Club card so I could get $10 tix to the Symphony all year long. I never used it. Not once.
Meanwhile, I look at the number of times I reloaded my Starbucks card this month ($10 at a time) and realize I spent almost $120 on coffee alone in July!!! Granted, I work in a mall, and the Starbucks is so conveniently located between work and the break room so it's easy to thing "oh what's one more coffee?" But that's of course the danger of it all.
Now I used to be much worse, like I'm talking $15 on coffee a day, A DAY!!! Since I started recording all my purchases last November my spending habits have improved dramatically, but I have far to go. I spent almost $250 just eating out with friends or just due to laziness. Think of all the music and groceries I could afford! Not to mention the ever-dwindling makeup supply I desperately need to restock, and all the baking I've been missing out on because I can't afford coconut flour.
Now some of these expenses are unavoidable, life happens. Plus things like the ferry rides I take to see my fiancé and gas and bills. Also, I have to allow myself the occasional dinner out with friends and cup of coffee on the run. But priorities could be re-examined. For example, as I prepare to renew my subscription to Campus Club with Seattle Symphony, how about making coffee from home more and substituting coffee for water in the afternoon so some of those card reloads could be put toward concerts? Or making some incredibly delicious meals at home that fit with my paleo diet instead of spending money at McDonalds on the way home? (That happened only once this month but I'm not proud...)
My biggest goal for myself financially is actually to take care of myself more rather than scrimp and save money. I find that the more negative and depressed I am, the worse I eat, the more coffee I buy, and the more lazy I get. But if I'm dedicating time to write music, exercise, do my chores at home (yes I enjoy cleaning, more on that later) and stick to my diet, I feel happier and empowered.
Now a large purchase in my life just occurred, I bought myself an iPad! This was something I'd wanted for years but I never convinced myself I deserved it until recently. It may seem silly, but I love that I can now save the stress on my back from carrying around my computer, I can have thousands of recipes and home design apps at my fingertips, and I have my calendar and finances ready to edit and add to at any time.
This was an empowering purchase, mostly because it was horrifically expensive and I saved for it, but also because the excitement I feel with this tool and the potential I see with it has motivated me to live healthier and make myself happier.
Moral of the story for me? Take care of myself first, put money in what matters, and live a richer, fuller life.