“But I hate money and it stresses me out and I just want to punch it in the face.” I texted that to Katelyn earlier as I struggled to find the words for this post about money. And, as expected, she told me to write that, to be authentic, because that is what people want to hear. So… here it goes. I scoffed at Katelyn’s post when I first read it. (No offense bestie.) “What if money didn’t matter?” I made it that far, rolled my eyes and said to the computer- “but money does matter.” To be honest, I haven’t made it as far as Katelyn has in this area. Katelyn doesn’t worry about money anymore, but I sure as hell do. And that’s okay. Because maybe you haven’t stopped worrying either? Maybe you struggle and stress about money and can’t imagine a world where you didn’t have to worry about it? Maybe you wish you could live as if it didn’t matter, but you just can’t allow yourself? Well, that’s okay. We’re in the same boat.
“You guys, do you know who is really good with money? Dani. Always has been, always will be... Like, for real, she's so good I told her that if we ever start to make money from our blog, she's in charge of it!” I laughed at this statement too. Because, yes, I am really good with money. But I also stress and worry about it in a way that isn’t healthy and I wouldn’t recommend for any of our followers. My husband makes fun of me for this, in a loving way of course (I hope). I’m taking steps and making progress, but it’s definitely a struggle for me. I’m allowing myself to do the things I want in my free time- to live a creative life outside of my work schedule, to volunteer my time for an organization that seeks justice, and to enjoy time with my husband and pup. I have made progress and am living a wonderful life. But I still stress about money- I worry about how much I am spending on calligraphy and art materials, I question if I should work more hours instead of volunteering, I fret that Tyler and I spend too much on dates, etc, etc.
So, what are my money stories and what am I doing to make money matter less in my life?
*I’ve worked for the same company, with other jobs along the way, since I was eighteen. Is it my lifelong dream to stay here? No. But it is a good company, a good job, and I have made wonderful friends along the way. I also met my husband there. And it allows me the flexibility to do the other things in my life that I love. I think this is my biggest step to worrying less about money, because I could honestly find a job making more but have less free time, less fun at work, and less flexibility. Until I find that job which fulfills my calling to seek justice for others, I’m staying where I am, content.
*My car is paid off and I have told Tyler I am driving that thing until the wheels fall off. Which does not make my husband, a car buyer and appraiser, very happy. He wants me to trade it in, but I see this as such a great opportunity to save money. Despite the fact that it’s getting older and has dings ALL over it (I blame the UCO parking lot and Oklahoma winds…Tyler blames my parking abilities), I love Stella. Yes, I named my car. We don’t have a car payment, we don’t have to pay as much for car insurance, and I get pretty great gas mileage. Until the car starts costing more to maintain than a car payment, Stella stays. Side note- this has taught me a lot about being content with what you have and not comparing myself to others. It’s hard when I see other people buying new cars, but in the end, not having a car payment allows me to work less and create more.
*Until we got married and bought a house, I saved nearly everything I made. I only dipped into my savings twice- once to go to Greece for my college graduation gift to myself and once for our move to Colorado. I have conflicted feelings about this. Yes, I’m glad it was easier for us to have a down payment on a house. But going to Greece was also one of the best experiences of my life and I wish that I had more trips like that. That has become a new goal of mine- worry less about money so I can travel more!
*I wrote more about this previously, but we bought a house outside our desired area because we just couldn’t afford to purchase something, in this market, downtown. And lucky for us, because I LOVE this house. And we can still afford to have a life outside of paying our mortgage.
*One way I’ve allowed myself to worry less about money is actually to take out more money for savings. I thought this would stress me out, but I haven’t even noticed. We increased our 401K contribution and put a certain amount directly into savings. Somehow, this has brought me freedom. It makes me feel more secure for the future and it allows me to purchase calligraphy materials or go on a date with Tyler without worry, because the money we have is what’s leftover, not all we have.
*And lastly, I’m learning to not let money matter as much because it isn’t mine to begin with. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein..” Psalm 24:1. We studied financial justice for one of my classes and it really helped me to realize how important it is to give to others, to spend our money wisely and justly, and to realize that nothing we have was ours anyways.
So yes, I hate money. I really do. I hate that it’s necessary for nearly everything we do. I hate that some never have enough and some have more than they could ever need. I hate that it worries me so much. But I’m thankful that I have enough to get by, that we can pay our bills and give to others, that we can go on dates and do projects around the house, that we can save for the future and we can serve others in need. I’m thankful for people to vent to and people who have helped us in rough times. I’m thankful I can work a job that pays more than we need and gives me flexibility. I’m thankful that money no longer runs my life. I guess in the end, I have realized it doesn’t matter. I guess I shouldn’t have rolled my eyes at Katie after all.