Spend less than you earn.
Any financial adviser or writer will tell you that (except sometimes Suze Orman) the best thing you can do is live in the black and not in the red. I am not doing so well at it right now, but do as I say and not as I do. And maybe because I struggle to do this, I know better than some of those financial experts how good it feels when you do spend less than you earn. It feels awesome to see that success at the end of the month. It makes it worth it to scrimp and save the other 29 days.
Money is tight right now and my money-anxiety is at a record high. The Summer Sequester was cake compared to this. There are two things I can do about this: earn more and spend less, best taken in combination. So this month, now that the big birthday hurrah is over, I’m being extremely careful. For me, this means saying “no” to things I really want to do, like go out to dinner with a friend tomorrow night in at a bar I really like. It’s not happening. We’re having dinner at her place instead tonight because I can afford to make a loaf of bread, but I can’t afford to buy beer and pizza in a restaurant.
The same goes for derby, and that is really tough. But there are seven weeknight practices this month and I can’t afford $70 on roller derby when running is free. I think I can afford five, but we’ll see.
The other side of the coin is “earn more money,” but my plan is to deal with that once I’ve actually gotten a paycheck and can really assess my situation in real numbers, instead of pretty accurate estimates. So that’s a November task.
Hopefully I’ll reap the benefits of these choices in 23 days when the month is over.