First of all, yes, I’m engaged! YAY!! First came the excitement and joy of sharing with all our loved ones the wonderful news, and then, as the days, weeks, months go by, the reality of it all has made itself clear to us – Weddings. Are. Expensive. AHHHHHH!
So I really didn’t know where I was going with this whole blogging thing. It’s turned into this sort of hodgepodge of exploring the psyche of depression and then random experiences and sharing on what I’ve learned in this new(ish) stage of my life called Adulting.
Sometimes I’ll give my post a title and then proceed to write about something completely different. But in my quest to overcome perfectionism/depression (funny how the two are actually very much related), I’ve made it a point NOT to create more perfect, witty, well thought out blog posts. If I did that, then I would never ever write anything, or I would possibly spend hours writing one post and then, dissatisfied with how it turned out, I would either delete it or just never get around to posting it. Hence, the best way to overcome that resistance is just to post whatever I write, with no editing whatsoever.
Anyway, wedding planning. Yes. And being broke. And being an “adult.” They all go hand in hand. What am I doing with my life? I don’t know, just trying to survive, basically. It’s really sweet to be engaged to someone you love, but that doesn’t take away all the practical matters in life.
I’ve been “financially independent” from my parents as of about a year and a half ago. Granted, the first year of financial independence was when I pretty much was living off of a full scholarship for the program I was attending, so.. I’ve actually only been truly financially independent for about half a year. Maybe 3/4 of a year. I can honestly say that it has not been easy at all, and I’ve been forced to learn some hard lessons from some of my own mistakes. It’s one thing to live under your parents’ roof where you don’t pay for food and housing your whole life, especially if you’ve grown up in an upper middle class family like mine and had the privilege of never having to worry about being broke, because money seemed to fall off of trees (aka your parents) whenever you had something to pay for.
I knew that living that way would not benefit me for the rest of my life, and I was right. So, I made the choice to start becoming a real adult by cutting the umbilical cord of familial financial dependence, and essentially throwing myself into the deep end. Another thing about me is that sometimes I can be quite extreme – if I decide to do something, I go all in. Like moving out of my mom’s home with my mom’s delicious cooking and my mom’s money, and moving across the country to live on my own like a nomad. And then eventually I got engaged, after having moved around homes and temp jobs in the Greater Boston Area quite a few times within just a few months.
Moving into an unfurnished studio is not cheap, no matter how much you want to save. I needed to buy a mattress – that was the bare minimum. Then eventually I realized I couldn’t just live on one mattress and no other furniture. And then I realized I needed to stop eating out in order to save money. But in order to not eat out I needed kitchenware. A pot costs money. A pan costs money. A bowl costs money. So does a plate. And a cup. And a Brita filter (no more water bottles). And a cheap craigslist desk. And a mini fridge. And the list goes on and on…. Eventually I found myself racking up credit card debt because I had to buy the basic necessities despite not earning enough of an hourly wage to compensate for the new moving-in costs. Fortunately, these are just one-time purchases. I won’t need to buy another 3 cutting boards. Thank God.
I haven’t even started writing about what it’s been like to plan a wedding while barely being able to pay for rent (cost of living is SO high in the Boston area. Ugh). I’m only beginning to make a little more progress in paying off those credit card bills (but alas, progress IS being made and it is in face quite encouraging).
Anyway, my point in writing this post is not to just complain about how difficult life is, but it’s to really say that actually, it IS possible. You just need to make a plan. Since I don’t want to make this post too long, I’ll just mention briefly that what I’ve begun to do is to track every single dollar (even penny) that I spend each day, break up my spending into specific categories, and enter everything onto a comprehensive spreadsheet so I get a nice birds eye view of my overall financial situation. I’m thinking of all kinds of ways to save/earn money. No, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with money, but I do know that I don’t want to start off my new marriage in major debt, so I’ll do whatever I can to only spend within my means. I found the cheapest possible venue ever (free + cleaning costs), one of my best friends will be my wedding photographer, the musicians will be our talented friends, my mom and sister are going to make my wedding cake, and my mom is also making my wedding dress for me. I have an interview next week for an online English tutoring job so I can make a little more during my free time. I decided to sell a piece a furniture on craigslist, after realizing I don’t actually use it that often. I’m not spending money carelessly on gourmet coffee, which I love. I’m learning to appreciate the free non-gourmet coffee I get at work. I’m learning to get creative with things – decorating my room or making gifts with what I already have (e.g. using nail polish and lipstick as paint for small pieces of artwork), and only buying things that I REALLY need. Unless.. I come across an incredible deal like the other day when I bought a Kate Spade planner from Papyrus for $1 when it originally cost $36. Sometimes you just come across these amazing deals and.. it’s hard not to give in. But this one was a pretty guilt free case. 🙂
I think my point is clear. I have a goal – to pay for my wedding without getting into debt – and I’m taking actual little steps to get out of the decreasing credit card debt I have first (never want credit card debt ever again), and to find ways to save up a substantial amount of earnings by paying the price with my time and energy, knowing that this situation and lifestyle is only temporary.
I’m also borrowing helpful books to read, such as Rich Dad Poor Dad.
That’s all for now. Btw work has been slow today which is why I actually could do some extra writing here.