This first week of Money Drunk/Money Sober you track what you spend, without judgment. While it hasn’t been a full week, it’s close enough. While ideally you write it down in a notebook, I opted to install an expense tracking app on my Droid in addition to my checkbook balancing. I like my checkbook app because it tells me how much money I have left – but it’s become background noise. The iWallet app I chose to install analyzes WHAT I spend my money on in a way that the simple checkbook app does not.
I’ve used computer money management tools since I first got MS Money with the laptop I got as a high school graduation present. It made it very clear to me that I was essentially financially screwed from the first day of my freshman year of college on – I needed that part time job, and my parents were determined to block me from working an off-campus job. Their delusions were based in their own college experiences, their refusal to admit to themselves that their experience had no bearing whatsoever on college as I was to experience it, and that my sister did not really go to college so much as she feigned a few classes and proceeded to live off our parents. It was no secret that my family had financial issues – holy shit did they. But it wasn’t always problems that made sense to me, even back then. My mother enjoyed bullying me over being fat – but it wasn’t until I started showing real signs I might be able to manage financial independence (something my sister still has not accomplished) did she move her abusiveness from the subtle to the outright. She wanted me dependent and co-dependent. My father’s last words to me were, I’m not kidding, “Do you have any money?” I pretended he was offering, but it’s well within the realm of possibility that he was asking me for money – he’d been doing it since I was a child. The metaphorical garment of money problems as an addiction actually fits perfectly – my family acts like a bunch of mean drunks, but what they’re drunk on is their delusional financial behavior.
With this in mind, and with my understanding of where my damage comes from, I’m wholly unsurprised at what I find on my analysis chart. After student loans/debt payments, my largest expenditures go to the following two categories:
Clothing – at 42.97
Food – 39.60
Of course that’s what I spent on. In my mind, clothing is independence. The first thing I did with money I’d saved a lot of (after banking back a percentage for college) was to buy clothing that was not the usual rags of reflection-of-Alice that my mother forced me to wear. Clothing to me is independence, dignity, and a promise to myself that I will someday be safe.
Food is love. My inner life was especially rough this week – so that too makes sense. I was self-comforting. Finding things outside my relationship with Mike that make me feel loved and comforted is still very difficult for me. One part of my mind holds onto the belief I am being rejected because I am fat, because that’s the way it was when I was a child. Now I realize almost everyone is walking around with damage, and not everyone has hit the place in their life where they want to do something about that damage – or worse, they think the damage makes them better artists, stronger people, or some other belief that leads to disturbing behavior to satisfy a warped self-image. I know consciously that the only people who reject me because of my fatness or people whom in themselves merit rejection – a healthy friendship can not ever be about approval seeking.
I don’t guilt trip myself for either habit – I get a great deal of satisfaction from collecting a well-curated wardrobe, and I have an excuse that has tumbled into a valid reason with Fat Chic. The food problems are part of a wound, and I am working on that wound. Sometimes the wound gets close to closing; the fatness remains even after the hurt heals.
This also shows me where, with a little more consciousness, I could shepherd my cash. Those two items are $89.67 I could put towards Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way online course. I have around $90 saved up since January in a literal piggy bank – but with a small amount of abstinence, I could easily get to the $200 required in a month. I’d also like to start getting massages once a month. They’re extremely beneficial to my allergic conditions (when I get a masseuse that can shut the f up) and in they give a great boost to my quality of life. I could spend money where it gives me the most benefit, rather than where it makes me feel good in the short-term. To do this, I need consciousness.
So far the little pie chart iWallet produces is great for giving me a consciousness boost.