Confessions: I "Lost" $300/I Have Personal Issues with Money Management

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Through a series of events at the Department of Licensing, I paid $300 in car licensing fees that I shouldn't have paid. This was due mostly to ignorance and due a little bit to embarrassment over being wrong. There is a way to go about getting the money back, and I'm on that path and taking those steps.

$300, big-picture-wise, is not killer. There are bigger sums of money and bigger mistakes. And we do have the money to spare. While we are doing okay financially, it will certainly be a bummer if I'm not able to get the money back, and more importantly, this situation is highlighting to me how disengaged I am with my/our personal finances and with managing money. Money has been intimidating to me for as long as I can remember, all the way back to memories of my parents fretting about the bills and of hypothetical story problems about budgeting in my math textbooks. And because it's been so intimidating to me for so long, I've sort of adopted a hands-off approach, just spending money here and there, trying to be economical and thoughtful, but ultimately figuring that if I really want something and the price is reasonable, I should get it, and there's no need to check bank account figures or limit my spending or set up a budget or keep track of receipts. I've figured that if I'm a good person and I don't go crazy, the money I have will be enough, as if money correlates and expands with my personal righteousness.

So, to sum up: Yeesh, money is hard! And my track record with it has been less-than-stellar, though not horrible, considering that I've always had enough to live on and am not nor have ever been in any debt.

One step I'm taking to resolve this or to do a little better is to go on a frivolous spending fast for a bit. Excluding a purchase that I'm making tomorrow (with store credit), I'm not going to make unnecessary purchases for two and a half months (through the end of March, to be specific). This means no new bottles of nail polish, no fast food, no fashion magazines, no books (I already have so many on the shelf that I need to read, not to mention access to the local library!), and most especially no clothes/shoes/jewelry, etc., from the store where I work. That's the toughie. I have a pretty rad discount, and we have some pretty rad things I could spend it on. But I'm trying to remember that I don't need to own all the beautiful things, that other people can have them and love them too, and that I already have beautiful things in abundance.

Kind of a strange topic to bring up, and I don't know if you care to know how I feel about and deal with money, but now you have that insight. I'm sure I come off sounding kind of weak and silly and materialistic, but I am those things to a certain extent. That's my confession.

And PS, here's the first thing I'm not buying even though I'd really like to: a beautiful vintage leather backpack on eBay (currently with a high bid of $15.50!).

1 comment:

  1. I DO care to know about your money management issues...probably because it's one of my most favorite topics in the world. So this post really excited me. And I hope your buying "fast" goes well. I follow some great personal finance blogs if you decide that money management is a new hobby, or something that you could use more encouragement about (this is my favorite:

    I'll tell you though, your post brought up memories of a financial low-point in my life at the Washington DC DMV. I overpaid somehow (actually I felt swindled) and I cried and I eventually got my money back. It was all so unpleasant. The moral of that story is that DMV/licensing-related stuff can do in the best of us, even when you are anal-retentive about your money like I am/was.


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