If you’ve started budgeting and have wanted to tell your friends about it, but haven’t had the courage/know-how/time to do so, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to make this your own and share it around.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter. Maybe when I was applying to college? No, it was probably when I was applying to be a contestant on Survivor. Anyway, I’m writing you a letter because I’d prefer not to have to say these words out loud. Sure, I could text you or shoot you a Snapchat, but brevity and my slight uncomfortableness (I’m sure that’s a word) with this topic probably won’t play nice.
Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve changed? That’s a question. If you’re shaking your head, then stop reading this, tear this letter up, and/or light your computer on fire. But if you have noticed a change, maybe you haven’t been able to quite put your finger on what’s up. Do I seem a little more antisocial? A little more reserved in accepting invitations to hang? A little more prone to use the :\ instead 😀 in my texts?
I never intended to keep a secret. If it’s no one’s business but my own, it’s not really a secret. So if you’re keeping track at home, it’s a secret, but it’s not a secret — shhh! But even if I don’t need to explain myself, I want to. Some days I feel a little lonely, and some days are kind of hard. Don’t get me wrong — everything is fine. More than fine. In fact, I’ve never felt more freedom and control. But it’s complicated.
You see, I’m on a budget. And a pretty tight one to boot. I realized the old me (the younger one) wasn’t doing my bank account any favors. My financial trajectory was going nowhere fast. And I don’t want nowhere. I’ve got big dreams, peeps! Besides being a Survivor contestant, I want to be debt free. I want to get out of this paycheck to paycheck crap. And then I want the good stuff: owning a home, helping my kids with college, affording vacations, retiring comfortably. Despite my prior attitudes, those things aren’t trivial to me. Not anymore.
I’m not there yet. I’m still deep in the trenches, head down and trudging forward (don’t worry, I still believe in showering and stuff). But I’m making progress. To my credit, I am farther along with this than the 6,000 DIY projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest and said I’d do. In short, I’m trying to make sacrifices today that will make tomorrow better. My parents would be proud of that last sentence. I kinda want to delete it now.
Here are some of my recent oddities you may have noticed:
- Bringing my lunch – I don’t actually love eating homemade sandwiches and leftovers as much as it may seem. But if PB&J’ing all day erryday is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Scratch that, I do.
- Drinking coffee from the break room – I miss the cute barista at Starbucks, as well as hearing them announce my given name, Beastmaster, when my drink is ready. But the office coffee is getting the job done just fine.
- Inviting you to a Saturday morning matinee – Seriously though, those Saturday morning matinees can’t be beat for the price or the rows upon rows of empty chairs I can call my own.
- Checking books out at the library – The 90’s are dead, but lucky for me, checking out books from the library is still a real thing. No, it really is. The money I used to spend on buying books can now be spent on a different splurge — I actually have to pick and choose them now.
- Murder face when someone suggests we split the check – Oh no you didn’t! I got a water, an appetizer for a meal, and used all restraint in my being from getting the tres leches cake so that I could stay on budget. I’ll pay for myself, thankyouverymuch.
- Giving homemade gifts – I’m getting better at knitting every day, and your birthday’s coming up…
- Passing on dinner for dessert – As much as I love a good meal out, my bossy budget says “nope.” So when I suggest that I’ll meet you after for dessert instead, it’s not because I’m trying to ruin your diet or make you fat. Promise.
- Calling the great outdoors my new gym – Okay, so I didn’t give up my gym membership because I hate bros. I mean, I do hate them. But my budget hates them (and the monthly gym fee) more.
More of these will be added to the list before this is through. Maybe I’ll cancel cable to save up for a mini-vacay. Or nix the weekly doughnut run. Nah, probably not that one. But mark my words, I’m going to do it. I’m serious about getting serious about my money.
But I need you to know one last thing.
I’m still the same me. (Yay! or Sorry to disappoint! depending on who’s reading this.) I’m still the same person who loves all the nice stuff I used to buy in a “treat yo’self” moment. I even kind of miss seeing the gym bros. But for the time being, my priorities have just shifted a little. And I want it this way.
Please don’t stop inviting me to do stuff that costs money. And please don’t offer to pay for me. Sometimes I’ll join you, and other times I won’t. This is my journey, and I don’t want it to affect you or our friendship in any way. But I wanted you to know about it because it’s kind of a big deal in my life right now. And I’m terrible at keeping secrets.
Anyway, Taco Tuesday’s coming up… join me for some half-off tacos?
All my love,