October 6, 2014
This stuff is no joke, friends. I'm kind of exhausted. But it's a weird kind of rejuvenating exhaustion. My brain hurts from crunching numbers and thinking harder about what I'm spending money on. I'm suddenly understanding what "feeling your money" means. No more disconnected debit/credit card swiping and not seeing the money physically come out of your account (until you sit down in front of the computer days later and go crap, where did all my money go?). Nope - now I am in the full blown envelope stage. The pay-for-everything-in-cash stage. The let-me-count-out-exact-change-and-feel-this-money-physically-leave-my-hands stage. Every time I hand cash over to a clerk I kind of feel like someone is punching me in the gut. But I'm pretty sure that feeling subsides after awhile.
And going to the grocery store is not as it once was. The old Katie (you know...the old Katie from like 3 weeks ago) liked to wander aimlessly down each aisle, throwing random snacks into her cart, not really paying much attention to what the prices were. The new Katie marches through the aisles with purpose, list in hand, eyes searching for the generic brands of everything needed. It's not quite as fun as it once was, but it's not torture either.
However, these trips do cause a smidgen of anxiety now. I am now on a stricter food budget than before (I was "budgeting" $300/month for groceries...which is the same amount that my budget guru budgets for her family of 4. So, apparently I like food...whatever). This is all fine and everything except for a small-ish detail. I'm not the most skilled cooker. In fact, I kind of suck at cooking. But sometimes I get on a little brave whim and attempt to try a new recipe. Sometimes this works in my favor. Often other times it doesn't. So now I'm walking through these aisles, picking out ingredients for a new dish, secretly freaking out inside because WHAT IF I BURN EVERYTHING?! Maybe I'll just eat cereal for the rest of my life. Ugh. Being an adult is lame sometimes.
But - food anxiety aside, it hasn't been so bad. It's definitely been tough so far as I've been faced with a lot of difficult decisions and difficult conversations. I've had to say no to some trips I wanted to take, things I wanted to do and have some tough conversations with friends to cancel plans; but, honestly, the amount of control I feel (and it's small...but it's there) is what is rejuvenating. For once I am beginning to understand what it feels like to be in control of my money and to not let it control me. It's completely liberating. I'm grateful for friends that are understanding, family that is supportive and an accountability partner that challenges me to make these tough decisions. At our last budget meeting she looked at as I was crying and said you have to be broken in order to really change. So true, it is so true. And a-changing I am.