Lately I’ve been trying to save money so that I’m not completely broke before I hit thirty. In my efforts to not break the bank, I’ve learned that I have two modes: I Am The World’s Greatest Saver and Never Have to Spend Money on Anything Ever Again Because I’m Just So Zen with Living Off of the Earth & Fuck This Shit, Where’s My Credit Card?
My Zen Mode: On the days I am Zen Jen, I truly believe that I can save 97% of my paycheck. Food? Pshh, what’s that? Clothing? I’ll wear the clothes I bought in junior high. Shoes? I’ll walk barefoot in the snow 5 miles uphill. I check over my finances and physically cannot understand how I am seeing the amount of red charges on my screen. There must be some kind of mistake. Maybe my card was stolen. $8.07 for a salad at Prett? $39.45 for a tank top at Ann Taylor? $29.99 for a phone case from Amazon? No, no, no. Completely unacceptable. Never. Happening. Ever. Again.
My Credit Card is on Fire Mode: On the days I couldn’t be further from zen, I basically act as though I am single-handedly keeping the United States Stock Market afloat. I purchase everything from chewing gum (even though I have a huge box from Costco) to heels (which I will never ever ever wear) to exercise clothes (if you’ve read this blog even once you know that’s just laughable). I’ll buy a Groupon for a new restaurant, book a massage at a local spa, or sign up for Amazon Prime because, hello, who doesn’t like free 2-day shipping?
I sit and think to myself Why should I hold myself back from living my life? Do I work to live or live to work? (Also a very easy answer if you’ve read this blog.) Do I really want to eat frozen lunches every afternoon and skip the caffeinated Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato that could very well save someone’s life when it enhances my mood significantly? I can’t imagine being one of those people who dies with a huge bank account and no plane miles under my belt, designer bags on my arm, or expensive perfume on my neck. What’s the point of going to a job day after day to earn a paycheck, yet all the while denying myself the tiny luxuries that make me not want to kill myself – I mean, um, the tiny luxuries that make my day better?
In the end, I have basically decided that the only healthy way to live is to be a mix of both Zen and Fire. If you are always frugal, you will not only be unhappy, but you’ll also get a reputation among your friends as the cheap, boring one who never comes out or gets anyone birthday gifts. If you are always quick-with-the-card, you’ll be in debt up to your eyeballs and will constantly have anxiety when every paycheck is spent before it’s even in your grubby little palm. Plus you’ll probably be a little fatter if you’re anything like me.