It’s exam season and I asked my dad to grab me a coffee if there’s a coffee shop on his way back from grocery shopping. He did and I was grateful for that. He then pronounced that only the rich can afford to buy coffee the way I do. He said “$3 everyday for a month is $90, so that’s $1080. You can nearly by an Apple laptop with that.”
Fair point. Though not exactly the best thing to say to someone supremely stressed out.
But it did remind me that one of the most valuable lessons I learned growing up was the value of money. I was crap with money in my high school years. Spending upwards of $10 a day on junk food for lunch and snacks. Thinking back, those hours were miserable. I was lonely, even if I was surrounded by people. No one understood me. Still now, no one understands me. But I don’t care about it like I did.
My first paying job earned me $12 an hour. I was a media research assistant and spent my days calling people all over the country. I got yelled at, swore at, hung up on. I would watch the seconds tick by, impossibly slowly, whilst waiting for the phone to dial. I didn’t hate the job. I think I would’ve hated babysitting because I’m not good with children. I didn’t hate the job.
I make more than $12 an hour now. Not enough to brag about, but more. But everytime I buy an “un-necessity” I hesitate. I do research, I shop around, I wait for deals and I generally give up on it if I can’t justify the purchase. “It makes me happy” doesn’t cut it for me.
Food was the only thing I ever let myself go on. Even so I also did my prep work to make sure I was getting the best meal/snack for my money. But my dad’s calculations now makes me stop. I can’t afford to be this way anymore.
So one of my new year’s solutions (to start as soon as tomorrow) is to cut all outside food and drink purchases. I will allow myself ONE indulgence a fortnight, and I will do this till Feb at least. By then, hopefully, I’ll be in the habit of it and won’t have to be so strict. But until then-no allowances.
The tricky thing is that this is right in the smack of the holiday season. I have people to meet and places to go. Sigh, already this Sunday I’m doing brunch with some girl friends at a semi posh place. It will be my first test. I’m looking at the menu now and the only items under $10 are salads. Everyone knows I’m not a salad girl. This will be hard.
I’m going to give myself a food budget: $50 till the end of Dec.
UPDATE: I wormed my way out of brunch and got myself a coffee to compensate for that. Sigh, that’s $2 off then.