My Financial Eating Disorder

I have been on my financial diet for 2 1/2 years and I’m beginning to feel that I have the equivalent to an eating disorder of the pocketbook.  In an effort to pay down my credit card debt and to sustain growth for the future, both short and long term, I have put myself on a $150 cash budget every week, and socking away $75 into savings every week.  For the most part it works pretty well.  I have been able to pay a good majority of my debt and save comfortably.  I have to be careful with my money, which usually means one or two meals out a week ( a social life buzzkill), but great vacations once or twice a year.

My disorder comes as a binge and purge.  I save all week long, calculating down to less than $20 a day, if I can, so that I can spend with reckless abandon at the end of the week.  Flea market, farmer’s market, if I want flowers, foccacia, and donuts, I’m free to spend.  Like, that’s weird, right?  Or maybe I’m a very advanced case of the marshmallow test – staving off impulse for the bigger pay off.  Whichever it is, I’m feeling a bit nuts over the whole thing.

Recently, I did Ron Leiber’s 31 Steps to a Financial Tuneup in an attempt to re-evaluate my diet, to assuage my financial dysmorphia.  I am doing everything right, I just need to squeeze more juice out of the lemon, as bitter and sour as it is.  Let’s face it, I like to spend, that’s how I got in trouble in the first place.  But if I want to move forward, go on exotic vacations, and be able to retire, I have to stick to the diet, even though it makes me unhappy at times.  Like the principles of weight loss – burn more calories than you take in – financial gain is simple, but not easy – save more, spend less.

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