One day about five and a half years ago, when I was living in Vermont (a time, by the by, when my student debt was only half—half!—of what it is today), I was hungry, so I bought an avocado at the general store for about a dollar.
Okay, that’s a bit misleading, because yeah I was hungry, but I also had a much larger plan. I ate the avocado, and then I suspended the pit in some water, and I waited for it to hatch. If you have ever done this, you know that it can take many weeks. This one was particularly slow to awaken. I started the pit in April, and the first crack appeared in August. So I named her August.
Typically the financial choices we make at different times in our lives all impact one another in a pretty obvious way. In other words, my net worth at this moment is largely a culmination of past choices I’ve made about spending and saving and borrowing and investing. That’s kind of the underlying principle of personal finance, right? I could even argue that if I hadn’t bought that $7 Jamba Juice last summer, I would have $7 more in my bank account right now than I actually do. And in the personal finance sphere we talk a lot about trying to make better choices with our money, such as saving and investing our discretionary income instead of spending it on Jamba Juice.
Do you ever wonder about the impact that your childhood reading material had on your financial choices as an adult? Nope? Just me? Oh. Okay, no problem. But stay with me anyway, because I think this could be an important topic and I definitely want to know what you think.
As someone who has only recently started to become financially conscious (we’re talking less than a year), I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the financial choices I’ve made as an adult and trying to understand what factors might have influenced those choices. Not so I can make excuses for myself, mind you, but just so I can understand myself a little better. And since books had a huge impact on me growing up, I thought they could be an interesting possible factor to investigate.
So let’s rewind about 20 years.
If my sources are correct, it is now November, which means that my October Challenge to purchase zero restaurant food or takeout is officially over.
Rather than going through each day individually (since it occurred to me that maybe it is a bit of a leap to assume that just because you are reading my blog, you care what I had for dinner last Wednesday?), I will just offer a few brief highlights:
I did not choose a black and orange theme on purpose for Halloween — it just happened!
So the last time I went to get a new phone, this is what happened:
Me: Hi, my phone stopped working this afternoon, can I have a new phone please?
Sprint salesman: Sure, what kind of phone and service agreement are you interested in?
Me: Like an iPhone. Like the cheapest iPhone.
Sprint salesman: Ok, would you like —
Me: Whatever you recommend. Just a phone that works. And a normal service agreement.
Okay everyone, today is the day that I disclose something about my debt that I don’t usually talk about. And the reason I don’t usually talk about it is because…well, to be honest, I only fully came to terms with it this week. It’s a tough and somewhat embarrassing topic for me, but I also think it’s a pretty important issue, so here goes.
Welcome to the travel edition of the October Challenge! During this past week—the third week of the challenge—I flew to Arizona for a three-day conference, which meant that not buying restaurant food suddenly became a lot more challenging than it had been for the first two weeks of the challenge. I leave it to you, reader, to judge whether or not I followed the rules.
Ok, folks, this has been a long time coming. I’ve changed a lot of my spending and saving behavior over the past ten months or so since I had my *Aha!* moment of finally becoming financially conscious. I’ve started tracking my spending religiously, contributing to my Roth IRA each month as well as to my Betterment account, and, as you may know, I’m committed to a ban on purchasing restaurant food and takeout for the month of October.
BUT. There are still several* consistent monthly expenses in my spending tracking spreadsheet that need to be talked about, and the first one on the list is yoga.
I’m proud to announce that I’m halfway through my October Challenge to not buy any restaurant food or takeout, and so far so good! Here’s a rundown of what I did for dinners and weekend meals this past week, as these are the times I would typically resort to takeout:
Today I’m honored to report that The Yachtless has been nominated for a Liebster Award! The purpose of this award is to recognize and support newer blogs, and the nomination comes from Jennifer at Simply + Fiercely, a lovely, inspiring blog about traveling, living simply, and loving life. I definitely recommend checking it out – among other things, she offers some amazing tips for finding cheap airfares. Thanks, Jennifer, for thinking of The Yachtless!
As part of the nomination, Jennifer posed 11 questions for me to answer. Here they are, with my answers: