I am very bad with handling my money. Always have been. My parents avoided discussing the topic, considering it somewhat tacky. This left me at a distinct disadvantage when I became an adult and had to figure money things out. Their approach hasn't served me all.

But I'm trying to do better. I still don't have a budget, per se, but I am trying not to buy expensive shoes, just because, these days. And it pains me, but I'm doing better with gritting my teeth and walking away from the (super fabulous boy oh boy could i use those really adorable lime green stiletto heels with really cute ankle straps) shoes instead of whipping out the debit card.

But I still DO feel pain when I have to spend a bunch of money on something ostensibly practical that I KNOW shouldn't cost so much. Like today, I had to spend THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to have my fence shored up so my dogs don't keep getting out.

You must understand that I hate this ugly chainlink fence. I do not want to spend one penny on it. It came with my house, which I love, when I bought it. My intention is to either replace the ugly chainlink fence or at the very least, get flowering vines grwoing all over it so you can no longer see the fence. I haven't gotten around to doing either yet (have only had the house 11 months), but my three dogs have figured out how to wiggle under the bottom of the fence.

So after trying makeshift solutions (I'm not very handy with repairs), I called around to get estimates on fixing the bottom of the fence. Different people offered different solutions, but this one guy's idea -- to add tension wire along the bottom all the way around the yard -- seemed most sensible. So then I called and got estimates on having that done, and his estimate was the best, believe it or not.

So today this nice man and his son came and spent a grand total of maybe 90 minutes wiring up the bottom of my ugly fence, making it dogproof, and I forked over the cash.

I think I should go into the handyman biz. I would definitely make far more than I do working in television production and/or freelance writing.

And I am still not convinced that what he did will actually work. We shall see...


Anonymous said...

Well, as a newly-single woman with ex-husband problems, you'd better learn how to deal with money. In fact, every woman should! You never know when you'll need that knowledge.
It's a shame your parents thought it was 'tacky'--that probably means they had lots of it or wanted to pretend they did. Unless you're counting on them or the ex to pay for yours kids' college or retirement, you'd better get busy.
Nolo Press has lots of excellent guides. I especially like their "Get a Life!" book about planning for retirement. Here's the 'money deal' in a nutshell.
If you aren't living within your means now, you're in trouble and desperately need a budget to get out of the hole.
If you are living within your means now, take an easy step like having $$ put in a 401(k) or something similar *before* you even see it. That way you'll never miss it, and you'll have started a nice little nest egg for your 'golden years.'
How to figure out what you spend--go back over all your income and outlay for the last 2 years and put it in categories. You'll probably be shocked. The shocker for me was how much I spend eating lunch out. I have a sneaking suspicion that you're going to be surprised when you find out how much pretty shoes have been costing you....
Good luck! It's worth it when you don't have to worry so much about it anymore.
And not to be Miss Total Gloom and Doom, but I do hope you've updated your will and powers of attorney since the divorce. You don't want Mr Father's Rights deciding whether or not they pull the plug on you....or having access to your bank account.

katie allison granju said...

I won't disagree with one single thing you have said here.

All good advice.


Tana said...

It's not too late to instill healthier money attitudes in your children, and rehabilitate your own financial future...I had a similar lack of information about $ and found these two books put me on a good path:


Good luck!