I’m at a point in my life where I am a great deal more stable than I have been in many senses – psychologically, relationship-wise, career-wise, and so on. But despite the progress that I have made, I must admit that, deep down, I have a tiny yet significant obsession that occupies and preoccupies my mind far too often: Money.
Ah yes. Money. The root of all evil, the ever elusive thing that doesn’t grow on trees and still makes the world go ‘round, etc. etc. etc. I know that it cannot be used as a standard of success, that it cannot buy happiness, so why does it creep into my thoughts and plague me so darn much?
The thoughts that swirl around in my brain are always the same: It’s never enough! Where else can I cut corners? I need to pick up more teaching hours! What if (insert unlikely but extreme worst scenario here)?
I know that there are plenty of other things that I should be focusing on, no need to list them all, there are plenty. But I cannot deny that the paranoia has been popping into my head more and more frequently, to the point that it is unhealthy.
I spent a fair amount of time Googling how to deal with money worries, but did not find all of the information particularly helpful. Moreover, I happily signed up for a free online budget tool on Mint.com, but then later realized that it does not include territory outside of the US and Canada. Apart from not being in the United States, where most of the web pages are from, they also do not account for living in a place like Argentina, a country where annual inflation is at least 30% and it is nearly impossible due to legal restrictions to purchase a more stable foreign currency (yeah, can’t really create an app for that!).
Growing up, I was taught that a part of financial security comes with being able to accurately budget and live below your means, but there are so many variables and factors here that are beyond prediction that you are essentially paying hot potato with your income in pesos before they disintegrate. You simply can’t do such a thing here.
Anyways, in my defense, I’m not stingy with my money when it comes to others. I don’t want to come off as a miserable cheapskate. I’m not. I’d actually say that I am pretty generous and give thoughtful gifts to the people who I care about, even if it’s not a special occasion. Yet it’s a source of guilt and a smidge of unnecessary suffering whenever I “treat” myself to delivery food or a new e-book. Yeah, I’ve got some issues.
I know that money can’t buy happiness, but in the immortal words of Lauren Bacall, “It doesn’t automatically depress me, either.” While I wholeheartedly believe that money is not the key to happiness, a lack of it can indeed make life difficult. I don’t aspire to live in a oversized mansion with a three story closet of designer clothes and handbags. I don’t feel compelled to own the latest, greatest, costly gadget, and I am perfectly contented wearing my Swatch watch and not a fancy-schmancy Rolex. But at the ripe age of 31, I’d like to be more financially independent, more equipped to do more to help my mother as she continues to pay off the remainder of my school loans, or at least have a nest egg of some sort or be able to save up for a rainy day or an emergency situation.
Just curious- How do YOU all feel about the topic of money (or lack thereof)? Do you fret about it often, or do you have a more relaxed mentality towards it? Or perhaps something in the middle? Any tips for a worry-wart like me?