Monday, December 11, 2006

Me and My Money

Monday’s always remind me to manage my money (I’m an alliteration freak, because there is also Financial Fridays.) My money and I have always had a love/hate relationship. While never being without funds for long, I have run short due to my poor handling of my money.

In many ways, I am a spoiled little witch. I never lacked for any of the things money could buy. My parents, being WWII babies, made sure that their children would never lack the latest fashion, copious amounts of food, lots of coats and shoes and a trail of useless hobbies. We wanted, we got. The pile around our Christmas tree looked like my mother bought out the entire neighborhood stores. My mother is the Queen of Sales.

This is not to say I haven’t always worked hard. I began babysitting at ten. My first “real” job was when I was fifteen and I have worked steadily ever since. I just always did with my money what I felt like doing. I never budgeted. I never saved.

I have an incredibly lackadaisical feeling about money. I have been known to give my money away before paying my rent because I always knew there would be more coming in. I often ran out of gas because I spent my money on more fun stuff. Most times I just don’t want to think about money.

It isn’t that I don’t know what to do with money. Every job I’ve had involved bookkeeping and now I manage our company’s 401k, payroll and I am training and advising our current bookkeeper. I am good at math. I buy things on sale.

It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I began to take money more seriously, but old habits die hard. What follows are some of my behaviors related to money:

I balance our checkbook in my head.
I pay for everything in cash.
I have coin jars all over my house. Makes me feel safe.
I pick up every coin I see on the ground, even the pennies that are tails up and I thank God every time I find money.
I remember due dates for bills and pay them online at the last possible moment.
If I have to mail a bill, it will be late.
I live within my net pay amount, so I have my 401k and my savings automatically deducted and I never miss the money.
My current car was the only new car I ever owned and I will never have another car payment ever again. Ever!
I don’t haggle over restaurant bills.
I don’t loan money, but I will give it away.

What are some of your Mad Money Mannerisms?


  1. I like your casual attitude toward money, even if it's changed lately. I don't like to worry too much about money. One thing I did that is probably not a good idea: I stopped balancing my checkbook a couple of years ago. Up until then, I did it regularly. Now I just take my chances.

  2. Funny, the difference between the generations, huh? My parents were pre-WWII babies, and they left me in a basket with a cheese sandwich on the doorstep of a Catholic Convent. (Which, by the way, is considered child abuse today.)

    And, Nessa, how come none of the things on your "Money Behaviors" list turned up on your "I'm weird" list?

  3. Rhea: My attitude about money brings dispair to all who know me. I was never meant to be responsible about anything. I should have flitted through gardens in gosemer robes.

    Al: A cheese sandwich - that's a choking hazard.

    Maybe six wasn't enough.

    My word verification:


  4. Re: "choking hazard", Nessa - Naah. I packed the sandwich. I was twelve.

  5. Nessa, I am obsessive about picking up coins off the ground, no matter what shape they are in; even pennies that are tail side up.

    I don't obsess over money, though, and am rarely in debt.

  6. Al: That must have been a big basket they put you in then.

    Grunty: What is it with that coin thing, do you think? I love coins.

  7. This is all excellent advice. I would find this one "I pay for everything in cash" very tough, however.

    But if surely would remind me of how much I spend on things -- so much easier to place down a credit card, much tougher to count out ... $20, $40, $60, ugh.

    Maybe I should try harder to adopt this idea. Thanks!

  8. spending it then regretting it later

    hence why im now applying for my loan 3 months late...

    im sooo bad :(

  9. We like to buy bloggers gifts such as coin sorting machines.

    We use Quicken to track our balances.

    I seldom write a check and seldom have cash on hand. If I can't use a debit card, I tend to not buy it.

    My first credit card limit was $500.

  10. Actually, I think the majority of your money behaviors are all pretty healthy! If more people thought like that, there wouldn't have so many in debt!

    I'm like egan-- I use my debit card for everything, and rarely have cash on me.

  11. Mr. Fab: Mrs. Fab is officially declared a goddess.

    Dan: Credit cards are evil. They are a tool developed by the devil to lure us to sin. (I can’t handle credit very well.)

    CECCG: I’ve been known to do that, too. I find it easier to be responsible when someone else is depending on me.

    Egan: No, must sort coins by hand. Very important to maintain the tactile sensation.

    DCMM: I rarely have cash on me because my husband and my daughter always take mine.

  12. I grew up pretty poor, so my experience with money was also coupled with guilt. I would wear my shoes until they had holes because I felt guilty for asking for new shoes.

    Now that I'm an adult and make a lot of money, I still have a very difficult time buying everyday normal things. I have a tough time spending more than $50 on good tennis shoes, for example.

  13. I'm exactly the same way as you. I live within my means. I pay my bills on time, I take 500$ cash out of the bank once a month and live on that. I use my c/c wisely and pay attention. My parents always gave me what I wanted but I have always worked. When I lived at home I paid rent. When I moved out, my parents gave me a check for 8k that they saved of my own money. Even now, when i take money out of the bank I hide it so I don't spend it all. I don't loan money, but I will give you what you need. I don't expect it back, but I won't say no if you give the offer to repay it.

  14. Your current car is the only one you've ever owned? How old is it? Wow. I keep cars forever, but even I've had 2 of them (but I'm only 31).

    I always mail my bills, and about 1/4 the time they're late. Amazingly, I've always been able to talk my way out of late fees.

  15. The Pheonix: I was never poor, but my parents were, so I did learn some of their frugality. I have a really hard time paying full price for something. Usually it has to be at least 50% off before I'll buy it, even if it's something I really want.

    And I would never pay that much for shoes.

    Rachel: You have a good relationship with money. I'm doing the samething with my daughter. When she moves out she'll have a nice suprise.

    Anita: No, no, no, it's the only time I bought a car new. I've always had used cars which I've paid for in full up front. I hated having a car payment. I will only buy used in the future. It's only a car. If it gets me where I want to go, I'm happy.

  16. First, what's this thing about alliteration? I don't understand it at all !
    Money, Money, that song from Mama Mia is stuck in my head, thanks to your post today.
    I can balance my checkbook on my head,too.
    I would pay for everything with cash, too, but there's not a slot in my computer screen for me to insert the bills into.
    I have jars all over my house and they are full of peanut butter.
    Those are probably my coins you area finding.
    Bills...oh my gosh...gotta go...I think a couple or 10 of mine were due last week.
    Signed: swampwitch:
    Blog Title: Anecdotes, Antidotes, and Anodes
    sub title: Moldy Musings of a Mom

  17. Ugh, money issues! I'm great with other peoples money, and without Pap I'd probably be better with my own. Bills that don't let me pay on-line are always late for me too.

  18. I am more an excellent money fondler than I am a good money handler.

  19. Fooey!!! I wrote a ditty and lost it somewhere and that is the story of money! I had some and gee it just disappeared. But they say we can't take it with us so it really does't matter. Food on the table and utilities paid...thats the purpose and function of money!

  20. Hi Nessa....I came to catch up on blog reading today....caught up on yours and even read the story on your other site- and I am so impressed! You are very talented. Someday when you are published, I'll tell everyone that I knew you when!!