Today is the last post in our 20something series. I have been so honored to do this with Micaela. Her spirit and appetite for life inspires me to embrace adventure. I love that Kiwi and am quite sad to see this series come to an end.
Our last post tackles the topic of FINANCES. Money falls into that same category as politics and religion of “things you shouldn’t talk about in public.” Well, consider us rebels because we are talking about it.
Her post, which you can find HERE, is so relevant and perfectly honest. Make sure you check it out and subscribe to her blog. You won’t want to miss any of her future posts. She’s a world-changer, that one.
I live in the land of many smells. Most of them are quite unpleasant. There’s the stench of oil wells, oil refineries, and, when the wind blows just right, the smell of dairies or feedlots.
The older generations say “that’s the smell of money!” I’m sorry, but I would rather my money smell like the leather of a new Kate Spade bag (preferably this one) or Steve Madden boots (these). And it always struck me as funny that anyone would associate such a ratchet smell with money. It seems that wouldn’t do much for money’s reputation.
Not that money has a very good reputation as it is.
When preparing to write this blog, I spent a lot of time reflecting on money in my life and money in the lives of others. I found plenty of differences; obviously, some people drive Lexus, BMW, and other luxury brands and I don’t. But I found one constant – at some point we have all become frenemies with money. Whether our argument with money is because we have too much or too little, there is a point in our lives where we become dissatisfied with its existence and the strings attached to it.
And it seems to me that our fall-out with money happens at some point in our 20s.
I have had my fair share of money issues. I did not grow up in an affluent home. We had everything we needed and most of what we wanted but never in excess. I was perfectly content with life in the middle class until it came time to face college expenses. After being laughed at by those FAFSA jerks, I became displeased with “enough.” I didn’t want just “enough,” I wanted more than enough so that I could pay for college. There was even a point when I wanted less than enough just to receive grants. I was bitter toward money and I still am. When I consider grad school and the ridiculous cost of higher education, I begin to despise money all over again. I pay my loan installments on time every single month but always with a grimace and an expletive.
That doesn’t stop me from loving what money can give me though. How paradoxical.
I can’t answer financial questions. I don’t keep a specific budget. I pay my bills as soon as I get paid and hope for the best for the rest of the month honestly. So, I often turn to men and women I admire for advice on the topic.
What my Dad taught me:
- Have a savings account. Always. Even if you only have $100 in there – it’s helpful.
- Be generous. Always tip and tip well – regardless of service.
What my Mom and sisters taught me:
- Buy pretty things you can afford – ask Dad for what you can’t afford. (That’s my favorite advice.)
What Lore taught me:
- Tithing is not just writing a check. It’s a calling from God, and it doesn’t have just one face. I encourage you to read her powerful words on the topic of tithing here and here.
What America taught me:
- Don’t live beyond your means. Credit isn’t the devil, but he often hangs out there.
What I can do better:
- Start focusing more on what I NEED rather than what I THINK I need.
- Give more of myself but also of my resources.
- Stop worrying. I’m not going to wake up one morning and all of my money is gone.
- Most of all, trust in God. He is concerned in all aspects of my life – my bank account included. I often think “Oh, He doesn’t care that I overspent this month.” But He does. I think “He is too busy to be bothered with my financial woes.” He’s never too busy. I don’t know when I will finally get that through my thick skull, but hopefully one day. My greatest wish is that I will believe in His power and sovereignty in my own life with as much faith as I have in Him in the lives of others.
I don’t think money and I will ever be good enough friends to gab over a pint of ice cream or have a “Friends” marathon, but I’d like to at least coexist in peace. Every single day is a new lesson in finance, and I hope I can apply every lesson toward creating a better tomorrow for myself and maybe a future family. Until then, I am avoiding Dave Ramsey like the plague because I’m pretty sure he won’t like what he’d see in my bank account, and he kind of scares me.