When it comes to your money, are you your own worst enemy? (HINT: I AM)

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Am I my own worst enemy when it comes to money? I'm like the business end of a knitting needle to a perfectly round balloon. I am the weasel that gets into a fresh crop of corn. I am Voldemort and my money is Harry Potter. Does that answer the question?

I know better and I know enough to know that had it not been for stupid, stupid, stupid - I'm still beating myself up for this - mistakes during college, I wouldn't have such a terrible and fearful relationship with money. I take Laissez Faire to a whole new level. When someone says, "We need people to spend to stimulate the economy!" I'm the first person to line up at a J. Crew store because it is my patriotic duty to purchase my seventh pair of driving mocassins. When it comes to money it's like I'm standing right there in front of my ING account waving my hands in the air trying to block a shot. Sometimes I hit a rebound or a three pointer but for the most part? I suck.

Before we start calling financial counselors and God forbid, Suze Orman, to come save me from myself I will casually mention that this job has kept me real with my finances over the past two and half years. So I should be thankful that at least once a week I'm sitting around for a few hours really thinking about the state of my finances. How many people actually do that? More often than not we are our own worst enemies when it comes to money because we've mastered the art of avoidance (If you need further proof of how good the collective we excel at ignoring our money problems until they come back to bite us in the collective ass, take a look at the Wall Street Journal over the past six months). Like if we don't open the bills or if we ignore the balance in our checking accounts than all of the problems will just go away. And now I find myself channeling Suze Orman when I say that that, my friends, isn't exactly how it works. It's always there, lurking. I said this of debt once: That when or if you ever find yourself sinking into the pit of debt with it sucking you in like quicksand, that there is this amount of fear that envelopes you and suffocates you. No matter what it's hard to shake it off.

I don't like feeling like I cannot breathe which is why I am now semi-obsessive about my finances. And by semi-obsessive I mean that I have been known to throw down with the accounting department at The Real Job because I want my $50 back. Though what bugs me even more is the assumption that at a certain salary level, money becomes a second hand problem. Which translates - to some - that I need to take a chill pill when it comes to how I handle my finances. But I can't and I won't because I like being able to breathe. I like knowing that I will be OK. I enjoy having a savings account with more than $50 in it.

So maybe I'm less Voldemoort-esque because at least I am aware of what happens with my money. I don't watch it faithfully but it's far better than the days of yore when I would behave as if my parents last names were "Automatic Teller Machine". Money requires baby steps and I'm a little past that walking like a drunken sailor stage but nowhere close to running.

Related Reading:

Saving Advice: I'm Untrustworthy and proud of it

Blunt Money: It's time to bring back National Thrift Week

Reflections of Calm: Consumer Math - What to teach

 

HeatherB also writes - or at least pretends to write - at No Pasa Nada.

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