I’m broke. Not just a little strapped for cash, but actually busted-arsed broke. The problem is, I frequently choose to ignore this fact, and as a result I often find myself making financially irresponsible decisions. I buy the French cheese that I am craving and the sommelier-recommended bottle of wine to wash it down with. (In fact, that was my dinner tonight. No, really.) I find money that was vaguely ear-marked for rent, or bills, or something equally as boring disappearing bit by bit on frivolous gratification like new earrings, lip gloss, a new bedspread for my room because I’m tired of looking at the old one.
I know that this is silly behaviour. I am a grown up. I should be capable of making sensible decisions when it comes to money. I shouldn’t think that it’s ok for my bank balance to dip below $50 as pay-day approaches. I certainly shouldn’t think that it’s ok to spend $36 of that on the ingredients for a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, no matter how mouthgasmingly delicious it looks in my Jamie Oliver cookbook. And I definitely shouldn’t be tempted to dump another 60 bucks on my credit card to pay for other sundry expenses (gin, tonic water, lemons, cigarettes, those lime and pepper flavoured chips that are kind of gross and kind of delicious at the same time). But I do.
The biggest problem with my kind of spending (the kind that involves instant but fleeting gratification of the olfactory senses) is that, apart from a hangover or a protruding stomach containing what I affectionately refer to as a ‘food baby,’ there is nothing to show for it. It’s what I imagine it might feel like to pay for sex – you are so busy enjoying yourself at the time that it’s easy to forget about the shame and disappointment that will inevitably follow when the pleasure has faded and all you’re left with is a depleted bank account. At least if I spent my money on designer fashions or Star Wars figurines I’d have some kind of tangible evidence of where my hardly-earned pay has gone.
I try to pass my spending habits off as a by-product of my creative personality, as though it’s actually an ‘artistic’ use of my funds rather than simply blatant irresponsibility. I’ve tried making budgets, but those who know me can attest to my complete lack of organisation, which makes actually following a budget all but impossible. In actual fact, I can be quite frugal when I feel that I absolutely have to. I’ve been know to re-use the odd tea bag or put together a ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ style meal using just the contents of my pantry and a few rashers of bacon. (Sidenote: I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad meal if bacon is involved. Pigs be delicious.) I just don’t feel the need to pinch the pennies as often as I should.
Here’s what I believe to be the source of the problem: Money is boring. I spoke to a guy in a bar once who was a financial planner and kept talking to me about investments and superannuation. I was so insanely bored that I was tempted to cut my left arm off and throw it at him so I could distract him long enough to get the hell outta there. Money and I are not friends, which is why we always part company as soon as possible and spend no real quality time together. We are not compatible, even though we have a ton of mutual friends. We’ve tried, but it just doesn’t seem to work.
And that’s why money sucks.