Recently, very interesting narratives have been shared on Twitter. The one that has picked up momentum is the topic of transparency. I actually wrote about my finances a year ago, but I’d like to revisit it in light of our most recent discussions. Please note: this isn’t a call out post or anything of that sort, but rather, a post to be more honest about what’s going on in real life versus what is portrayed on the ‘gram or internet.
I reread my previous post, and it’s pretty accurate. I’m thrifty by nature, picky, and have been buying lingerie for almost 10 years. I’ve worked shitty jobs, dealt with shitty people, but in the end, had things come together. I’m also older than most people who are active on social media and have become more established in my career. Still no kids and still dislike going out. :P
Looking back on my post, one thing stands out to me: my budget was being treated more like an expense account, and I was not being entirely aware of just how much I was spending. I was paying all of my bills on time, had no credit card debt, but somehow, I just never seemed to have that much liquid cash. It wasn’t until October 2015 did I seriously sit down and reassess my habits and literally began to track every. single. penny. that I spent. On top of it, I created a proactive budget with distinct categories that itemized every single monthly expense. Back then, I was using Mint.com. Now, I would not recommend it. Instead, I would use a spreadsheet or any budgeting software that has you manually entering all of your expenses – no import. I currently use YNAB4.
If you asked me now, I can tell you exactly how much I spent on groceries in April: $171.59. Or I could tell you how much I’ve spent on cat food since January: $114.31. Or something perhaps more relevant, on lingerie (adjusted), $433.12.
Unlike most people, I’m going to actually give some real numbers. This is an excerpt of a portion of my budget from April. Note: some “expenses” like property taxes, home maintenance, car repairs, vehicle registration, vet care, etc. have not been included in the monthly expense category but are in long term savings (not shown):
As you can see, I’m not perfect (nor is Comcast, and I’m still waiting for my damned internet bill to be adjusted). There are times where I do overspend, but I usually adjust my budgets for next month or give myself more money in a category by removing it from another. Since I started proactively managing my money, I’ve seen a remarked improvement in my overall spending as well as my net worth:
No Y axis because although I believe in transparency, I’m still not comfortable with telling strangers on the internet how much liquid cash I have. (Just to clarify, the red are my debts where I have promotional financing with 0% interest. My philosophy: if you can’t afford it, don’t finance it. I could pay these debts off immediately, but I prefer to invest my money elsewhere.)
All of this brings me to today. It’s difficult to say and talk about publicly, but since we’re being transparent, I was laid off early this month due to the energy industry taking a huge hit. (Rejoice, haters!) I know for a fact if I didn’t have my hands around my finances, I would’ve probably had a heart attack. I have a little bit of unemployment coming in, surprise severance pay, leftover vacation bank, and some liquid cash for emergencies, but my goal is to find a job ASAP before I have to touch that emergency fund. I’m not sad, and I’m not worried… yet.
Frankly, I have enough lingerie to wear and write about that I never did, so there probably won’t be a huge lapse in content. Then again, I’m not super consistent with updating, soooo… ;)
For more perspective, please visit these lovely ladies who have waxed poetic on this subject:
– Morning Madonna – Life: Buying Transparency
– Lingerie Detective: Money Talk (series)
– Holy Brail – Let’s talk about money, honey: lingerie retail therapy
– Of Lambs and Lace – Lingerie Blogging & Financial Transparency
– The Lingerista – Lingerie and Full Frontal Finance