Thursday, April 28, 2011


"All the women, who independent.."

Sorry Beyonce, I can't throw my hands up 'atcha. Because as much as I don't like to admit it I am independent...

...financially dependent that is. And it!

This all comes up because today is both the saddest and most hopeful day of the month; the day before pay day. Whatever genius decided to enforce once a month paychecks at my work is kind of an, well you choose a word. I've had almost 12 paychecks and I still struggle to find a way to keep my head above water the last week before pay day.

Lets take this back a notch. Being the hands-on (cough, control freak) person that I can be at times, I want to be independent in every way, shape and form. Which I guess is a good thing when you look at the alternative. My parents so graciously helped me all through college, paying my rent and groceries for years. So when I moved to Philadelphia and realized that not only would my schooling be paid for, but I'd be making what I thought at the time was a pretty generous stipend I was ecstatic. This was my chance to prove that I could do it on my own. Be an adult. Support myself. Visions of spreadsheets and budgets danced in my head (I know.. I'm sick). When I did the math and realized that my rent was going to take up about 2/3 of my shrinking paycheck, I found out I was embarking on more of a challenge than I'd anticipated, but I was determined to make it work. 

What was my first lesson in reality? You can't plan for everything (it hurts to even say those words). My very tight budget worked this way: deduct rent, SEPTA pass, cable & internet and groceries and I'd have the rest to spend and save.  But what didn't I factor in? Books, twice a year school fees, birthdays, Christmas presents, school activities, work clothes and two plane tickets to Seattle. Suddenly this wasn't as easy as it once seemed.

Thankfully, I have great parents. Parents who realize that I am still in school, and would rather have me pay higher rent living in a safe and secure area than saving the $250 and praying I don't get jumped on the way home from the subway. They saw me struggling and let me know that what I was living on was a stipend, something that was suppose to assist my living not something to live on. And I think they knew I wasn't buying prime rib and making it rain all weekend. So they stepped in and helped. And don't take that the wrong way Mom and Dad because I literally couldn't do it without you--but I hate it. Because although I am working hard for my money I feel like every dollar I spend isn't just mine, its theirs. I get financial guilt when I spend our money on the extras once and awhile--a baseball game, a trip to Seattle, a night out to dinner, that round of beers that I probably didn't have the money to buy, a first second third Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee for the week. But I know that the guilt is better than the flip side; spending blindly with no concern. And it helps me evaluate if I really need x,y and z. Like a prep course for when I am finally on my own two feet, so I guess in a way its helping me. 

Most people may think I'm crazy, but I long for the day of financial independence. Its just part of my weirdo controlling tendency. I think that part of it is my impatience too--I want it now, feasible or not feasible. So until that's more of a reality, I'm accepting (and appreciating) help where help is given, and know that one day I'll have a job, an income and someone to share these costs with. How exciting right?

More importantly, I know one day Beyonce will be proud of me..

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