Money Matters (and other things that matter more)

I moved a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately this meant hours of tediously sorting through and parting with useless papers and junk.

One of the items I came across in my desk was quite timely for this month since last September I spent more money in one month than I had ever spent in such a short timeframe.

I had big plans and ideas for the year ahead, but I was expecting them to coordinate amongst themselves and spread out nicely over the next several paychecks.


The month started with me indulging and applying to the Global Entry Program. I had $100 to spare, so why not splurge a bit on some travel luxury?

But suddenly the rainclouds descended…

  • The hotel for my sister’s bachelorette party in Mexico required payment to hold our room during high season.
  • Flights for Cambodia were filling up quickly and I needed to lock in my ticket to ensure I got seats for my next krama wheel trip.
  • World Domination Summit tickets went on sale and I needed to snag one up fast before they disappeared. 
  • My best friend in New York and I had made a pact that next time Cut Copy made their rare way from Australia to either of our towns we would go see them together. Alas, they were coming to Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin so naturally I had to keep my word and bought a pair of tickets to the festival.
  • My aging Macbook began to suffer several near-death experiences and needed to be replaced in order to avoid catastrophic loss (this was before I learned about the magic of the cloud).
  • I also had to get somewhere really fast (presumably the bank) and got pulled over for speeding.

My credit card balance was growing out of control with all of these things hitting at once. As someone who religiously pays off debts on time, I began to panic. This was exorbitantly beyond my monthly budget.

Writing things out always has a soothing effect on me when I need to reign in my thoughts, so I grabbed some paper and wrote out all the expenses that were weighing on me. I can’t say that seeing that total in big blue marker was much consolation (see: (shit.)), but creating that list did help me come to terms with a couple of things.

September expenses

First, looking at it made me commit to a severe money diet. But more importantly, it also made me smile. A damn big smile.

Daunting figures aside, the list excited me—I was investing in new adventures and in my personal and professional growth. Maybe I had to dig deep into my savings and maybe I had to deal with unpaid debt for a few months, but I’ll take occasional financial discomfort if it means creating meaningful memories and opportunities.

So I pinned the paper by my bedroom door as a daily reminder to watch my spending (and speeding) and to continue to seek out those priceless, smile-inducing ways to live my life to the fullest.

Looking back on the year now—on those trips, on the concert, on the conference, and on the things my trusty new laptop has allowed me to create (including this blog)—those debts have turned into life investments that have paid off exponentially. I’m sure there’s a lesson in personal growth in that speeding ticket somewhere, too.



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