Friday, August 20, 2010
I got to thinking about money lately because, in the midst of the "epic of epic epicness" that is my job search, I finally came across a job that sounds perfect for me, is in line with my career goals, and I think I'd love to do. So, I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I am - there's gotta be a catch, right? I mean that's how life generally works. And you got it! The catch would be that the salary is approx. $6,000 less than what I'm making at my current job, and what I've become accustomed to making over the past 15 mths. Doesn't sound like a huge decrease? Do the math - it means bringing in approx. $500 less per month.
I had to think really hard - is this salary cut worth it to me? I did the number-crunching and there's no question that this pay cut would be tough and would mean cutting out a few expenses. This obviously is not ideal, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I would be very disappointed to give up the chance at a great job just because of the salary. Ultimately I decided that I can better handle a more frugal lifestyle than another random, crappy job that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I'm passionate about.
Obviously, the job isn't mine yet and maybe I won't even get it, but in any case it was an excuse to think about money and how I value it. It was eye-opening to actually write down the amounts I pay out and to what each month and add it all up. I would consider myself to be smart with money and I'm in pretty good shape financially compared to others my age - I'm not perfect but I don't have any student loan debt, don't own a car or a house, I live alone and therefore spend less on groceries and power, etc, I always pay my bills on time or early, and always pay more than the minimum payment on my credit cards (and pay on them twice per month rather than just once). But I've never really had a budget - I've kind of just paid things without recording or thinking much about the amounts - and the total of my monthly expenses surprised me once it stared me in the face.
If I do happen to be offered the aforementioned job*, I'm not going to lie, I would not be happy about having to make changes to my lifestyle and budget. I know it would be tough to get used to and I would most likely have to skip out on things I want to do because I wouldn't be able to afford them. However, I also think it would be liberating and educational - having less money would force me to look more closely at cash flow and be more responsible with it. It would force me to get more creative with "cutting corners" and ways to make extra cash on the side. It would force me to get real with the amount of debt I have, get more serious about paying off what I have before adding more, and get more serious about the future - savings, RRSP's, etc.
I guess money is a case of quality over quantity - it's not so much how much money you make, but how you spend it that counts. There's nothing wrong with spending money on a new top or magazine, as long as you prepare for that and don't do it all the time. Just like in dieting, spending is all about moderation. When it comes right down to it, I don't need much. And I'm guessing that buying fewer things will ultimately make me appreciate each thing all the more...
...though more than likely all of this is a bunch of bull, I'm completely delusional and/or overly optimistic, and will be crying into my food stamps about how broke I am in another month or two. I guess we'll see.
So, what are your thoughts? What financial challenges do you have? Do you keep a budget? How do you cut corners or work on the side to keep/make extra cash?
I think these song lyrics perfectly encapsulates my complex feelings/thoughts about money, so I thought I'd share:
'Money' - Pink Floyd
Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay
And your O.K.
Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team
Money get back
I'm all right Jack
Keep your hands off my stack
Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that
Do goody good bullshit
I'm in the hi-fidelity
First class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet
Money, it's a crime
Share it fairly
But don't take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil
But if you ask for a raise
It's no surprise that they're
Giving none away
*I guess we will see what happens! Don't worry - if I hear anything, you will too! I'll be shouting it from the rooftops*