Friday, August 20, 2010

Money (it's a crime)

Money is a funny thing (at least that's what ABBA says). Funny is an appropriate descriptor because money is a good thing, but it's also bad; it exists in this kind of grey-limbo area in life where it brings everyone joy and pain in equal measure. Funny is also an appropriate descriptor because what I think of money is impossible to define - I both love and hate it all at the same time.

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
Today
But if you ask for a raise
It's no surprise that they're
Giving none away
Away
Away
Away
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*

6 comments:

Kim said...

Wow, Kim, that is a HUGE cut. I applaud you for even considering it - I would absolutely never take a job that pays any amount less than what I currently make, much less $500/month less. It's great that you realize that money isn't everything. Don't underestimate the value of negotiating once you receive an offer. If you are a valuable enough candidate that they are extending an offer, you do have some power. You can approach them and mention that it is your dream job, however $6000 pay cut may put it out of your realm of possibilities. Even if you can get them to increase the salary by a few thousand, it is fewer things that you would have to cut out of your life.

If you need any advice, I work in HR so feel free to email me! Good luck, and I hope you get what you want out of it.

Kim Humes said...

Thanks Kim! I appreciate the comments. I'm not going to lie, the pay cut is not fun, but I don't feel it's the end of the world. It's one of those things that I'd rather try the job out, see how it goes, and if I find it's not working, move on to something that pays more, than completely miss a great opportunity just because of something like salary. It's going to be tough, there's no question, but I think I'll be able to do it. You're right that I could negotiate a little bit with them, and I probably will attempt that if I do get the offer, but I know they don't have much wiggle room as we've sort of discussed it already. Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens! Thanks :)

Silver Strands said...

It's amazing the positive things that can come from having less money. In a way, it's actually freeing. Sounds wrong, but it's true. I think you have a fabulous attitude. Good luck to you.

And I love your Monday wish today - again, great attitude, and I'll be crossing my fingers for you :)
oxoxox
Denalee

Kim Humes said...

Thanks Denalee!! I appreciate your comment - I figured having less money would be freeing. It will be an interesting experiment anyway. Thinking positive can do amazing things so I'm determined to continue doing it!

Kim Humes said...

Thanks Denalee!! I appreciate your comment - I figured having less money would be freeing. It will be an interesting experiment anyway. Thinking positive can do amazing things so I'm determined to continue doing it!

Kim said...

Wow, Kim, that is a HUGE cut. I applaud you for even considering it - I would absolutely never take a job that pays any amount less than what I currently make, much less $500/month less. It's great that you realize that money isn't everything. Don't underestimate the value of negotiating once you receive an offer. If you are a valuable enough candidate that they are extending an offer, you do have some power. You can approach them and mention that it is your dream job, however $6000 pay cut may put it out of your realm of possibilities. Even if you can get them to increase the salary by a few thousand, it is fewer things that you would have to cut out of your life.

If you need any advice, I work in HR so feel free to email me! Good luck, and I hope you get what you want out of it.

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