Thursday, May 19, 2011

The big save

Photo courtesy of Georgivar

I don't know this guy, but these pictures make me laugh because they remind me of how I probably look when I start thinking about money. My mother always said I don't have a poker face.

I think everyone who knows me would agree that I'm not great with money. I'm not ashamed to admit that my budgeting/money management skills aren't exactly keen. Which is hilarious since a large amount of my job is about managing budgets - those of my clients; for some reason, since it's someone else's money, I can handle that but my own is like water running through my hands.

When I lived in New York I was pretty good about saving, though; I dutifully put the max into a Roth IRA every year, and enough into my 401(k) to get the employer match. When my grandmother passed away, I invested the money she left me in the market (of course, 18 months before the crash) in a mix of growth and retirement funds. So for longterm money, I'm your woman; it's just the day-to-day and monthly cash expenditures that I cannot - or refuse to - deal with.

When I got to the UK, my salary and budget were way out of line with each other and it took me nearly a year to settle on my feet in terms of monthly expenses versus spending money and making ends meet. Now, living with The Irishman and having a new job with a new salary, I am ready and able to return to saving more than just £50 per month. In fact, I'm going to be putting a lot more than that away every month from now on, because The Irishman and I are going START SAVING FOR A HOUSE.

Grandma, calm down. We're not sure whether this house is going to be in London, in England, in the USA, or even in the UAE. We're also not sure whether it will be a flat, a townhouse, a house or a farm. But we both want more than one room to share, and we'd like to be able to grow vegetables, and we want to have the space to potter. It's not going to happen without us buckling down and putting the money away, which is going to be a tough exercise for me. No more shoes, sales, or treats on a whim; last weekend, we wrote out a budget for us to both based on combined income and it was SCARY. And hard! It starts in June after we both get paid next, and it will be a big test whether we can continue our lifestyle as we now enjoy it within the confines of our new allowance.

Not only is it scary to think of curtailed spending, but it's pretty scary to think of joint saving. If this isn't commitment, I'm not sure what is. Lately it's been slightly freaking me out a bit, and The Irishman has been shaking his head at my footstamping about wanting to go out and do CRAZY THINGS to prove we're still young and hip rather than the truth: old souls who wish for a bigger living room of their own to curl up in on Saturday nights. But that doesn't mean I won't make him go out and shake his booty this weekend – I hear there is a 2-for-1 special down at the local pub. Cheap date!

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