Sometimes I worry that I’m young-adulting wrong.
I always feel like I’m adulting wrong to begin with. Like, shouldn’t I still be in high school and worrying about dating idiots, not worrying about bills and how to make ends meet? People say that high school years are the best years of your life, and while I disliked high school, I miss being worry-free. Now, with bills, family obligations, work stress… I’m more stressed out and crazy than I’ve ever been before.
But then I read stories about everyone who lives paycheck to paycheck and who has thousands of dollars in credit card debt. I feel like I’m doing it wrong.
I mean, I have zero credit card debt. In fact, the only debt I have is my car and my student loans. My husband had credit card debt that we paid off within months thanks to some hardcore budgeting. We managed to put away all of my income from summer school last year, and have a nice little pocket of savings money thanks to that. We pay our bills each month and have some extra play money left over. Are we rich? Hell no. Are we comfortable? yes.
We go without for some things. Or, rather, we wait for them and save our money when we can. We have a baby on the way and I have 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Are we nervous? Yes, but I know that we’ll be okay.
I hear horror stories from my friends about maxed out credit cards and not being able to buy groceries because they’ve spent all their paycheck before it even comes in. That terrifies me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m such a control freak or what, but I can’t even fathom this.
It’s tax time and my husband and I have a huge surprise amount that we have to pay to both federal and state taxes. And while this is definitely not fun or something we were counting on, we have the money. We were counting on it for other purposes, but we can redistribute our plans and make sure that we will manage.
Do we still live paycheck to paycheck? well, yes. We plan out each dollar that we make and we budget(although sometimes hubby doesn’t stick to this as strictly as he should). We prioritize and we discuss money often. Occasionally this leads to arguments, but in general our fights about money have lessened.
I’m attribute a lot of our success to You Need A Budget. If you’ve never heard of it, try it out. It’s a strict budgeting app that seriously has made a huge difference for us. We’re slightly addicted, and recognize that without it we would not have been able to increase our net worth more than 5x in the past year. Nor would we realize exactly how much we spend on things like groceries, clothes, or dates. It’s truly amazing.
But when I compare myself to others in my age group, I worry that I’m not living life to the fullest. I don’t go on crazy vacations regularly that put me in to debt. I don’t buy ridiculously expensive handbags or jewelry unless I have that money set aside. And I don’t stress about emergency financial hiccups that come up…. which brings up the question, am I young-adulting wrong? Or are they?
Financial security is not something that I have achieved yet. But it is something that I’m working hard toward. And isn’t that part of what we are all supposed to be heading toward? The ability to buy a house, or a car and not have to worry (much). Or have kids and a steady job. Or be able to go on a vacation and not panic about making rent. So here’s to the ones who feel like they don’t young-adult properly. Believe me, you’re doing it right.