Before you read this, you should know that Hubs and I are doing just fine financially. We have some [minimal] student loan debt (currently deferred) and a mortgage. We do not have credit card debt and we have savings in the bank. We will not be grad students forever. While I know all this in my rational mind and realize that we are SIGNIFICANTLY better off than many people, what I need to write about is my anxiety around money, which persists in spite of all rational evidence against it.
Hubs and I went to his high school reunion on Sunday. I was kind of anxious about it (having never met most of the people that were going to be there), but also excited because it was at a fancy restaurant that we don’t go to often and because I usually have fun at parties. So we got there at six and realized we were going to be paying for our own drinks. I thought, “Oh, hey, no big deal. We’re paying for our drinks because the money we paid to be there [$75] was for dinner.” So I happily drank my six dollar beer and waited for dinner.
Around 7:15 food was set out and it was four different types of appetizer of low to medium tastiness and low to medium temperature appropriateness. I had a couple of things, but didn’t love them and so I just hung out and chatted and waited for dinner. But dinner NEVER came. The four small trays (for 40! people) of appetizers was dinner. I was pretty hangry (thanks for the highly appropriate word Jen) and getting hangrier, but we still had maybe an hour or so of reunion left.
I hung in there, expecting to get to go home and eat leftovers, but then everyone was hungry and they really only get to see each other once in a blue moon so it really made sense to all go somewhere to eat. And I was happy for Hubs to get to hang out with these friends, and mostly I enjoyed the people we were with, but on the drive to the second restaurant and in spite of the promise of real food, I started to FREAK OUT about the amount of money that we were spending (basically our entire month’s fun budget in one night).
Rather than chilling out and enjoying the company of a very talented and interesting group of people, I felt like I could only focus on the impending doom of spending more money. I didn’t enjoy my food (cheese fries, I should have loved them), and my anxiety spilled out to Hubs in the car on the way home. He was surprisingly patient with my catastrophizing, but we’re both at a bit of a loss on how to handle me around the money issue.
Some friends and family have offered good perspective and suggestions: the mantra, “Don’t believe everything you think; fear lies,” and the idea that we have to let money go, so that it can come back to us. I’ll of course be taking this specific instance of awfulizing to my counselor (along with my tendency to awfulize in every challenging situation), but I’d love any feedback or ideas you all have to help me find more peace with our finances.