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.

3 thoughts on “Money

  1. First of all, I love “awfulize.” That is a new favorite that I plan on using.

    I experience the same thing when I go out and realize how quickly the tab adds up. Hopefully you won’t be going to many $75/”plate” dinners though, so that should ease your fears a little bit. Beyond that, I’ve simply found that only having 1 drink or none at all is the surest way to save a LOT of money. Or find cool events that offer a variety of things for little money–a tea house here has wine tastings on Friday nights that offer 3 glasses of wine and 3 little bites of pairings for $10! It’s amazing–I make all my friends go and none of us feels bad afterward.

    There is a degree of letting money go and just enjoying life/being present/spending time with people, but that can’t be the reasoning every time, and the up side of being in a recession right now is that most everyone understands that.

  2. I just hate the fact that the event you went to could have been organised on Facebook for NOTHING!! So what was the money for?????
    When I realised money was my false idol, I hastily started a process of re-programming my mind not to continually be worrying about it! I have written in my homeschool book that earning money got in the way of enjoying my growing family…
    One of my friends says that no matter how much or how little money I had we always managed…and we did.
    Our trick to going out is, don’t drink…you can buy a bottle of wine for the price of a glass so what’s the point? (pre-drink if you’re not driving…easier in England than here!) Then hubs and I share our meal! And eat dessert at home!!
    Sounds as though you are doing really well!

  3. Abby, I love your blog and I just realized again how very much I miss talking to you!

    First, so many of your recent posts are resonating with me at this point in my life and please tell me we can sit down for Eatzi’s soon, but this one really hit home. The current technique that C and I are trying to silence the financial beast that lives in me is to give him full control/responsibility for the budget. I was stressing about it CONSTANTLY (and we are in a similar situation – a little school debt but perfectly stable income) and it was affecting our relationship. I was starting to nitpick his choices and I was NOT liking that about myself.

    Giving him the “responsibility” was very freeing for me but also pushed my own comfort zone – the one where I want to have control of everything. Sometimes I still have to remind myself to take deep breaths and Trust him, but it’s helping us a lot. And I think it’s pushing his comfort zone, too – to step up and take a hard look at spending and priorities. It’s really been a win-win for us the past 6 months or so.

    As for the awfulizing… let me know what your counselor says 🙂 Why is it so easy to go straight to worst case scenario??

    Miss you! – K

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