Reflections on Materialism and Money
My dirty secret:
Pre-COVID-19, I have never been a good saver.
Besides a company 401k plan and a small emergency fund, I always let my upper-class dot com Californian lifestyle got the best of me.
The more I earned, I more I spent.
Luckily I earned well or otherwise I would really have been broke all of the time.
I would start each month promising myself to cut my spending and save more. Then I would fail. Mainly I lived in a very expensive place. San Francisco is famous for the cost. Everything was overpriced. Hell, I was too busy to care. But I’m far from innocent too: I love to shop, to go to restaurants and venues, and to travel. Whenever I would win a new deal or a new client, I would celebrate by increasing my spending. San Francisco is a nightmare for people like me.
Blame it on my parents who were both hoarders, living in California which has a massive consumer culture, or on my inflated Silicon Valley salary. Blame it on the media I grew up consuming full of rock stars and lavish lifestyles. For whatever reason, I became a spoiled person, convinced it was ok to spend ungodly amounts of money on stuff I didn’t really need.
While I’m good at sales, I needed to make massive improvements on how I spent money. My bank account showed it. Every month, I spent nearly every penny I made. When I was married, my bad habits didn’t get as much notice since we split the burden of bills and more. My guilty secret: my ex-husband's earnings were more than enough to cover my spending blunders. I hid it for years. It wasn’t a problem because there was enough money to go around. Freshly divorced, however, the same big splurges got the best of me. I’m on my own now and don’t share the bills with anyone. It’s all on me.
Not all of my purchases are bad. I invest in coaching, books, conferences, training programs, and software. But the point was that I never saved enough. I have never enjoyed sitting down and reviewing my bank statements. Boring.
That all changed when the pandemic hit.