I’m Obsessed With Reading Money Diaries, Even Though I Can’t Manage My Own

I’ve had three jobs in my life, with slightly varying salaries and wildly varying hours. Regardless of how much I make, I tend to spend my entire paycheck. It’s highly habitual, financially irresponsible, and something I just can’t help. When I get paychecks around $150/week, I buy enough iced coffee and partake in enough Abercrombie and Fitch sales to break even. When I got paid around $500 bi-weekly for my summer job, I was still able to engage in enough consumer activity to spend it all (new iPad mini? Vacay in Atlanta, GA? Yes, please!).

I think I’ve gotten a little better this year. I use Cleo now as an initial savings method (I’ll make a savings account once I accrue enough savings so that I don’t have to pay a monthly maintenance fee) and I’ve deposited a little over $100 already. I recognize it as a start, but I should be doing a lot better than this.

My ultimate goal is to just immediately transfer 40-60% of my paycheck to my savings. I religiously read Refinery29’s Money Diaries, note the neat saving tips some of the women recommend (and some of the bad habits to avoid), and have even fantasized about being a Work & Money writer, despite my complete lack of qualifications. I think I’m hoping that reading these accounts of young, professional women who know how to keep their finances in check will somehow make me transform into them? I’m hoping for some osmosis action, but I’m highly sus.

My mom, the former accountant, is probably the person in my life with the most financial prowess. When she got her first job, she transferred 70% of her salary to her parents and still managed to live happily and save money. She’s also proof that the osmosis theory of learning doesn’t work, because 19 years of living with her haven’t made me any better of a spender (or saver, for that matter).

Refinery29 Money Diaries are a kind of fantasy for me. They’re a highly personal glimpse into the lives of women all over the U.S. (and the rest of the world) and a look into the life that I could have/aspire to have. There have been a few controversial entries, like this one, featuring a marketing intern whose diary comes across as a little disingenuous, considering the very significant amount of money she receives from her parents and grandparents.

 

But the majority feature well-rounded, money-savvy women who do it all— Classpass fitness classes, work, cute lunches to catch up with old advisors/mentors/friends, and ample time spent with friends/SOs/family. It’s the perfect example of a healthy work-life balance, another aspect of adult life to aspire to.

I do hope that as I mature and continue to read these diary entries, I’ll learn how to manage my money a little better and avoid the siren call of Starbucks (are migraines a valid excuse to drop five bucks every day on an iced latte?). For now, all I can do is keep reading! And maybe take a personal finance class??

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