You’ll find my heart in the mortgage, doggie life vests for Maybel

You imagine that once you’re settled, you’ll create a budget with free software, you’ll stick to it, and you’ll give at least 10 percent of your income back to the lord, no prob. You’ll save for retirement, future car purchases and college for the kids. You’ll go out to eat once in while.

You were wrong. Read it and weep, sister:spending-by-category.jpg

Please note how Jesus’ small sliver comes in 9th place, right behind Lowe’s and Target, with Nationwide and Sprint running up close behind him.

Shit.

I’m reminded of Pastor Paul, who warned us that if we didn’t tithe with whatever pocket change we had in college, we won’t tithe with our Big Girl salaries when we get them. Old habits die hard, but it’s also difficult to birth new ones, it seems.

I’m only talking about God so much right now because I’m not sure why he keeps giving us money, unless he’s really hoping to bless (through us) the folks at Coldwell Banker, local bar/restaurant establishments, etc.

WARNING: THOSE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH  TALKING ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCES SHOULD LEAVE NOW, IF THE PIE CHART HASN’T ALREADY DETERRED YOU, THAT IS.

Part of my “OMG I’m 25 now” life plan includes a bit about better budgeting of our finances. It’s an important goal for me, because we have a joint bank account, and Seth never spends any money. I don’t think he has ever been to Target and he is eating a tortilla (plain) as we speak. When you combine our gross incomes, (spoiler alert) Seth and I make a stone’s throw over 6o-some K, (not allowed to disclose the true figure, sorry) or way more than enough to live, and sometimes enough for us to spend some benjamins increasing our home equity. We’re enrolled in 401ks and don’t have any credit card debt, but other than that, we’re absolutely not doing anything responsible with our finances.

For those legalistic bare-minimum types, that kind of income translates into more than $500 a month for Jesus. And I know many more greater-thans who are moving into the donatable 40-50 percent of thier income range. Hilarious. Unimaginable, isn’t it? That’s like 4 cable/phone/internet bills. Only a crazy person would do that. But they already got us to buy into the whole “dies and come back to life/magical blood” thing. It was only a matter of time before they got into our pocket books.

What the heck. We are fired.

In doing research for a story, I came across a statistic that we (25- to 34-year-olds) have the second highest rate of personal bankruptcy in the nation. Our average student loan debt is $20,000, and we spend an average of 24 percent of our income just on debt payments.

money-well-spent.jpgWe’re like third world countries that have borrowed from the IMF for infrastructure improvements — only worse!!!!

In Ohio, high school students will begin taking personal finance classes by 2010. The little punks a decade behind us will be debt-free and well-armed to destroy us.

Take this time during a boring- and way-too-revealing blog post to be inspired to enroll in some free personal finance classes. You can find them in Ohio at the state treasurer’s Web site. You can find them nationally at the american society of professional accountants.

I’m serious.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who bounces back and forth between the guy who buries his lot in the ground and the one who goes out and spends it on wine and prostitutes. I think that it’s only fair every once in a while to consider how rich we are.

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  • http://www.stunted-growth.blogspot.com Pdawg

    - unless these personal finance classes include giving me cash, they are of no use. I last kept a checkbook in 1998. Now, my finances are much like the sea – it comes in and then it goes out. And if I get into it, snot comes out of my nose.

    - Does Jesus get 10 percent of gross or net? Does this come with a guarantee of eternal salvation? Is there still that whole attendance clause? Cause even I’ll admit that’s a deal.

    -does the life vest for Maybel go under “Pet Care” or “Entertainment”?

    - Student loans? HA. kids!

    - I fully expect a pie chart or bar graph with each and every post from now on.

    - I have also decided to ignore my own blog and just post on yours until eventually usurping it.

    - Has this gone on too long? become uncomfortable.

    - fine.

  • Rankin

    $60K. That is a lot of pennies. This is all very amazing, and has caused me to delve into deep reflection.

  • http://trialanderrordating.blogspot.com Brittiny

    I’ll totally take some of those classes with you. Want to suffer with me?

    Damn those stupid student loan payments. They eat up nearly $400 for me every month. No wonder I’m poor. It might also be because I’m a journalist.

  • A Lachmonster

    Ok, so this one is close to my brain. I grew up not eating out. Ever. I could probably count on one hand the times my family went to an actual sit-down restaurant. Subway and ordering Pizza was a bit more frequent, but not much… I can actually remember times we did these things as a kid. Weird, huh?

    Anyway, if we use our fancy time machine to zip back to the present, Ben, Catherine and Anna Belle Lachman probably hit the number 3 spot with eating expenditures just like the Teters (maybe even making number two since we’re pretty thrifty with our grocery spending and I don’t have a pie chart to give me a multicolored list).

    So, I often wonder about the eating out factor. After debt I’m pretty sure this is the biggest waste of our money. And its not even good most of the time. For instance, that last five places I ate at were: Union Street Diner (7 bucks for an effing egg&cheese on a bagel with a side of hashbrowns that isn’t as good as it used to be), Salaam (good food, forgot to ask how much the special cost… *doh* to the tune of 16.50), Applebee’s (some greasy piece of ground up meat in a tortilla for like $10), subway (ok, $7.50), D.P. Dough (tastes good, is bad for me… $6 for a calzone?!?). So basically the more I pay and the less mainstream the place I go to is, the better my food will be, but thats somewhat tangential to what I’m really thinking about.

    So here it is. We spend way the hell too much money on eating lousy food out when we could be spending much less money on really good & healthy food and making it ourselves (or even better with our friends). Why?

    - Sometimes convenience/laziness. This doesn’t really hold up though because this basically boils down to paying for food instead of making it, which equals trading my work for someone’s time spent cooking… I’d rather do the cooking when I think about it that way.

    - Sometimes it’s purely class & luxury. It feels nice to be served.

    There are other reasons, but I think these are the main two. And I think they are teh suck. I’ll probably keep eating out though. Lame. Me.

  • http://www.10bagspacking.blogspot.com Jaydubs

    I feel ya on the eating out thing — I try to be good about packing lunches ‘n’ stuff, but there are some weeks where Kyle and I are totally lazy and end up eating out, like, three or four times. I hate that.

    That said, how could anyone describe D.P. Dough as lousy? That stuff is the bestest* — I only wish they would set up shop in Columbus.

    *Uh, I do have to admit I’ve only consumed it whilst drunk, which may skew my findings.

  • A Lachmonster

    Oh, I love the stuff. But I hate to think what it ends up doing to my arteries.