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Friday, February 15, 2008

Emotions and Money

Thanks to Oprah, I've been reading Suze Orman's "Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny." I'm a huge fan of Suze's show, and I continually recommend "The Money Book For the Young, Fabulous, and Broke" to all my friends. I've had "Women and Money" on my wishlist for some time now, but have been trying to control my spending, so I decided to wait on this book. Good thing too, since Oprah offered it for free download yesterday. Thank you, Oprah! Maybe I shouldn't complain so much about your show.

I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm quickly realizing just how much this book applies to me. While I feel that I am responsible with my money, I shy away from taking the initiative to actually better my financial situation in many instances.

For example, one of the things Suze mentioned is that many women won't push their bosses for a raise. Even if they find out that they are paid less money than some of their counterparts, they won't fight for what they deserve. Sure, some of us will go to our supervisor and ask, but when the supervisor says "Well, we just can't afford that right now," or "We'll talk about it at your review," we just take that answer at face value and don't do any thing else about it. I do the same thing. When I was hired at my current job, I was promised a specific raise after I've been here a year. There were five of us hired with the same deal. Now, we're hearing that may not be the case. It frustrates me, but at the same time, what am I doing about it? Not a whole lot. I also discovered that I am one of the lowest paid members of my team. I'm also one of the newest, so that's not entirely unexpected, but in terms of education and skills, I do stand out a bit. This should be something else to include in my argument for the promised raise. But again, I just don't bring it up. I've mentioned it once, and then sort of let it get swept under the rug.

Therefore, a goal for the coming weeks is to talk with my supervisor about this situation and find out exactly what is going on and what I can do to prove that I deserve this raise.

I also realize that I am entirely too generous with my money, even when I don't want to be. Right now, I have a friend (who is really more of an acquaintance) staying with me while she job hunts. She doesn't have a timeline for how long she will be staying with me, but I think it could be up to a month (or even more). I don't mind that she's staying in my home. I have an extra bedroom and I am happy to share my space. I don't expect her to pay rent at all.

It is starting to bother me, however, that she isn't really pitching in for groceries. Admittedly, this may be bothering me because this month, I decided to really tighten my budget now that I'm using the YNAB system, and because I do have some larger expenses coming up that I am saving for. After she had been here a few days and hadn't purchased any groceries (and even went with me to the store, watched me buy the groceries to make dinner, and didn't pitch in), I casually asked her how she wanted to deal with groceries, and she said she was going to pick up some things. That's all fine and good, except that she still expects me to provide her dinner, which for me, tends to be the most expensive meal of the day. And even though it grates on me that she expects me to provide for her, I still don't say anything.

Not only is this not great for my financial health, it also isn't good for our relationship. Because of this, I am letting her other habits grate on me as well. Maybe I would be more willing to put up with the fact that she doesn't do dishes or use coasters and gets food on the floor if she were paying her own way.

Or maybe she's just a bad houseguest. Either way, I should say something about the fact that right now, my budget doesn't allow for me to be feeding two people instead of just one. I shouldn't let my emotions play into it. I owe it to myself to be honest about my finances. I think I feel some sort of responsibility to take care of her, as she is a guest in my house, which is something women are all too quick to do, and then we just get taken advantage of. I need to learn to stand up for myself and for my bank account

1 comment:

FrugalWannabe said...

Are you automatically cooking her dinner just because she's there? What would happen if you didn't cook dinner because you just didn't feel like it? Would she fend for herself or cook for you?

If she's so self-involved that she'd go out or grab a bowl of cereal instead of offering to cook for you, then I wouldn't feel at all bad about saying "for as long as you're staying here, you need to give me $x for food per week."