I have this unhealthy relationship with healthy money management. It stems from the fact that my real estate investor parents are very frugal, and I grew up sorting our garbage into burnables and non-burnables, saving everything, and never spending money unless it were heavily discounted or a tremendous value (hello all you can eat buffets). Then I found mint.com about five years ago and started diligently tracking my personal spending habits. This tool is a great resource to budget and save, and it helped me to save up for a new car and then buy an investment property.
But what isn't cool is my determination to save all my money, and this little internal goal of mine to spend as little money as possible. It's good to save and manage money well, to some extent, but it's not always realistic to save every penny. Having the idea to save everything puts me in a lot of despair at times.
For example, today I got a $104 bill for a doctor appointment. Don't get me started on the terrible organization of the medical community and health insurance for the benefit of the consumer, that's another long rant. First of all, I didn't want to go to the appointment. I had to take the day off work to go to Seattle, and the doctor visit wasn't even valuable to me. So to get a hundred dollar bill months later is such a slap in the face. I wish I had the personality to accept that the bill is just a fact of life and to pay the dang thing, but I just get mad because that was not money well spent. It's just a hundred dollars.
Then I checked my mint account to realize that Avis had charged my credit card $107. For what? I haven't used Avis since renting a car in Vegas before Thanksgiving. Interesting that after completing the transaction and the service, that they can just slap a charge on me with no notice, no conversation, no receipt, no phone call, no nothing. So I call Avis to find out that they are charging me for a flat tire. A flat tire which I would like to dispute since the tire pressure light came on just a couple miles after driving off the lot. It was such a hassle to change the flat tire during vacation, and when I returned the car, I explained myself and they gave me a new car. No mention of costs or charges. Heck, it was an inconvenience to me that they gave me a faulty car. So now I'm lost in the Avis phone chain getting directed to different departments that can't help me. So I call my credit card company because they provided the insurance for the rental car. They start a claim, but it is such a process because I have to submit a claim and have it denied by my primary insurance first, and then submit all these Avis damage documents that Avis hasn't given to me yet. I'm about 45 minutes in with all these conversation, I haven't gotten very far in the process, only to realize that this hundred dollar charge probably isn't worth the headache and hassle and minutes of my life collecting and submitting documents and talking to these people on the phone. Sign. It's just a hundred dollars.
Then I was talking to my health insurance, only to find out that my out of pocket expenses are going up next year due to the change in my employer's selected plan. $1000 more to get to the max. I'm expecting next year to be a big year for medical expenses, and now need to budget more for it all. I'm not happy, but at least I'm more prepared.
I know that I'm just complaining here about charges I don't want to pay for, and about the general insurances systems that is just irritating. Last weekend I spent $70 for a friend's birthday dinner, and would have gladly paid $100 for a nice experience and to celebrate her. So it's not about the money, it's about the value.
I'm not even a poor person. I make enough money to save about $2000 a month. But I have created this mentality that if I'm not saving $2000 or more, then I'm losing money. I don't have any bad debt, I have a decent income, and I live very frugally. But this terrible disease about NOT spending money ruins me when I HAVE to spend a little money. Some say it's just the cost of life. I say that I need to change my mentality so I don't get all crotchety when the fact of the matter arises.
So there's my rant, and there's my broken little money heart on the line. I need a new view on my money and to understand it's power and joy, and to not get so hurt about parting with it.