Let’s go back to summer 2005. I had just finished my sophomore year of college. A friend convinced me to venture off to California to spend my summer vacation as a door-to-door salesman. For 6 days a week, we spent all of the daylight hours going from door…to door…to door…to door. So when 12 o’clock arrived every day, we were ready to spend some money on lunch! Because we deserved it darn it!
Living the good life
I had been frugal all my life. Now that I was making more money than I was accustomed to, I made a conscious decision to squelch those pesky old-fashioned frugality inclinations. In high school, I used to spend no more than $2.12 on lunch. But now I was splurging on combo meals! We’re talking upscale fast food, local Mexican places, Chinese buffets, you name it.
Accounting for finances
After a few weeks of financial ignorance and nutritional irresponsibility, I started wondering exactly how much I was spending. This all led to the creation of my first spending tracker (not to be confused with a budget). I wasn’t budgeting quite yet at that point, but all of my spending was accounted for, and my newfound financial awareness was a huge first step toward becoming more financially responsible.
Fast forward a few months, and I was back in school and had met my future wife. I liked her, but she wasn’t really sure what to think of me. We got a quick lunch one day on campus, and the cashier didn’t give me my receipt, so I asked for it. It completely blew her away that I wanted a receipt, especially for a meal that cost less than 3 dollars. She was like, “What’s this guy’s deal?” He skateboards, studies accounting, doesn’t talk much, keeps asking me out, and asks for receipts. Suffice it to say that accounting for my finances was not the type of accounting that helped me win over my wife.
Accounting for feelings
Our relationship had a rocky beginning. I was totally committed from the start and doing my best to convince this girl that she should be with me. I knew there was something different about her, which led me to do something I had never done before.
After our first few dates I started putting my thoughts and feelings about her and about our time together on paper. I did it all in the form of a letter to her. After a couple months, it had grown to a twenty-one page document, NONE of which will I be posting here.
Anyway, I didn’t really know why I started writing these letters, but it turns out that my subconscious instincts came through for me! When she tried to end things with me after a few months of semi-dating, I happened to have an amazing twenty-one page insurance policy! Before I left her house that night, I convinced her to meet with me just one more time. I tried to make it memorable, and then I delivered the package [insert mischievous laugh here].
Thanksgiving break gave me a lot of time to mope, stew, and drown my sorrows in endless games of ping pong with my brothers. I felt like I was in good shape by the time I got back to school. After a few more weeks, I was in full blown denial having convinced myself that I was back to normal and doing really great.
But luckily that wasn’t the end. Turns out the account of my feelings was insightful–and convincing–to my wife. After a few months, we started actually dating.
Fast forward to the end of my senior year. We’re married, both of us asking for and saving receipts so we can enter them daily into my upgraded excel budget.
Feelings & Finances
Accounting is fun whether it be accounting for your finances or accounting for your feelings. Put them together and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Just as you ought not cheat on your loved ones, you should not cheat on your money. Safeguard yourself with a written budget. One of the definitions of the verb “budget” is to plan the allotment of something. Budget your money, your time, your food, and your relationships, and you will be much better off.
Happy valentine’s day!
Read my wife’s side of the story here.