Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twenty Something and Crushed?

I've been scouring the website for Liz Funk's new book, Coming of Age in a Crap Economy, aptly titled Oh, Crap and I feel comforted.  It's refreshing to read the words that could have just as easily come out of my own head.

I use the phrase "Bitch, this is a recession" (in some form or another) on a daily basis in conversation with friends.  It's meant as a joke, but in reality we all know it's not.  Being in your twenties right now is no easy task.  

The website outlines the premise for her new book on the difficulties of being a twenty something adult in this economy [read: recession].  One of the thing she discusses is the giving up or limiting of the luxuries that you might have enjoyed previously with the help of a job, or supplemental income from mommy-and-daddy.  I think this is a great point, let's be honest -- it's not easy giving up things, especially when they are things that you have become accustomed to -- something that most financial guru's overlook.  In almost every article on getting out of debt you read sentence after sentence telling you to give up that $4.80 Starbucks every morning or stop shopping for things you don't need (which is most of the things I love to shop for), but no one ever talks about what that does to you emotionally.  I consider myself to be a fairly frugal spender, even with my shopping addiction considered, but that cup of Starbucks in the morning or on the way to a looooong night class, after a loooong day at work is sometimes the only thing standing between me and crazy.  Just because it sounds like a good idea, and other people live without it, doesn't mean you can just snap your fingers and not want it anymore.  Funk says, "that having to downsize is possibly the worst part of coming of age in a crap economy."  (And by downsize, she means giving things up..in case there was any confusion or connecting the dots issues)

This evening I was faced with a dilemma that (at least to me) is a great example of this.  I was sitting at my computer checking my e-mail after I finally got home from work, and realized that I hadn't made anything for lunch at work tomorrow.  By this time, it was already getting late and frankly I was feeling lazy/exhausted.  I knew I had 3 options:

  1.  Get off my duff, head downstairs and make something with the groceries that my parents supply for me (almost free of charge)
  2. Plan on heading to Panera during lunch hours
  3. Lie to myself about waking up early to make lunch, and then knowing that would never happen, decide to go to Panera and pick something up
I liked option 2.  Tomorrow is pay day, and it would be a nice treat.  The problem with that option, and option 3of course, is that a) gas prices are insane! and b) it's not free.  I had to opt for making my lunch, even though I not-so-secretly would prefer to eat out every day of the week and be able to afford someone else to prepare all my lunches. And breakfasts.  Ok, and dinners.  (honestly, I loved cooking when I lived on my own, but my parents have killed that desire).  In the end, I realize that my made at home lunch is way healthier and a smarter financial decision.  Unfortunately, I don't make oodles of money and I have to budget.

Reading about someone else going through something similar to what I'm going through makes me feel better about myself, it gives me a certain sense of motivation (like when I read Women's Health to validate my hours at the gym).  If you are in your twenties, or even just going through a rough time, I would recommend you check this website out.

For your convenience, another link to it: Coming of Age in a Crap Economy