Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Money

I think I have mentioned before that Hubs and I are both federal employees.  You may have noticed that the federal government is shut down.  There have been a few news articles about it.  : )  While we seem to veer on the edge of shutdown almost every year, this is my first actual shutdown experience.  I have learned way more about what employees keep working, who keeps getting paid (and who doesn't), no year funding, and fiscal years that I hope to never need to know again.

Hubs is one of the hundreds of thousands of employees staying home and not getting paid until the government opens again.  He will theoretically receive back pay for the whole time the government has been closed if Congress approves the bill, but no money is rolling in right now.  My office is somewhat unusual in that we have some funds that can be used during any fiscal year and are able to stay open a couple of weeks and continue to get paid on time.  However, this means we will start getting half our normal paycheck this month as long as Hubs can't work.  

I have realized during this experience that I have a very unhealthy relationship with money.  I am unreasonably terrified of not having it, so I tend to want to hold onto it, probably more than is normal.  I have spent long minutes of my life debating whether to buy a name brand can of beans or save $0.10 by buying the generic can of beans.  That is ridiculous.  This fear keeps me from making rational decisions on how to manage my money.  Honestly, I feel like money controls me most of the time.  I distinctly recall having this fear since I was a child, so it is not dependent on actual circumstances- it is completely unreasonable.  Even in a time when tightening our belts is appropriate, I am losing sleep over what could or may happen x number of weeks from now.  It is not productive planning.  It is just worry.  

It is very likely that the shut down will end in the next several weeks and Hubs will receive back pay for this time.  In the meanwhile, I am extremely lucky to still be working and to to have numerous venues to stay afloat.  We have savings we can dip into, Hubs could try to find a temporary job or file for unemployment, or we could use credit cards if it became that desperate (boo).  I am consciously working on my views of money during this time and give money a healthier role in my life.  I love the peeps at Our Freaking Budget. They have great budget ideas, an attitude toward money I hope to model, they are freaking hilarious and have a gorgeous rolly polly baby.  (I've had several rolly polly babies, so I know of what I speak.)  Their posts remind me that my money can help improve my life and give me more freedom to pursue things I love. I'm not sure where the appropriate balance will be for me, but I'll keep at it.  

P.S.- I realize in the grand scheme of things, with many people completely blindsided with lay offs or disabilities that have cut short their careers or those waiting out the shutdown with no income at all, our situation is comparatively just a tiny blip on the screen.  However, in my life right now it is a big deal.  

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