Another payday and it’s all gone before you’ve had a chance to do anything. Welcome to the fabulous life of always being broke. Isn’t it fun paying off student loans and credit cards while balancing rent, utilities and food? It always seems like you’re the only one, but trust me, you’re not the only one dealing with what I like to call empty wallet syndrome.
The worst part of being constantly broke is when it seems like most of your friends are out wasting money on expensive drinks, designer clothes that cost more than your entire paycheck and nice vacations to sunny islands. Don’t worry. You’ll get there. Besides, your friends could be in your position at any time. If you consider yourself an expert penny pincher, you’ll definitely relate to these.
- Everything costs so much. Too much. You can’t even get a decent coffee for less than $5. And since when do you have to waste money on parking? When every dollar counts, you suddenly start realizing how much things cost. Going out to nice dinners doesn’t seem quite as much fun anymore, knowing that it’ll eat into about half of your spending money for the week.
- You hate it when your friends make plans. Unless your friends are broke too, you know “plans” mean spending money you don’t have. They always want to go somewhere that has a two drink minimum or even a simple salad is $20. Why can’t they just hang out, watch a movie and eat some store brand chips?
- Seriously, PB&J makes a great dinner for everyone. Forget expensive dinners. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just had PB&J sandwiches instead? You’ll even splurge for whole wheat bread. That makes them gourmet, right?
- Splitting the bill is so not fair. You cringe every time your friends suggest splitting the bill. You had water and the cheapest sandwich on the menu. They each had steak, dessert and several drinks. Screw splitting. Everyone can pay their own bill.
- Outdated technology is your best friend. Your friends are going on and on about the latest iPhone, but you’re still happy with your flip phone. You don’t have to worry about paying for data or texting, not to mention apps. It makes calls and that’s all you need right now.
- Shopping is a “look but don’t touch” event. Shopping for you is like being a woman on a diet. You might drool over the bakery display of cakes and cookies, but you know better than to do more than look. Even when there’s a red Sale or Clearance sign, it’s probably still out of your price range right now.
- No one understands why the word “free” gets you so excited. It’s like Christmas every time you hear about free food, clothes, events or pretty much anything. Free means enjoying something without spending money. Damn right you’re excited.
- You dread every single holiday. Gifts are so overrated. Wouldn’t a nice handmade card suffice? Spending hours finding an expensive looking gift for under $10 is a hassle you’d rather avoid if you could help it.
- You’re constantly doing mental calculations to make sure your card won’t be declined. Nothing’s more embarrassing than paying for dinner, only to have your card declined in front of everyone. The moment you get the bill, you’re doing mental math to make sure you’re covered. Odds are, you’re doing the math as soon as you get the menu.
- You make excuses to get out of weekends with the girls. You’d love a nice spa getaway, but the $100 a night plus travel and food just isn’t going to happen. You’ve become an expert at coming up with excuses like “I’ve got to work” or “I’m having work done on the apartment” or even the last minute “I have the worst cold ever.”
- You avoid parties so you don’t have to take food or gifts. Why does everyone keep throwing parties and expecting you to bring stuff? Seriously, how many babies, new houses and weddings happen in your friend group? You’d rather sit home and watch PBS than have to find money to contribute to yet another party.
- You can’t go out until payday. Your friends want to go out right now, but you keep trying to put them off until payday. They don’t understand that your bank account literally has pennies in it. If they’d just wait a few more days, you might just be able to check out that new restaurant they’ve all been wanting to try.
- Everything you own comes from a thrift store. Your friends think your furniture tastes are eclectic. Little do they know that each unique piece came from local thrift stores. As did your clothes and anything else you could find. You’ve learned you can find some incredible, like new stuff at prices you can afford. Who needs to spend $100 on jeans when you can find the same pair for $5?
- You’re aways being lectured to about money. You dread it when anyone finds out your constantly broke. All it leads to is one lecture after another. Sure, you heard all this great advice from your parents when you were younger. The problem is, you haven’t found that $100,000 a year job to take care of all your debt and let you live like you want.
The great news about empty wallet syndrome is it will pass. While your friends are living it up, you’re learning to be a financial genius with budgeting. They’ll come to you one day when they’re the ones broke and having to learn to save.