This is the first time I've had money, like real money, in years. Why? I graduated undergrad early...I should be ahead of the game. But here's how my 20s break down (sidebar: With my 30th right around the corner, I'm doing a lot of reflection on my 20s):

  1. Age 22-24 - My crappy first job in advertising where I made a pittance, and stayed too long, and so never made more than a pittance. Seriously. I'm embarrassed to type it, but at my first "real" job I made $27,500! Isn't that appalling? And when I got my raise the next year, it went up to $30,000 (base) + $300/mo bonus assuming I made no mistakes. And there were a few months where I made some mistakes, and so just didn't earn $300 of my monthly salary. Sucked BIG TIME. Aren't you embarrassed for my former boss? Aren't you embarrassed for me?
  2. Age 24-25 - I gave up my small pittance for an even smaller one. I joined Americorps to gain some experience in my field, and do something good. After working in advertising for a couple of years, I needed something soul cleansing. I earned what they called a living wage, but which I often referred to as my "barely living wage." You get the idea.
  3. Age 25-28 - Grad school. Need I say more? I nannied my way through, and I hate to admit this, but when I had to do an internship as part of my grad program, A.P. helped me out by paying our joint bills. This was, I think, the poorest I'd ever been, because even undergrad wasn't that bad. At the time I was living in Iowa, and it was way cheaper living.
  4. Age 28-29 - Or last year, which was probably my first year making a nice, comfy salary. Of course I have some credit card debt (not nearly as much as I could have because I lived so frugally) and there were my ginormous student loan bills each month, but I was still earning decent money. But we were saving for our wedding, so I was back to broke. We planned our wedding in six months, and that's how long we saved. We each saved $1K a month, which meant I was back to living broke. Then, when the wedding was over, and I thought I could finally buy some new freaking clothes, I got laid off. So it was back to squirreling away cash, living frugally, and being all around broke. I had a nervous breakdown a few times around A.P. when I just screamed and cried about how sick I was of being poor. And as you remember, I was not exactly the happiest camper around.
Which brings us to the present...I'm 29. Despite the squirreling away of cash, I managed to pay off the bit I owed on our wedding (which was fairly nominal), as well as one of my student loans. That had a lot to do with me working that temp job over the summer along with my severance pay, which meant I still also felt like I was busting my ass for nothing. It paid off, though, when I got hired for my current job.

Now, I have money...and I can spend it, and save it, and not feel like a broke-ass motherlover. But now...I'm addicted to buying clothes. When I used to have steady income, I would shop, shop, shop. Always on sale, since that's what I could afford, but I love fashion and clothes, so that's what I liked to spend my money on. I was young, though, and didn't really have any financial goals. I saved some, spent more, and figured it would all work itself out one day.

Now, though, I have financial goals for myself...and for my marriage. I want a certain amount of money saved, and I want us to save to buy a car and a house and who knows what else! So the shopping is not really working out in my favor (though I am looking REAL good!). In the past month, I've spend hundreds of dollars on clothes...so many, many clothes. Seriously...I must...stop...shopping.

On the plus side, my insane spending has made me realize how happy I am with our money setup of yours, mine, ours. It may mean more accounts to track, but it also means not having a man bitch at me for my shopping...especially when it's money I earned.

Which leads me to my question for all of you: Does anybody else do yours, mine, ours accounting? If so, how do you keep track of finances? We are in the process of a complete financial overhaul (as A.P. is calling it), and are thinking about using Quicken, but aren't sure if it's ideal. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Have a great weekend! And don't shop too much!

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