Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Work Like You Need the Money

The other day my boyfriend told me he "can't afford me." Now, any woman knows that's a compliment -- I obviously have expensive tastes! But the truth is, lately, I can't afford me either. It seems like money is just slipping through my fingers and yet, I have no cute clothes, shoes or accessories to show for it. Ok, well maybe a couple pairs of shoes but not nearly as many as I would like.

So where's it all going? Well according to my bank statement, it's all going to Moe's, Chick Fil A and Target. Not exactly glamorous. This led to my first realization about the grown-up world: food is expensive. When I lived at home all I had to spend my money on was what I wanted; clothes. I remember the places I used to shop at in high school and flinch when I think of all the money I used to spend! I wore nicer clothes when I was seventeen than I do now at twenty-one and didn't think a thing of it.

But back to food; it's undeniable that eating out is an incredibly expensive habit, whether you're eating at Chops or Panera. Unfortunately, eating out seems to have become the only acceptable form of social interaction between sorority girls. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we actually love to eat. Sure, we may whine about how many calories we're consuming while we shove chips dripping in queso into our mouths but that doesn't seem to stop us. So the problem is, try as I might to restrain my own eating out during the week by packing my lunch instead of going out or waiting until I get home to eat no matter how starving I am on the way home from work, every weekend all my well-intentioned plans are ruined when one of my friends suggests margaritas at El Amigo Friday night and then lunch at Fresh to Order on Saturday.

I blame this lunching ladies obsession on Sex and the City. What are the four girls doing in almost every scene? Eating somewhere, from lunch to dinner to just drinks! And what is my generation of young women obsessed with? Imitating Sex and the City. We seem to conveniently forget how unrealistic their lifestyles are in our pursuit of designer shoes, handsome men and other glamorous goods.

So what's a girl to do? Stop having lunch with her girlfriends? Sure I could suggest staying in and drinking wine while watching a movie (I'll give you one guess which movie) but then again, that costs money too. The solution I seemed to have settled on is to get a job. My job at the clothing store gives me a little money to play around with but it still doesn't seem like enough. This constant feeling of wanting what's outside of my means has really driven me to work hard in college to ensure that I can get a real job with a real salary that will support my social and shopping habits. Yes you heard me right, I'm planning on making my own money instead of spending my future husbands! (Pause for the shock that the rest of my sorority is experiencing).

Lesson Learned: "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart." -- E.E. Cummings