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In Search Of Financial Perfection Or Seeking Honesty And Growth?

by Debt Destroyer on March 3, 2009

perfection-game-poppedI guess I’ve arrived.

I knew I’d catch hell when I posted that I spent $180 in January on Pearl Jam related expenses.  But I was surprised by how much that little morsel caught on with others.

A couple of weeks ago LuLuGal asked if I was a frugal fraud (She chose the Happy Rock too – for the $400 stroller).

To tell you the truth, I was honored to be on the list.  She was poking a little fun at some fellow bloggers and I’m tickled pink that my act of super fandom made the cut.

A few days before that, Simplyforties used my love of all things Pearl Jam to make a point between wants and needs.  I kinda dug where she went with it (Especially since I thought she was going to bury me like everyone else did).

And just the other day Pants in the Can was inspired by my Pearl Jam purchase to see how much he spends in a month.

But all this attention to my act of “unfrugalness” got me thinking…

Do readers of PF blogs expect perfection?

I have to admit that I’ve only been reading these type of blogs since I’ve been writing for one (8 months now).   And in that time I wouldn’t say I’m looking for perfection, but I do have things that I am looking for:

  • Money Saving / Debt Reduction / Investing Tips – Heck, who wouldn’t be looking for these.
  • Inspiration – This is a big one for me.  I mean really, lets face it, we all know how to live within our means.  But for one reason or another some of us struggle with it, and occasionally we need a “wake up call.”
  • Community – I know “misery loves company”, but it also feels good to know that a bunch of people are working on the same “positive” goals as you are.
  • Entertainment –  We probably are all reading the same blogs.  If you are anything like me you like it that some of them use a little humor to help make their point.

When I accepted the gig as a writer here at The Happy Rock, I knew that people would be constantly judging me and my behavior. And I’m OK with that (for the most part).  I guess the point of this post is to remind people that I’m here to share my journey out of debt.  But keep in mind, that if I knew what I was doing I wouldn’t be writing about being in debt would I? (probably good advice to keep in mind when reading a lot of PF blogs).

So if you lost confidence in me because I spent too much money on a CD, I totally understand.  I realize that some of you can’t spare $180 a month on such frivolous expenses (If this is the case, I hope you’re reading this on a library computer).

I think one of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes and then learn from them.

And I make plenty of them. So please, PLEASE, keep pointing out things that I could be doing better (Trust me, I need all the help I can get).  And if you thought me spending money on  Pearl Jam was bad wait until you see what I did in February.

I end almost every post I write by asking you readers for feedback. This isn’t some gimmick I use to get comments. I REALLY want to know what people think and how everybody else goes about doing the things that I do (I’ve already changed my phone/internet provider thanks to the feedback I got).

So…

What do you look for as a reader of PF blogs? Do you get anything from my ramblings about my finances? What type of topics do you wish were written about(not just here but in general)?

And I know I probably have never said this before, but thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog. I know how busy we all are, and it means a lot that you took a moment to read what I have to say.  I hope you keep coming back.

Until Next Time,

-DD

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Penelope @ Pecuniarities March 3, 2009 at 10:01 am

Wow, $180 on Pearl Jam is a lot. While I can understand the need for entertainment and passion for certain things, it really doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do when you’re in debt.

This is the first time I’ve read a post by you so I’m not up to speed on your financial and job situation, but even if you have a good job with a steady income right now, with the current economical situation, I would look for other ways to entertain myself.

Moderation is what I would suggest. In debt or not, human beings need some form of entertainment or amusement in our lives. But entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. Find ways to console yourself for missing out on something really expensive with something else you still enjoy but which costs less, if anything at all.

Perhaps, instead of going to a concert, buy a new CD or a DVD of the band. But then, I’m not really a fan of live concerts, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

As for the issue about frugal and PF bloggers being put on a pedestal and verbally flogged for our missteps, I hope our readers remember that we are all human and it is human to make mistakes.

No one is perfect, nor do we claim to be. Blogging and offering tips on how to save money is part of our learning process. I often do a lot of research when I’m writing my posts to confirm and expound on ideas I conceive in my head.

I’ll try to pop back and keep up with your posts from now on. Good luck with your debt destroying goals.

Penelope

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Helen March 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm

This is just from my own humble perspective: I do enjoy reading your posts as a fellow traveler of getting out of debt, for the same reasons you posted. So, while this may not describe your real personality at all, your writing persona appears to come off a little too flippant about your financial misjudgments and too much “rationalizing” that mistakes don’t really matter all that much, as long as you’re having fun.

Not that your readers want to witness a public self-flogging every time this occurs, but in the spirit of commiseration, when I feel a little remorse and pain when I have a financial misstep and vow to do better next time, it also provides me comfort to see others in similar situations do the same.

I understand you’re not meant to be a shining role model, so I don’t expect perfection when I read your posts, just someone who I feel I can relate to in my own struggles and sacrifices. I do appreciate your honesty and the fact you keep your perspective balanced – it inspires me to do the same.

Incidentally, I don’t think the fact that you spent $180 on Pearl Jam was in of itself, “offensive,” but that it was an unplanned impulsive entertainment purchase of sizable amount. If you had said that you had set aside $180 in your budget for “blow” money and spent it on PJ, I don’t think the purchase would have been so criticized.

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S Adair March 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm

This is my first time popping in at your blog. I find your style to be witty and real. Why shouldn’t saving money be sexy and fun.
No one will get any real savings happening if they are unhappy all the time. The same way people diet. If all they do is deny themselves instead of allowing – they fail – and fail miserably.
As I take my baby steps to pay off my mountain of debt, I am trying to live by an 80-20 rule for now – just like when I eat. I try to make awesome decisions 80% of the time – and try not to think about it so hard/beat myself up the other 20% of the time…
And everyone will be different. I think that buying the cheap beer is a budget making decision – but if I just can’t deal and I need some quality import stuff one night… well I am gonna make it happen.
When we are honest with ourselves we will succeed. Not everyone will agree. I have a budget and I stick to it most of the time. But HEY – I am human and I don’t make the BEST decisions all of the time. I reflect then move on and don’t beat myself up about them. I will do better next time…
Ok, ramble ramble.
I like your blog. :-)

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Debt Destroyer March 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

@ Penelope – Thanks for stopping by. I like the idea of moderation. Which is why I’ll probably only go to 4 Pearl Jam concerts next year instead of 6.

@ Helen – I couldn’t have asked for better feedback, thank you so much!

I think you’re right. I am rather flippant (For proof just look at the above comment). I think I have this same flaw in “real” life as well. I say flaw because I’ve noticed that I’m not always taken seriously, probably because I joke around so much.

I also see you’ve mentioned the dreaded B word…a budget would be good. I’m trying it out in a few categories right now(groceries, eating out, & household misc). It’s working well for the food ones, but I’m getting killed in the “misc” category. I think it’s because “misc” covers so much ground.

@ S Adair – Thanks for popping by.

I’ve never been referred to as “sexy” before…well there was that one time that Mrs DD. said something to that effect when I was wearing a new pull-over…but I digress.

(If you want a sexy & fun site you should check out http://www.budgetsaresexy.com)

I like your 80-20 rule. I’m not sure how I would be faring lately on that scale. Most of our expenses are fixed, so we make very few decisions every month. I’d like to think that 4 out of 5 are good…but I’m not so sure.

Thanks again for the comments.

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the weakonomist March 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Oh man, if PF Blog readers expect perfection they’re in for a big disappointment.

You don’t expect your dietitian to turn down a juicy burger every once in a while, so the pf bloggers should be given some slack.

I like that list of Frugal Frauds though. Very original!

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Debt Destroyer March 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm

A more apt analogy might be a someone on a diet having an occasional burger (And I think such an act would draw criticism).

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David March 6, 2009 at 1:02 am

I don’t think you should feel guilty for spending the money on Pearl Jam. I’m a huge music fan (Smashing Pumpkins all the way!)

The way I look at it, we optimize our finances so we can prioritize the things that are important to us.

If we cut back in other areas, what’s wrong with splurging a little in other areas? Absolutely nothing.

I’m improving my finances so I can enjoy life more. That means cutting back in areas I don’t care about, so I can do things like travel or go see concerts.

My next musical splurge may be buying a ticket from a broker for a sold out Killers show.

Money isn’t a destination in itself. We have to use it on things that enrich our life, so if Pearl Jam makes you happier, then I say go for it.

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Shevy March 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I came here after reading your comment on TSD today and I really like your question as to whether PF bloggers should be some kind of paragon of perfection.

I don’t think so. Most of us are either in debt, chronicling how we’re getting out or are recently out of debt. The ones who never had debt and propound methods for getting ahead are generally the ones I’m least interested in. That’s like a born organized person telling someone how to declutter their house.

I want to read about stuff real people have done and the good and bad along the way. Even if someone makes what I consider a poor decision I’m interested in seeing not how they justify it but how they make it work out for themselves.

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Scott Lovingood July 6, 2009 at 2:06 am

Well lets try this again. I love my math late at night!!

Wealth is about more than dollars and cents. If you want perfection then read about God. If you want progress, read PF blogs. I think we can all agree that progress is better than perfection because at least progress is possible for people while perfection is not.

I find your spending the money on Pearl Jam silly :) for me cause I am not a big fan. But for you and the passion you show it is a wealthy decision.

Wealth is about more than dollars and cents. It is not a bank statement number but rather the events that make up your life. Now you have to be in moderation. If you cannot afford to pay your light bill, then don’t spend $180 on a want. If you are working towards your goal of destroying your debt, LIVE life!!

As long as you plan on paying off your debts and not defaulting, be a purposeful spender. Spend on your passions. Make your life wealthly.

Be purposeful. Be Passionate. Be Wealthy!!

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