Throwback Thursday: Keeping Up

Keeping Up

Throwback Thursday! Let’s go back to a time about 4 years ago…an era in my life that I like to call “Keeping Up.”

An era in my life that I like to call Keeping Up... Click To Tweet

Keeping Up

Here were some of my recurring expenses during that time:

Personal Trainer

That I often cancelled on. When I moved across the Twin Cities, I flat-out stopped using my training packages and let about 30 go to waste. Along with hundreds of dollars. I had signed up for the trainer to improve my physical fitness score. Did I? No.

Gym Membership

Along with the personal trainer I had a gym membership that I rarely used. Did I mention my job at the time gave us 3 hours a week to work out during our work day? So three times a week I could leave work an hour early to go to the gym or meet with my trainer.

Monthly Massages

To be fair, this was at the height of my back and neck issues and trying to get them under control. Regular massages and chiropractic care were part of my treatment plan. But I suspect I could have lived without them, or at least gone a lot less often. Like I do now.

Regular Chiropractor Visits

We’re talking 2 or 3 times a week for months. See above. None of this was covered by insurance because Tricare doesn’t believe in chiropractors, even though the VA doctors told me countless times I needed to see a chiropractor for my injuries. But they kept sending me to physical therapy because it was covered…until I finally just started to pay out of pocket for a chiropractor. Luckily she was awesome and gave me a good deal!

High Maintenance Hair

I had a short style that I loved and I kept it blonde. Because I wore an Army uniform to work, my hair couldn’t go past a certain length or I’d have to put it up (and usually it wasn’t long enough at that point to stay up). Because of the length and hair color, this meant trims every 6 weeks or so and color every 12 weeks or however long I could stretch it out. I didn’t go to Fantastic Sam’s back then either. It wasn’t cheap.

Fancy Nails

I have never been one to paint my nails because I’ve had a terrible nail biting habit for as long as I can remember. But I got talked into getting a french manicure and tips for a wedding. I decided to keep them on for about 6 months to try to break my gross habit. Getting them filled every few weeks added up! And did it work? For a little while, until I was bored at a class one day and bit all my nails off…

TV Shows

This one really makes me cringe. I was rarely home when my shows were on TV and I’ve never splurged for DVR, so I often bought TV shows on iTunes. And a lot of them. Cringe.

Fancy Hair & Nails

A glimpse of that fancy hair and nails that didn’t come naturally. And an angry cat dressed as a banana split.

The Dark Truth

In 2011 and early 2012 I was not completely living pay check to pay check, but if you read my personal finance journey, you’ll know I would not have lasted too long without any income. I spent all this money on all this self-maintenance and upkeep every month and didn’t feel like money was tight. But here’s the truth:

  • After much persuasion, my boss finally convinced me to contribute about 5% of my income to the Army’s Thrift Savings Plan. (I was in the military about 7 years before I started contributing!)
  • Other than that I was not saving for retirement and never had.
  • When I knew I’d be getting my tax return, I would think of things I could buy! Like a new TV! And then I did.
  • I had recently paid off my 4-year-old car so I was toying around with the idea to buy a new one!
  • My emergency savings fluctuated between around $1,200 and $2,000 and I was not contributing any extra.
  • I had no one to fall back on if I got into a pinch.
  • Fortunately I was always able to pay my credit card bill in full and my car was paid off.
  • I was in school and although the military eventually paid for all of it, there were periods where I had large student loans.
  • And sadly….the hair, trainer, nails, gym…looking back I feel like I did all of those things out of a sense of “keeping up.” It just wasn’t me. There are other more cost-effective ways for me to do some of those things.

The Lessons

It wasn’t the worst situation I could be in, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with these purchases. But it just wasn’t me. I wish I’d had my priorities in a slightly different order, saving for retirement more and having a better emergency fund.

And the time!!! Trainer, hair, nails, massage, chiropractor…all those appointments make my head spin! Maybe it’s my old age (I did just turn a year wiser yesterday) but I’m not interested in having that many regular appointments these days!

I do miss that short blonde hair, but I’ve never found anyone that could get it just right since my favorite stylist left. I could see myself having hair like that again, now that I’ve got my finances more in order.

What is that Kierkegaard quote? “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

That’s how it goes…the goal is just to learn from life and change the path going forward!

The goal is just to learn from life and change the path going forward! Click To Tweet

Keeping Up

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  1. If you have pain from old injuries (especially at the height of it), I think a monthly massage is actually the best thing. My husband is in a lot of pain — we just found out it’s fibromyalgia — so he’s actually going twice a month. If things don’t get better soon, we may need to go up to weekly, though I’m praying that’s not the case.

    We negotiated an amazing deal with the people who own the place, but man it adds up! Plus I go for a massage once a month for basic maintenance myself.

    I’ve never cared about my nails, thankfully, but I do keep up on my hair. For now I’m allowing my vanity to get the gray covered. The concession is that I go to a beauty school: $30 for a cut and color every 6 weeks. Eight if I really want to push it/constantly threaten to chop it all off.

    I definitely have let some other maintenance stuff creep into my life. I’m trying to increase the time in between visits. Like my eyebrow/lip wax. It’s currently been around three months. It’s quite often driving me crazy/making me self-conscious (even with tweezing). But I’ve made it this long, so I’ll just wait until right before FinCon.

    I’m glad you’ve come such a long way over the last few years!
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…A bit of housekeepingMy Profile

    • Beauty schools are a great way to save! I pay to get my eyebrows and lips done…I can’t do it myself and probably never will. I spread out the visits though and luckily my hair is really light! 🙂

  2. I’m actually considering trying to go back to my natural color to save a little money. I’ve been way to scared to do it yet though…we’ll see how it goes. I enjoyed reading this post and I’m glad you linked up with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

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