Emotional Work Startups

Day 296 and Under Budget

One reason I’ve been comfortable working in startups my whole life is I’ve never been a big spender. My biggest expense is probably takeout, as I find cooking to be a waste of time. As long as I can afford medical insurance (I’d get a job somewhere with socialized medicine if it came to that) I’m pretty happy with a one bedroom and Chipotle for dinner. Some people get used to their lifestyle as they make more money. I just haven’t yet.

If I go bankrupt (and sadly I lived through that emotional roller coaster as a teenager with my family) I could find a way to live within new means again. I don’t have to be in the top 10% to have a good life. I only need that for health care costs and sorry America but there are other options. I’ve got skills that could earn me stability if I wanted to make that choice. Hear that Canada I’m recruitable!

But I do need to learn to live comfortably with my current means. It’s alright to live within your budget. Sometimes budgets bigger and you can easily spend more on disposable income. And this was a year where my means finally got comfortable. And I’m still sort of afraid to use it. I had to really talk myself into a chair that that was functionally a workplace accommodation. Instead of just jumping at a chair that lets me work comfortably for longer hours I spent several years just not working as many hours.

This tendency to live under budget comes everywhere. I wanted something I considered fairly lavish for dinner. But I thought how ridiculous to spend an extra $15 on dinner. I got a little worked up trying to think of other options that I wanted as much and my husband said “fifteen bucks isn’t going to make a difference get the damn thing.” And so I did and it was fantastic. I’m super happy about my evening and the spending will have no impact on my total budget. Anyone who tells you that money or privilege can’t buy you happiness are lying. Happiness is a choice and it’s an easier choice when you can make the choices you want.

I had mental upper bounds on what I think it is responsible to spend for years. I ran an Airbnb side hustle out of an underpriced two bedroom in Chintatown while I had a six figure salary, because I wanted to live so far under my means I could take risks if I wanted. That under budget mentality let me save up 70,000. It’s also how I met my husband but that’s a different story.

That kind of thinking let me enjoy startup failures for the priceless learning that they are. But now I realize I’m afraid to live on my budget. Unless I’m living massively under budget I’m a little uncomfortable. So I’m going to try to let that one go. I can just live on budget.