Sunday, November 2, 2008

Financial Stability is for Losers, Anyway.

Lovely bachelorette, myself, and Holly. 143 Evanston!

What a fun weekend! Full of college friends, food, laughter, polka dancing (!? never thought I'd be saying that) and celebration.

Thursday night was the bachelorette murder mystery party. After two quick pit stops for 88 cent sunglasses, the perfect, adorable boots, and a hat, I was off!

Wait, hold up. I bought a hat?

I have never really been a hat kinda girl. Nope, even baseball hats made me look awful. On a whim, I grabbed the last white light knit newsboy-slash-dreads-type-hat on the rack at Target.

Apparently, I love it - because I've worn it all weekend (save for the wedding, of course. I have some class. A little.)

It was great to see friends and meet new ones at the party - Clara the Clerk (that'd be me) was trendy and sipping an amaretto sour as she spoke to the other characters. We even had a walk-off down the runway. Okay, so maybe it was more of just strutting down the "runway" (uh, red foil), but a walk-off? Totally sounds more cool.

Also - I totally solved the mystery correctly. (Holly, er, Hannah, you're so scandalous!)

We spent the rest of evening catching up and gaping at how crazy it must be to actually have money. The bachelorette, and a housemate of mine from college, married a pharmacist. It was insane to see the grown up life they're going to lead in a brand new, gorgeous condo with 3 flat screen televisions.

I couldn't help but compare my life with my friend. Our TV set? Analog. And we have to set weights on the back of it when it starts to go fuzzy. (For some crazy reason, it fixes it!) We live in a great place now, but in 8 more months, we'll likely back to a tiny little apartment. Who knows how long it will be until we can afford a house.

It's not to say that I don't love my life with Mike, or that I'd like lots of TVs and gadgets. It's just that I can't even imagine our lives being steady and predictable at this point. We live as simply as possible to be able to send Mike to school. (And, uh, I'm an AmeriCorps volunteer, by the way. Which means I make poverty level wages. So it's somewhat forced simplicity.)

I know there's much more to a happy marriage and fulfilling life than financial stability. But, man, sometimes I wonder what it'd be like if Mike were an engineer or something like that. Easier?


  1. I've been known to think the same thing when in friend's homes that have a crap ton of things and I.... live w/my mom.


    I still blame the ex-roomie for ripping me off and leaving me w/lots of debt.

  2. Hey, I am actually married to an engineer! But we were poor college students the first year we were married, and I grew up in a family that didn't have much, so I've seen both sides of this coin.

    And yes, financial stability is easier. Growing up without money means I REALLY appreciate not having to worry about it. To me, the peace of mind that goes along with a decent-sized steady income is the best thing about it. Possessions can't make you happy, but having to worry about whether you're going to be able to put food on the table (and I know people who do) can be a definite hindrance to happiness.

    On the other hand, I think there's a balance that many people miss in their pursuit of the American Dream (big house, expensive gadgets and cars, private schools for the kids, etc.). I'm grateful that my husband's job provides us with the income it does, but I'm also grateful that he likes his work, that his stress level is low, that he has a short commute and that his hours are flexible and leave him time to spend with me and our daughter. Those things wouldn't be worth giving up, even for twice or three times the money that he makes now. And I think the materialism of our culture has tricked a lot of families into thinking that those sacrifices ARE worth it, so they give up a lot of things that are important in favor of more money. I'd be willing to squeeze our budget a lot tighter if it was the only way to keep the other aspects of our quality of life in place.

    ...And I'm rambling, but what I'm really trying to say, Ashley, is that if you and Mike are happy together that is what counts; the lack of a flat-screen TV can't take that away from you anymore than a thousand flat-screen TVs could give you happiness if you didn't already have it.

  3. i entirely share your thoughts. Adam and I are looking forward to the day when we can buy a house and not be spending $1,000/month on debt. That money? is our mortage. *sigh*

    stupid liberal arts majors getting paid next to nothing after college. *sigh*

    lucky for us, who don't have that luxury we know that happiness is more than 3 flat screen teevees and a 2,000 square foot condo. It's 2 buck chuck and good music and nights in with netflix and candles, and watching our dog run around in the cold. I hate our debt but i don't think i'd change our life for anything :)

  4. I would absolutely love some financial stability, but am not sure what path I'm really on or where I'm headed and until then? not gonna happen.

    Also? I would have liked to have been around the first time you figured out the weight/tv thing, haha!

  5. (The hat is adorable!), but on to the more important part of the post, I know what you mean. We've been to a lot of house parties where your jaw is dropped the entire time looking at the things money can buy you. And yes, it would be nice, but you just have to remember where your heart is. And that is in your home, in your lifestyle, and what beautiful things life has given you. I know I sound like a Hallmark card right now, but seriously.

  6. Hmm – I definitely sympathize with this. Mister and I have financial stability because we both work full time & basically don't buy things, but employment stability and enjoyment? That’s a whole other thing.

  7. Oh friend, you have done it again! How is it that your thoughts mirror mine in these blogs about 99% of the time?!?! I love it. Anyway, I wore a hat for the first time last night at my husband's 30th birthday party. I never wear them either, but it was fun! I felt very urban chic. (BTW, I will post a video from the party for you to see- wish you could have come!)

    About the friends who have money thing, mostly all of my close friends are similar to me income-wise (making decent salaries, but with large mortgages and paying off LOADS of school debt- basically we're all on the Dave Ramsey plan). But when I am confronted with someone my age who has money it totally throws me off. I was at a wedding shower recently, and this girl across from me was complaining about how she had to decorate her new husbands 3,000 square foot bachelor pad with his money!! I tried really hard to pretend I was enjoying the conversation, all the while wondering, "I know my husband's so smart- why did he have to pick a career in MUSIC???? He could have been an engineer, a pilot, anything. Oh well, he's happy, and if he's happy I'm happy.)

  8. ASHLEYYYY - I LOVE THE HAT. You look so precious. Definite winner.

    And as for the financial stability part? I soo know what you mean. Kind of. My girlfriend and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum. She has an extremely well paying, stable job and is looking at purchasing a brand new condo, and I'm at a decent job, while trying to save up for full time school next year, going to school now, and hoping that my 1991 car doesn't break down in the next 3 years because i REALLY can't afford a new one. so while i might be enjoying the luxuries of having a "well off" girlfriend, it's still frustrating to know that on my own? i will never be close to buying a brand new car, or a brand new house, ANYTIME in the forseeable future.

  9. Oooh! I love the hat! Soooo cute on you! You look adorable. Love the whole look!

    And yeah ... financial stability?! What's that. I feel like John and I are never going to have our own house ... or nice things. Oh well. Who needs it?! I'll wear Target clothes forever and be happy with it!

  10. I just love great weekends with good friends.. always makes for an awesome time!!!

  11. Firstly, you're absolutely adorable. Secondly, my Joe is an engineer and our life together is far from financially stable... we were JUST talking about this last night. We want the gadgets and the new furniture and fun stuff, but we grew up frugal and we're still penny pinchers. Hopefully our sparse living now will pay off (pun TOTALLY intended) down the road. As long as you're happy, who really cares, right?

  12. While having money does make life easier it doesn't always mean that life is happier!

  13. I love that post! I think the same thing about having cable, an iPhone, or some expensive cutlery, and then I have to have a values clarification... I am a teacher because I want to help. My husband (a poorer engineer) works for a small company because it is aligned with his values, instead of a huge mega corp that would pay twice as much.

    So, I make do, for now... and really enjoy going to luxerious friends' and family's homes!

  14. Dude polka dancing is a ton of fun and easy to remember :)

  15. LOVE the hat! And yeah, financial stability is totally overrated.

  16. One thing I can say for financial stability is that it gives you opportunities you wouldn't normally have if the dough wasn't there. I've been seeing an incredibly wealthy guy lately, and he has so many more stories and experiences to share! I'm jealous but it definitely inspires me!

  17. I am SO very tricksy. Hannah Homemaker rocks the house.


C'mon, leave a comment. They're the best part!