Why You Can’t Pay For Me

4 May

I’ve been blessed to have a lot of friends in my life who are willing to pay for things for me.  They’ll cover the cost of a round of bowling, they’ll buy me a smoothie at a coffee shop (that’s not being cheap- I’m allergic to caffeine), some of them will even buy me a ticket to the aquarium (but only if I’m sick and they need me to drive them).  They do these things because we’re friends, and they know that I’ve done/ will do the same things for them.  It’s a give-and-take, and I love that about my friends.

It also drives me up the freakin’ wall.

I don’t like people paying for things for me.  It’s not out of a sense of a “oh-you-shouldn’t-have” politeness, or feeling like I then “owe” someone something, (since I don’t keep track of dollar amounts to make sure it all comes out fair and no one is going to argue that I’m a proper Southern belle).  Instead, it’s more that I feel robbed when someone pays for me.

Let me explain this a bit better.

I work hard for my money.  As in, spending seven days a week, on my feet, sometimes at multiple jobs in a day, work hard for my money.  I’m proud of my paychecks, even when they’re smaller than I would like, because I know that I have earned them.  I have helped someone find a video game, cared for a child, pulled multiple sources of data into a single report, or created something new.  I have dealt with nice people, with worried people, with angry people, and with outright mean people.  I have sweated, cried, and bled over each job. (Literally on all three, actually. But that’s another story).  Each time I get to type a paycheck amount into a line on my budget and see that balance rise, I feel proud of myself.

I also work hard for my budget.  I know, down to the last dollar, where my money is going each month.  I don’t miss bill payment due dates, I don’t overdraft my account, and I’m getting better about not stealing money from other budget line items (using gas money to buy a DVD is totally fine when said DVD is from the gas station convenience store… right?).  Being a good steward of my money is important to me, and on the rare occasions that I succeed, I get to feel proud of myself again.

I do set aside money each month to pay for fun things, like bowling and smoothies, but when that’s gone, it’s gone.  If I want something else, I pick up a few extra babysitting jobs to afford it.  When I am able to purchase something that I’ve worked to earn, whether it’s a new book, new phone, new clothes, or even a vacation, it’s a victory.  I get to feel proud of myself for  third time.  I’ve worked and been patient, and now I get to reap the rewards.

This is me every time Maureen Johnson publishes a new book, Tim Burton makes a new movie, or the Backstreet Boys release a new CD. It’s sad, but true.

So when I tell you that I can’t afford to go to the movies because I’ve spent the entertainment part of my budget this month, and you reply with an offer to pay for my ticket, I know that you are trying to be nice because we’re friends.  You are also implying that my company is worth the roughly $55 cost of a movie ticket these days.  Both of these are cool, and I want you to know that I appreciate them both.  Sometimes I will even take you up on these sorts of offers.

But you’re also taking away my chance to feel proud of myself, and I kind of resent that.  I hate feeling like I haven’t earned something, whether it’s a trip to the movies or a grade on a test.  It bothers me, and the feeling will hang around the back of my mind for ages (OCD- the gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and…).  Keep in mind that if I turn down your offer, it’s likely more for my own sanity than it is anything else.  And feel free to ask again next week or month.  Chances are, I’ll have saved some money and will be able to go.

(Oh, and while we’re on the subject, “oh, it’s just $8.  You can afford that” is not an acceptable response either.  I just said that I can’t afford it.  I’m (probably) not trying to duck your company, and even if I was, implying that you know how much money is in my pocket better than I do is not the way to get me to agree.  Just wanted to throw that out there.)

I get weird looks all the time about my budget.  My peers think it’s insane that I already have such a strict money policy, people older than me think I’m too young to be worrying about such things, and people younger than me get a scared look in their eyes- like they’re worried they may end up like me.  I don’t know if it makes me independent, crazy, frugal, stingy, sensible, cheap, or just plain weird, but I like my budget.  I can’t always control what happens to me, but I can control what I do with what I get.

And the end of the day (and the month), I’m proud of myself.  While I may not have everything that I want, I know that I have earned the things that I have, and I’d rather have that any day. (Unless we’re talking about a giant ball pit.  You can totally buy one of those for me.  I will not object at all.)

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So how about you?  What do you take pride in?  What makes you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end of the day?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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10 Responses to “Why You Can’t Pay For Me”

  1. Why are mangoes so squishy? May 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    (I know that this is going to sound all mushy and I’m going to be thought of as a complete sucker…) I like when I present in front of the class. I don’t mean to brag, but one of my limited talents is public speaking. I can make anybody that I want to be interested in what I’m saying, just because of my crazy, pessimistic, funny-ish personality. I go to sleep well at night when I know that I’ve made someone learn about a topic that they never would have taken interest in otherwise. People often come up to me at the end of a presentation and say, “You did such a wonderful job. Your presentation was my favorite because you were so energetic. You looked like you really enjoy your topic.” However, when they find out, to their surprise, and sometimes horror, I didn’t like my presentation topic at all, their faces all mirror one thing: shock.
    I have grown to learn that a grade on a presentation doesn’t matter, as long as the people watching it have fully paid attention and learned something from my presentation. (Wow!!! I sound like a HUGE geek! Then again, maybe I am one.)

    • Losing My Cents May 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      You don’t sound like a geek at all. It is a rare talent to be able to speak well on a topic that you don’t actually care much about. Just make sure to use your powers for good. Haha. 🙂

      • Why are mangoes so squishy? May 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

        if I used my powers for good, that wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

      • Losing My Cents May 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

        Hmm, that is true. Carry on. May the 4th be with you.

  2. Why are mangoes so squishy? May 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    Eggxactly.

  3. deaconhayes May 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    I take pride in being responsible much like yourself. To work hard and add value to those I come in contact with. I do find joy, however, it paying for someone’s meal or helping them out in a time of need. I know that I am only where I am today in large part to the generosity of others.

  4. sydneyaaliyah May 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Four years ago I had seen this ring at Tiffany. A simple band with total 2 carats diamond channel set. It cost about 3,000 USD. I love this ring and I wanted this ring. With my budget, I couldn’t justify getting it. So, I decide to save for it. I saved for 3 years to buy this ring. 1,000 USD per year was no big deal in the grand scheme of my finances. It was the ring fund. A month before I was to go purchase it, my boss bought me the ring for my 4 year work anniversary. Everyone said, “What a great boss you had.” I just felt kind of cheated. I had a goal, I achieved the goal, but missed out on the reward because someone else in my life wanted to do something nice. I still don’t know how am supposed to feel about it. I don’t wear the ring very often. Believe me, working for this women, I deserve several diamonds.

    • Losing My Cents May 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Ooh, I don’t know how I’d feel about it either. Definitely would feel cheated, though. But I do have to ask, what did you end up spending the ring fund on?

      • sydneyaaliyah May 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

        I still haven’t. It’s in a savings account. I guess that is a good thing. Have to wait for something else that I have to have, but can’t afford. Then I will use it then.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Well, That Was Fast | Losing My Cents - January 7, 2015

    […] issues with having other people pay for things for me. There’s a whole post on this in the archives if you’re curious, but let’s just say that I haven’t made much progress on this […]

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