I found this table at an antique store in Rosemount, and I’m currently coveting it like mad.
It’s an expandable Queen Anne.
It comes with 6 black, high top chairs that only match the table if you have a vaguely eclectic aesthetic taste.
And the fantastic textile on the chairs pulls the look of the entire set together in a surprising way.
It’s all very hipster vintage. I can picture it sitting elegantly in my future dining room with a rug underfoot – maybe bright red? – and a vase of freshly cut flowers. My gut was telling me to impulse-buy the hell out of that table and chairs.
And then reason stepped in.
The summer before my senior year of college I landed an internship that required me to become baseline financially literate. I read a couple of different books to build up my minimal financial knowledge, but the one that most caught my attention was All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. The authors’s recommendation for navigating your financial life is simple — get your money in balance. They advocate the 50/30/20 plan, the breakdown of which is explained by this nifty pie chart:Being a single girl without a mortgage, children or even a dog, and (thanks entirely to my very selfless parents) living a debt-free lifestyle, it’s been relatively easy to stick with the 50/30/20 plan. In all honestly, though, I’m more ready to give credit to my own ignorance for that success than I am to thank my limited financial understanding.
Proof in point: instead of pouncing on that dining set from the antique store, I made myself walk away so I could sleep on my decision. I also decided to balance my monthly spending plan (which I haven’t done since…July, maybe?…) and see how much money I have left to play around with.
To date, I’m in the red $66.14. And I don’t get paid for another 4 days.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about spending money I get tripped up on the scientific difference between a “want” and a “need”.
Here is a list of things I DESPERATELY NEED that would probably only qualify as wants if I was cold-hearted and had absolutely no material desires.
- The hipster vintage dining room set of my hipster vintage dreams
- Every piece of clothing that J Crew and Banana Republic has ever manufactured in the history of ever
- A vacation to Scotland to be with my ginger-haired brethren
- The new iPhone 5 because I am privileged and think my iPhone 3 is a waste of technology
- A sassy pair of brown leather boots
Here is a list of the things that I actually do need in my life.
- A completely new set of tires for my car
- Enough cash to pay for upcoming birthday, wedding and holiday gifts
- Renter’s insurance
- Food from the actual grocery store
- A check to pay back my mom after having freeloaded on her auto insurance policy and cell phone plan for the last four months
How do you find a balance between addressing your priorities and indulging in your precious life to its fullest? How do you go about making sure that your money provides you with the opportunity to choose, rather than with the limitations of choice? Some days, I think I may be starting to get it. Other days I realize that I really have no idea.
I still want the table and chairs.
UPDATE: Yep…I bought the table and chairs. That happened.
[Additional photo credit: My kickass instagram skillz.]