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Confessions of a Used to Be Baller

Okay, so I wasn’t that much of a baller. I didn’t buy fancy clothes or go on luxurious (or any) vacations, but I did partake in activities that I now consider WAY out of my budget. How is it that a college student making minimum to intern wages thought she could spend like a coked up rockstar? I was totally deluded, believing that anything was within my budget as long as I didn’t max out my credit card and I could make the minimum payments. After all, I could pay it all off every tax season…

The problem is, of course, that eventually more and more companies give you  more and more credit. And I don’t blame them one bit, I was the one who was spending. Unfortunately, my tax refunds just couldn’t keep up. Nor could my income as I also succumbed to lifestyle inflation. Anyways, behold my baller tendencies:


Then: I smoked on and off (mostly on) for around four years. Steve quit a few months after I quit for good. He had been smoking since his teenage years. So, two broke kids smoking a pack a day each. Assuming a pack costs $6.50, that’s $13 a day, or just under $5000 a year. 5 freaking thousand dollars?! Around $400 a month, which is basically my food budget now! How did I not realize how much of a money suck that was?

Now: I bought my last pack of cigarettes on June 17, 2012. Haven’t had a craving since about June 24, 2012. WIN! Other used to be smokers, when did you realize how much it was costing you (dollar-wise, obviously we all know what it’s doing health-wise)? If you really want to quit but can’t do it abruptly, try those portable vaporizers out there. Many have observed that it’s a very good way to take baby steps to quitting.


Then: My latest life annoyance is that I want to see The Great Gatsby, but I don’t want to fork over that much money for the theater experience. A couple years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Only poor people think movies are expensive. I would have bought the tickets (3D, of course), plus a small medium large popcorn and a large Cherry Coke. The cost of the tickets alone would be more than the purchase price of the DVD. Just to be in a dark crowded space with annoying teenagers (or GMD 😉 apparently) who talked through the whole movie.

Now: I will be paying nothing to see The Great Gatsby, because I will wait till it comes out on DVD and use a free Redbox promo code. In fact, if memory serves me correctly I haven’t been to the theater since November 2011 when I went to the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Don’t. Judge. Me. So what about you guys, are you theater-goers or Redbox converts?


Then: I used to survive on fast food and takeout. Like I’d eat it every day. When I was feeling particularly ballerific (channeling Lorelei Gilmore, “DIRTY!”), I would eat out at sit down restaurants. Not only was all this food terrible for me, but it was ridiculously expensive. One particularly memorable take-out experience was when I ordered $40 worth of Chinese food in order to have a food delivery service bring it to me. I lived about 12 blocks from a Chinese restaurant! Not only that, but this was freshman year. I was making $450 a month.

Why did I do this? Every excuse in the book. “I can’t cook!” “I don’t have time!” What I would do to have the amount of time I thought I didn’t have in college…

Now: I don’t eat fast food anymore, with the one exception of occasional Chipotle. We go out to eat MAYBE once or twice a month. Other than that, we cook like grown ups. However, I do eat spaghetti approximately twice a week due to cheapness, quickness, and deliciousness. Fun fact: I didn’t know how to cook spaghetti until after I was married. True story. Did anyone else learn to cook spaghetti after the age of 10?


Then: I have an addictive personality so I get really, really into things. Two years ago, the thing I was really, really into was high-end makeup. That paired with the fact that I couldn’t delay gratification led me to purchasing thousands of dollars worth of makeup. I was obsessed. I read all the blogs, watched all the YouTube videos, and very much kept up with the well-manicured Joneses. I have never seen the bottom of a pan of blush, and I have 15 of them.

Now: While I still admire high-end makeup, I only buy things that need replacing now. Because of my crazy obsession, I have enough eye shadow and blush to last me until I die. That is, assuming I live to be 103. How did you try to keep up with the Joneses?

Did you guys used to think you were ballers? What did you spend on that you feel is out of your price range now? PLEASE tell me so I can feel better about myself! Pretty please, with pennies on top?

[Image from tumblr]

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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