I have OCD.
Not, like, "oh, I'm really organized and tidy" type cute-sy Monica Gellar OCD.
I have real OCD. I was diagnosed at 19. There, there's something you probably didn't know about me (or expect me to just throw out there in a finance blog, but there it is).
My OCD manifests itself here and there. I'm medicated, so it's pretty under control. I do have certain things that make it go a bit wonky at times. Certain sounds drive me absolutely bonkers, to the point where I have to leave the room. I really, really, REALLY dislike crowds. Surefire way to send me into a full-on panic. I don't like things that go fast or spinning wheels.
Very odd things like that. Over the past 15 years I've learned to control and/or squash a lot of my issues....but I do tend to pick some up sometimes, if I'm not careful.
Sometimes, I get really nervous about "running out" of things. So much so that I'll buy, say, 3-4 containers of a condiment....just so I don't run out. I don't like to finish things, like soda ...because what if I don't have another one?
Now I'm just kind of sounding nuts.
I promise, I have a point.
Since starting our debt-payoff and savings plan a few years ago, I've worked REALLY hard on not being a over-spender. I try to find deals where I can, I try to save, I try to delay gratification.
The husband and I made the decision this week on where we are going to move and to what....and it led us to the decision to build a house. Now, this always seemed, to me anyway, like a really out-of-reach idea for us. The numbers are.....scary. Dave Ramsey tells us not to move or buy a house until we are 100% debt free. Yes, true. We are deviating from Dave's plan a bit to get our girls to a new city. A city where they have more opportunity. A city where my earning potential as a self-employed person is greater. An area I've missed terribly since we left it 7 years ago. It's our home. We want to get back there.
We had some major "Come to Jesus" talks about this. Is it a good idea? Should we just stay put? Are we being stupid?
I believe each family in the midst of their own financial fitness journey has to make the decisions that best fit their path to wealth. We can move and still continue to pay off debt at the level we are currently.....and that made it an easier decision to make.
HOWEVER, I am finding that over the years I've developed a bit of an aversion to spending money. Any money. Which makes spending the most money you've ever spent on a thing very hard. I keep running the numbers. I keep having these panic moments of "what if I don't book any work!?! What if one of us loses our income!?"
It's the same panic I get in crowds: What if I lose a kid? What if someone with the flu brushes up against me and then I get the flu? What if there's a fire and I can't get away?
It's the same panic I get in fast moving cars: What if our wheels fall off? (Yes. This terrifies me.) Despite my husband's insistence that this doesn't really happen, I swear I've seen it.
We've weathered job loss in the past and we know we are very responsible people who can take what life throws at us. Doesn't make the decision any easier.
I've developed a visceral reaction to spending money. I'm convinced myself that if I just collect enough data saying "Yes, this makes sense" that I'll feel better about it.
Not so sure. I guess I just needed to get that out :) Right now, I'm blaming it on the OCD. That way, I can say that at some level I'm being completely irrational :)
Can anyone relate?
We all make day to day decisions regarding finances that drive our family either forward or backward. We decide to buy the pants. We decide to buy the car. We decide to invest. We decide to not loan our friend $100. We decide to stop eating at restaurants. We decide to use cash only. These are all decisions that people could argue for or against until the cows come home.
I keep thinking "People out there are going to think this is a bad idea". What people? I dunno, people. People who will see us spend. I worry about that a lot. If I buy myself a magazine or a sweatshirt, I'm being really wasteful because I don't really need it. This is one hell of a sweatshirt.
At some point, we need to TRUST ourselves. Especially if you're to the point where you've been running a strict budget for years and you are on a very good trajectory. You need to trust that you are responsible. You need to KNOW yourself, and what you can handle. I know I'm not a person who is going to go buck-nutty and spend $50,000 furnishing my new home with Pottery Barn. That just isn't me. We are going to save cash until we can replace some of our more worn out items. I know I'm not the person who is going to upgrade the house to the hilt so it is $100,000 more than the initial base price. I'm going to make smart decisions based on what we really NEED.
I guess I don't trust myself yet. I feel like if I fail, if I calculate wrong, if I can't make my business work there like I have here, then I fail our family....and that would suck.
Sometimes, we look fear in the face and we run, it's just too scary....too real. Sometimes we face it down....we say yes and make it work. I've done this with my job...I've done it with having a third kid and within personal relationships. Life is long. It's hard. And living in fear of making a wrong decision when you've become a ridiculously cautious person.....not sure if that's a way to saunter down your own road, right?
So, that's where my head is right now, Gazelles. How you doin'? :)
I have OCD.