Guest Post: Mo Money Mo Problems

It's the first Monday of the month, which means Layne, my ever so faithful guest blogger is back!

I was once in a guest lecture where the speaker held up a $20 bill and burned it right before us. After all these years, I can still remember the vividness of that moment. Money burns, he simply said.

I dont remember the nuances of his point, but I do remember cringing as the green corners crinkled, wishing I could run up and rescue that poor bill into the safety of my own pockets. That $20 was a lot of money to me then; okay, yeah, it still is now.

I think he simply wanted to pound it into our heads-money doesnt matter, not really.

My grandmother and my mother always told me it was rude to talk about money, but, shhhhh, lets talk about money for a second. Only for a second-after all, its just money.

I grew upahem, rather poor. My husband hates it when I say that since I grew up in North America. But my family always qualified for food stamps if that helps give you some indication of where we were on the spectrum.

It doesnt really matter and I didnt care. Despite the hand-me-down clothes and almost constant scrounging, I actually thought we were rich, and I was happy. There is something to be said about blissful ignorance.

I suppose, as with most of us, money had some sort of determining factors in the shaping of my life. Perhaps because of this, or rather as an outplay of it, I honestly love talking about money. While Im frustrated with the system of money in general and wish we could all just live without it, I am also fascinated with finances. I dont love money; I love the way numbers work and what they can do.

Besides, life is so ridiculously expensive. Right now, it feels as if our life in particular is so ridiculously expensive.

Jonathan {The Hubs} and I are just above the minimalist scale in life. While I long to be a minimalist, he says we have too much stuff lounging around to actually qualify. But we dont love stuff; our needs are simple. We are huge bargain people and are signed up to many a loyalty program. We look at our budget multiple times a month to make sure we are on track and if we need to buy clothes, look at thrift stores first. We dont have a T.V., cable or any subscriptions. We rarely eat out and embrace leftovers.

I feel as if we are pretty practical people, prepared for whatever may come our way. But let me be candid-our car has been in the shop three times in the last month with bills totalling close to $2000. My phone (which has been broken a handful of times before this and replaced a stolen phone) just died this week. My boots suddenly developed holes and there always seems to be an empty bottle of shampoo around the corner. Our cabinets arent looking too stocked either.

No matter how we plan and budget and save, it seems that there is a bottomless pit of We Want More from the money gods who ferociously demand more than weve determined to give.

This blessed, expensive life.

Now, dont get me wrong-Im not complaining and Im not worried. Im simply saying its not a great feeling, that seeping of funds out of all the edges of our lives, this way and that. It used to stress me out, the feeling of unexpected financial woes-a travesty that happens far too often.

But a few years ago, my dear friend Anne shared her dads philosophy on such expenditures. Its just one of those things.

Big pause, lets say it altogether now-Its just one of those things.

As much as I long to be a good steward of all that is mine, as much as I try, I just cant help all the messes that come my way.

I can help speeding down the road; I cant help a flat tire. I can help stocking up on all the first-class caviars that look so enticing; I cant help the taxes that need to be paid. I can help not buying everything in Anthropologie {barely}; I cant help the memory card the breaks and costs usover a grand to fix.

So I roll my eyes and sigh. Its just one of those things as I dig around and sort money columns and empty our emergency fund and then try to find $500 more. Some days you may see me walking down the street, muttering it slowly for an entire block. Deep breath, its going to be okay.

For I shant let it shape the course of my life, let alone my day. After all, its only money; and money burns.

Layne lives in southern Ontario with her husband Jonathan where they have been running theirmedia company since October 2011.

She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism. She interned at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan and has volunteered for PhotogenX since 2009.

Layne co-authored “Act Here. Love Now.,” a culmination of stories, photos and practical ways to impact your own community, city and world. “Act Here. Love Now.” was a finalist in the Multicultural Non-Fiction and Current Events/Social Change categories in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Their business was recently featured on Wedding Chicks, one of the premiere wedding planning sites.