OK, lovies. Yesterday, I was contacted by Prosper.com, a peer-to-peer lending site*. They've decided to dedicate this week to talking about one of the most difficult things for us shop-a-holics to face: Money. And budgets. And, well... stickin' to 'em. They've dubbed it "Fashionably Talking Taboo week," where we're challenged with being totally honest with our money sitch so we can better exercise financial fitness. Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:
"The Talk About The Taboo Campaign has been launched by Prosper to try to get more people to open up about one of the last remaining social taboos, personal finance. Prosper believes that sharing a problem is often one of the first steps towards solving it and that this campaign may be a means of helping the incredible number of people struggling with their personal finances. The Talk About Taboo site is a place where people can share their stories about how they’re tackling debt, and celebrate your milestones as they strive for better financial fitness, as well as helping them find guidance and practical help. We encourage people to share with us, and in return are providing them with a simple way to be heard and supported."
How does this affect our little blogging niche? Well, this discussion is super-important, especially when we're surrounded by other gals and bloggies with significantly varying financial stability. Just because Bloggie X can afford it doesn't mean I can or that I'm entitled to it, too. Let's just say I know it can really put some stress on the bank account! So, I hope that by letting ya'll know my story, you'll 1) know how I shop and budget my money, and 2) realize you're not alone if you have a tight budget, too!
As for my story: I was lucky to grow up in a house that had good financial means. However, I never really learned the value of a dollar despite having worked since I was 16. I was always "bailed out" when found in sticky financial situations. After graduating from college and being on my own fiancially, I had a lot to learn about budgeting and not racking up the credit card debt.
So here's what I've learned to do: my husband and I sit down and calculate our current costs vs. income. Then, we figure out what's left after stashing some money to savings and divide it between eachother. Every paycheck, I get a sum of money that's appropriate for our income/costs ratio and use that on whatever I want. The best thing about this is that it allows for us to be 100% honest with our spending. Because of my tight budget, I do a lot of shopping at sites that have very affordable fashion, like Forever 21 (duh, I shop there too much!), Charlotte Russe, Urban Outfitters, and GoJane. I also always search for coupon codes before online-buying... never know what's out there until you try!
I'm definitely still tempted by my credit card, especially because my budget is teeeeeeny tiny (in my opinion), and my wants are usually way over my financial means. On top of it all, I'm about to go back to school and incur some serious debt. My little budget is most likely about to get even smaller, and I definitely worry about how I'll handle that. But hubs and I plan on figuring it out, and I trust that we'll budget the way we need to. In reality, it's hard to say no to those $300 shoes, but it's much harder to think about being over-my-head-in-debt and questioning if I'll ever get to retire. I have to get honest: I can't afford Louboutins. I can't use every promotion code that comes my way just because it's a good deal. I can't keep up with the Joneses. But that's ok, and someday, I hope to be stable enough to indulge in those things every once in a while. Good things come to those that wait, right?
If you want to share your story on their site, you could win $1,000! I really think the more we support each other on this, the easier it will be for all of us to be honest with ourselves with our spending. Just know, at least coming from me-- you're not the only one who has to say no. Sometimes, it's just nice to know you're not alone. :)
*Side note and disclosure: This blog post is not an endorsement for Prosper.com or their services, nor are they a sponsor of Fetching Fashions. I know nothing about the soundness of the site (i.e. the use of peer-to-peer lending) but just feel that their desire for us to open up about financial responsibility was laudable and important.