Money Talks, So Should You

Nerd on the Cheap: When you don't trust yourself with your paycheck

Owen O'Riordan
by Owen O'Riordan , Dimespring 30 (@OwenJOR)

Before — when I was unemployed impulse spending was easy to control. I simply couldn’t do it. I would often think of buying something and then I would laugh to myself in my head. Sometimes I even laughed out loud.

My thought was that I would put the item on a list and save it for when I had the money. But I had a trick up my sleeve —  I never physically committed it to a list. And since beer, the internet and the stress of adulthood have destroyed my memory, I never thought of it again.

READ: Quarter-Life Chronicle: Are mom and dad still paying your cell phone bill?

But now with my new job, I can afford stuff. All the stuff I want. Any kind of stuff you can imagine. The best stuff. The worst stuff. Just stuff in general. It’s all gonna be mine. There go all of my good spending habits born out of necessity.

But as my financial responsibility dies, I’m able to finally pick up an old habit that I’ve missed: buying weekly comics. Half the fun of weekly comics is going to a comic shop and seeing that other grown men (and maybe a woman) also like superheroes. The other half is looking at what cool new stuff there is to buy — statues, posters, shirts, Green Lantern rings, shot glasses, toys, hardcover editions of books I already own. All good stuff.

To offset the cash I'll inevitably be dropping at the comic shop, I looked for some strategies to curb any impulse spending. I’ve thought about not carrying my credit or debit card around with me, but that leaves me high and dry in case of an emergency. In the past, I’ve tried things like making lists, tracking spending and avoiding online shopping, but in the end they’ve all failed. So this time I’m going to try something a little more drastic.

READ: Cheapskate Culture: Mix CDs for musical communists 

I’m going to separate myself from my money. Physically.

No, really. I’m going to save in my credit union and continue to use my regular checking account at my community bank for my budgeted allowance. The logistics are still in the works, but in today’s world of instant access and ultra convenience I don’t need my life savings disposable in a matter of a few minutes. I’ve worked comics, food, going out and gifts into the budget and the rest will go far, far away from me.

Limiting my access won’t do much for everyday impulse spending (I’m looking at you, comic book stores) but I’m hopeful that it’ll force me into saving more than I normally would. And maybe in a year or so, I can make that big investment I’ve secretly been dreaming of — regardless how many comics, movies and toys I can afford.

What do you do to keep your spending under control? What's your financial Achilles' heel?
 

Owen O'Riordan is 24 years old and constantly looking for work. He is a copywriter by day, nerd by night (most of day too). Owen is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.