Winter: Saving, Spending and Living

Posted on December 2, 2010


Winter has officially arrived in Los Angeles. The mornings are chilly, the days warm, the evenings cool. Such is the noncommittal way of Angelenos weather. 50-70-50. Doesn’t make any sense. But that’s fine. The mornings are officially cool enough to wear a scarf, and I feel fulfilled in my desire to experience a chilly winter. While in the sunshine.

I suppose even through all this therapy I still have a difficult time committing to being in cold places.

Something that has changed dramatically, I’ve realized, and something I’ve really been working to understand and build a better relationship with is money. My track record with money is not that good~ I’m sure you speak with many girls in my place now, with a past in porn and a future in freedom, and they will tell you quite the same thing (if they are being honest). I have no money left from doing porn. Which seems silly because I made a buttload of if. Well, enough to make this under 30 woman feel like it was a buttload. However, in re-entering society and thus reality, I’ve realized that making over 100k a year is not necessarily making a “buttload” of money.

I recently read a study by Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist and a professor I would go to extreme lengths to study with, ( about the extreme levels of unequal wealth distribution in the US, a study that showed the majority of Americans have no clue about the distribution of wealth in the US, and most prefer distribution levels similar to Sweden. The study was enlightening for a couple reasons, the first already stated, and the second being that 100k is just not that much money in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I spent it like it was nothing. Which is interesting to me for a couple reasons as well.

Perhaps I didn’t feel I deserved to make that money. Or to keep it. Thus it flew from my hands.

Perhaps, like many other Americans, I was convinced that “having” money means spending money. All the time. And all of it.

And perhaps, I felt like if I surrounded myself with “things” I wouldn’t mind being empty of “things” …on the inside.

Side Bar*** Dan Ariely is a pretty awesome dude and if you get a chance, you should check him out. Great talks on too

Back to the point of this entry. I’m trying to redefine my relationship with money, because it’s carried a ton of shame for me for a long time. I feel guilty when I have more than enough. I feel guilty and worthless when I don’t have any. I don’t (or didn’t) know what it meant to “save.” Now, thanks to the little hostess gig- which by the way has turned into a server gig yaaay!- I’m finally figuring out what it means to make one dollar. And of course what it means to spend one dollar.

For example.

In my entire adult life, I’ve never really had to “save” to go on a trip. However, for Mr. Man and my one year anniversary, and as a Christmas present to him, I wanted to take us on a mystery vacation. (I can’t talk about it openly because it’s a surprise trip and he knows we are leaving but has no clue where we are going, and he may read this post at some point. Because that’s how he is… that little love duck.) I started thinking about this mystery vacation in August, and started saving for it early September. The trip takes place late December. This is what I’m learning is called “planning ahead.” It’s a very new thing to me.

When I took my two month trip to Europe, I worked for a week and a half before I left to save 7k.

Now, it apparently takes me nearly four months to save 1 of those k’s. Dollars, apparently, have more value than I’d thought.

In any case, I’ve received a promotion, and started making a tiny bit more than I had been as hostess. Thankfully, though, because I’ve become accustomed to making $10/hr, I’ve also figured out how to live on 12k a year. Which is surprisingly sufficient. It turns out I already have everything I need. In terms of stuff. On the inside, and the outside.

So as this holiday season gets underway, and the maniacs go out shopping, and punch each other in the face to get sweet deals on TV’s and Call of Duty: Black Ops, I’m going to enjoy the madness in a calm, collected fashion: from afar. Wearing a scarf. In 65 degree, Los Angeles winter weather. And I’m going to be thankful for the little pile of bills I’ve saved, and grateful for the deep understanding of what those bills actually mean.

Posted in: Good Days