It all started with my T4 slip and a shockingly large gap between amount made and amount left in that good ol’ bank account. So I tucked a tiny yellow notebook into my purse and kept a list. From April 1st to April 30th I lived, loved, laughed, shamelessly burnt a wee hole in my pocket and apparently drank a lot. This is everything I bought in one month:
24 coffees. 9 lattes. 6 brunches.
10 TTC nightmares. Lunch. 11 Uber rides. Lunch.
22 pints. 1 [big] bottle of Advil.
Jays tickets. A pair of shorts. A birthday present.
Lunch. Lunch. Dinner. Lunch.
4 cocktails. 3 mimosas. 2 bottles of wine. 1 pitcher of sangria.
1 mani/pedi. Lunch. Dinner. 2 pairs of concert tickets.
The list went on and on. Overall, I bought a lot of things I didn’t need. So what did I learn 24 coffees, 2 new dresses and 1 ramen bowl later?
I hated how I looked on paper. I hated the idea that what I invested in for an entire month was liquid courage and caffeine. I also hated the amount of times I had stressed about money over the past month and now saw that what I had been stressing about was cocktails, pitchers and pretty toenails.
It made me feel a lot of things: It made me recognize how fortunate I am to be where I want to be right now. I mean, I’m a 26 year old living in Toronto. I pay a lot to live in a shoebox. I don’t have a car or a dog or a baby. I don’t have a dishwasher or a life plan. I don’t even have enough cupboard space. But I do have a fucking beautiful life. And I’m so thankful that I’m able to invest my time (and money) into loving everything about it.
But ultimately, when it came time to add it all up and I flipped back through my notebook, I wasn’t fixated on what had been spent. Instead I remembered the moment of buying that first latte and misunderstanding the barista and the hilarious conversation that ensued. And the sangria pitcher shared over one hell of a conversation. Or the trip to the California Coast that cost a lot but made me feel insanely beautiful and free.
It was never about the money. It was about the people I spent that money with and how lovely my heart felt looking back on all of it–and that thought made me stop hating how I looked on paper. It made me recognize that perhaps how we appear isn’t necessarily who we are, and what really matters is what happens between the lines. It was never about the latte. It was about falling even more in love with my friend. The latte simply happened to be there.
Long story short, this was an extremely interesting exercise that made me think about a lot of things, re-evaluate my priorities and appreciate my life. Track your expenses for a month. Do it. I think everyone should do it, if for no other reason but to recognize the fact that you’re drinking wayyy too much beer for the gym to ever work as quickly as you want it to.
Money comes and goes and what we’re really investing in all along is people and places that make us happy.