Growing Up and Growing Out of My Life

It’s the last year of my 20s. There is so much that I’ve accomplished in the past 9 years, yet I am struggling with wanting to create a more stable life for myself and trying to save a sizable amount of money. I want to be able to applaud myself for having built up a networth of $200k by the age of 29 (well, it’s down to $194 again, but should be up to $200k by the end of the year) but I just don’t feel accomplished. I feel more scared then ever. $200k seems like nothing that could easily disappear should I not have a job for a while or have some horrific health incident.

I also still feel uncomfortable in my own living situation, which granted, is a lot of my own fault. I’m not the easiest person to live with. For the most part I try to keep to my room, but if I ever spend time in the common areas I just have a natural tendency to be a little messy, and my roommate is a bit of a neat freak. I actually really enjoy living in a neat apartment, so it’s been nice to have her so focused on keeping the common areas clean which I could enjoy from afar while I walked to my room. Still, I just want a place to come home to that feels like home. And I’d like to be able to simplify my life and focus on keeping the place clean.

So I’ve looked on Craigslist to see what’s available. I’m paying $650 a month right now for a small room in a 3br / 2ba. I practically have my own bathroom (long story) so it’s really nice. And the complex is lovely with a pool and overall I like the place. It’s a 30 minute drive to work. There is free laundry in-unit (which is basically unheard of in apartment rentals) because this is a condo that’s rented out.

For a one bedroom apartment of any reasonable quality in a decent area, it would be $1500 minimum. More like $2000 a month. Studios aren’t much cheaper. Then there’s all the utilities I’d have to pay for on my own. It just doesn’t make fiscal sense. I’d be best off staying here as long as possible and saving the money. It makes up for all my shopping splurges. Otherwise I wouldn’t be saving nearly this much. And my goal next year is to save (with interest) another $50k. How could I do that spending another $18k a year on rent? That would just be stupid.

So I’ll go back to hiding in my room, trying not to offend my roommate with any ounce of mess, and hopefully she will forget I live at this place for a bit longer. At least another year of saving. Once I have a quarter million in networth, maybe then I’ll feel like I can relax a bit. I’m just so frustrated because I feel like I’ll never have the kind of control I want over my financial life. I know, I know, everything is so superficial, but I want a nice house and a life where I can buy my clothes at Nordstrom or Bloomingdales without having to worry about it. I don’t need to buy $1000 designer jeans but, my bras cost $60 a pop and my jeans do cost $200. I spend $300 on makeup some months because it makes me happy. I still save a good 25% or more of my income. Because I am paying so little for rent. Because even though I spend too much on clothes and food, I don’t really have much of a life and I don’t spend on anything else.

I am just tired of being so focused on saving, I guess. Which is stupid – I need to save. But I look at other people I know who are my age and for the most part they aren’t as worried about money as I am. Heck, my boyfriend who will be 31 in March has not saved a dime and he just quit his job. He hasn’t even opened a Roth IRA yet. Not that I want to go to that extreme, but here I am making $100k plus bonus and I am still worried about spending $1.5k – $2k a month in rent. Which is what I’d need to spend to live on my own. If I can’t afford that with a six-figure income, who can?

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