I still have to fight this recurring thought that if I just buy this ONE thing, I'll be happier.
"This line hit me like a bag of bricks because I didn't want to admit it but this is exactly what I've been doing."
DaringJava chimed in: "OP, your thinking regarding shopping to make yourself feel better and learning to recognize that sounds a lot like me. I'm not perfect, but I've gotten much better over the last few years in that regard. And I am a firm believer when it comes to big purchases or items that I want but can't afford at the moment that if they are meant for me to have then they will still be there when I can afford them."
The OP replied: "Totally agree. I still have to fight this recurring thought that if I just buy this ONE thing, I'll be happier, my life will be better, I'll be the girl I always wanted to be, etc. It took awhile for me to own up and look at what's actually causing that unhappiness (mainly not feeling confident in my career path). I've had to refocus my energy on fixing those issues, not covering them up by earning VIB status at Sephora. Good luck to ya!"
There [is] a spectrum of people with various income levels living in Singapore.
"Not everyone in Singapore lives that way, nor are all things as expensive as it's made out to be," they wrote.
"Just to give some perspective, my husband and I run a small business and average a yearly salary of SGD30,000 together, which is comparatively low relative to our friends in mid-level positions now or what we were drawing before leaving our corporate jobs."
One of the ways they "keep things affordable" as self-described foodies who "cook almost daily and eat out quite a bit" is shopping at small stalls for groceries, or smaller-scale supermarkets. "There are also wet markets or Mustafa (Google it!), and initiatives by some retailers that donate excess organic veg at community fridges where I live."
"We own our home and chose to stay at a neighbourhood which is 25 mins to town/CBD via public transport, which is what locals consider far," the commenter continued. "I wouldn't say the way we live is typically what other people of our age group do, but I can say we do enjoy a good quality of life. And no, we do not have rich parents or relatives. We wish!"
It's become really popular to hate on the Californians moving here.
"Sorry, CA – I love you," she said, "but you can go home after you visit!" In response to this, commenter FreshCash said: "Fellow Idahoan, former Californian here. I wonder if you're from Boise originally? It's become really popular to hate on the Californians moving here."
The Money Diarist admitted that she is not originally from Boise either, and was glad to be "called out" on the view.
"I wrote this a while ago when my boyfriend had recently bought the house so I think I was just coming at it from the perspective of our previous rental property shooting up drastically and our real estate agent blaming it on 'The Californians,'" she wrote. "I think people have recently been having that 'I found this place first when it was cheap!' mentality and then put a lot of blame on other people who are looking for the exact same things we came here for, which simultaneously drives up costs."
Negotiate ladies! There is free money being left on the table!
"I had a couple of software engineering internships at big companies while I was in school, so I definitely felt more prepared when I went out and interviewed for full-time jobs. My salary at this job was actually about $10,000 lower when they first made me an offer, but I negotiated and was able to get it up to where it is now. Negotiate ladies! There is free money being left on the table!"
"The best way to grow is from the inside out...no one else can be my teacher!"
"I chose to do a Money Diary because I was genuinely intrigued to see if I could keep track of how I eat and spend, knowing that I'm indulgent. What I'm taking away from this is the fact I was 100% honest. About not working out. About indulging in a martini or two glasses of wine after work. About taking Advil for my period. Comments judging the fact I take Advil, or make a lot of money at a young age, or drink too much...it's SURREAL to read comments about yourself. I'm glad I did this, because I can't believe I spent this much money, drank this much, and swore this much (according to everyone), but the best way to grow is from the inside out...no one else can be my teacher! If you enjoyed this, thank you. If you think I'm miserable, byeeeeeee :)."
"I see it as a symptom of a larger problem: that you're not a priority in your own life."
"Girl, you could use a little self-care in your life. I realize everyone is jumping down your throat about your diet, but I see it as a symptom of a larger problem: that you're not a priority in your own life. You're headed towards burn out – the high anxiety/stress, daily fast food, multiple jobs, intense pressure [over] your husband's immigration status, and what sounds like not a lot of time to yourself is going to hit you hard one of these days. Please be careful, because it's so easy for you to stay at the bottom of the list. And you're not a terrible wife. You're busting your ass, that much is clear, and it sounds like you don't have as much self-confidence as you should," said Rsawinvaughn.
"Women are less likely to apply for stretch roles than men."
"I am so glad you applied for that job! I work in recruiting and there's almost always more flexibility in job requirements than people realize. Plus, my anecdotal experience definitely supports the research that says women are less likely to apply for stretch roles than men. You're probably more qualified than you realize and in 95% of cases, you have nothing to lose by throwing your name in."
"What on earth is everyone’s obsession with how hard or not hard another woman works?"
"What on earth is everyone’s obsession with how hard or not hard another woman works? It’s a shame that Americans have such an unhealthy addiction to working themselves to the bone – we wear it like it’s some kind of badge of honor. Yes, working and earning an honest wage, following your dreams, providing for your family – all of these things are wonderful, but shouldn’t life also be about balance? Shouldn’t we seize a few opportunities to relax and have fun here and there? This woman has figured out a situation that works for her, and she’s earned a director’s title along the way. The real problem in this country is that not all women have the opportunity to have such a balance and many don’t even have proper maternity leave – that’s the thing we should all really be angry about, not one woman taking advantage of her situation to enjoy her kid and ease back into work." said Cosmic Drink.
Not that it may make a difference, coming from a stranger, but you seem like a lovely girl.
"Oh, hun. Breakups due to cheating are quite possibly the worst ones. Most of us have been through it and understand the pain (myself included). It will get better, it just takes a little time. It's good to lean on your family and friends until then. And one day, you're going to find someone who'll chase away every memory of a loser who clearly never deserved you in the first place. Not that it may make a difference, coming from a stranger on the Internet, but from reading your diary, you seem like a lovely girl who's got her act completely together. I promise you that your ex will be rueing the day he lost you for many years to come."
"the real entertainment of this series is..."
Let's start out with Toru9, who aptly addressed the elephant in the room in this diary from March, with a New York City-based content editor making $50,000 per year: The comment section can take on a life of its own.
We do plan to continue moderating the comments and making sure that it's a safe space for people to share their (non abusive!) views. We also love the community that has formed, and we want it to keep going! Thanks for being part of that.
"this is something I am constantly learning."
It seems silly, but pressure to spend can come from people you don't even know, often because saying "yes" can feel nicer than saying "no." The problem is one that a lot of people, particularly women, face.
"As the daughter of a single mom, I commend you on every choice you are making."
"Ivy League graduate living in Europe, worked at 9 huge media companies as an intern before graduating - a brag not on behalf of me but on behalf of my MOM who made choices as she saw fit. You go girl," Heroic Java wrote in March.
In this New York City entry, a financial coordinator making $43,000 per year wrote about her dating struggles (constantly paying for cabs) and life as a single parent (who receives very little child support). While some commenters were quick to criticize the meals that the diarist's son ate during the week, Heroic Java had a different, insightful take, which we appreciated.
"I'm just going to pretend O.P. is out with a bag of carrots to feed them like Sven in 'Frozen'..."
The diarist is an avid fisher and reader, who mentioned being on the lookout for wandering moose, something many readers found fascinating.
"Shhh, nooo. I'm just going to pretend O.P. is out with a bag of carrots to feed them like Sven in Frozen, who's a reindeer, but I'm also going to ignore that part and pretend like it's the same thing," Magical Prairie wrote.
"Educate yourself and don't be afraid to stand up for your rights!"
Finding a place to live is hard enough without doing it in an unfamiliar location, where you don't speak the language, and aren't 100% sure of the customs. This comment zoomed in on that stress with great advice.
"Hey, great diary. Quick hot tip regarding your landlord - I lived in Brussels for 2 years and had a similar experience with my landlord and was afraid of losing my deposit. Berlin has such a huge expat community so hopefully there are legal documents on renters' rights available online in English.
"Educate yourself and don't be afraid to stand up for your rights! Ask any local friends and/coworkers about anything that feels unfair or iffy. I didn't speak French well enough to advocate for myself so I asked a Belgian friend to be present and he was [not only] able to not properly converse, but knew what was 'normal' in Belgium and how the landlord was trying to take advantage. Good luck!" wrote Heroic Drink.
"I'm pretty sure my high-school aged nieces will never see a cell phone bill in their lives."
"On the other hand, I'm pretty sure my high school aged nieces will never see a cell phone bill in their lives," Peaceful Avocado wrote in March.
After reading this Los Angeles diary from a biomedical research analyst making $56,000 per year, Money Diaries commenters started an interesting discussion about the evolution of cell phone ownership — and, more pointedly, who pays for it. It's safe to say that most diarists are on some form of a family plan, either paying their fair share or, in some cases, having a parent or relative handle it, while they take on another expense.
Whether that indicates freeloading or ease seems to be a generational judgment.
"happy to hear this is something other people grapple with in a relationship."
"Happy to hear this is something other people grapple with in a relationship. Sometimes you just want your own damn bed even if you love your S.O. to the moon and back. Good for you!" wrote mememememememem.
In this diary from a Salt Lake City auditor (who spent a significant amount of money on car trouble), the diarist discussed her decision to sleep in her own bed — instead of her boyfriend's — after a long day. We thought the moment was refreshing and honest, too, and were happy to see that others felt the same way.
"Nobody's gonna stop you if you go in quickly and leave quickly."
"When I worked in a restaurant, people would come in all the time just to use the bathroom. And what the hell am I gonna do chase them down and drag them out? No. Lol. Nobody's gonna stop you if you go in quickly and leave quickly. Just don't poop all over the walls."
"As a doctor now in practice, this is *SO* real."
"As a doctor now in practice this is SO real. No time, stressed, not eating or cooking. This is sacrifice we all go through. Reform is needed. Prevent physician burnout."
"I started this diary desperately wishing I had a job that started at 10:15..."
The system she created for herself to manage her finances was a hit among readers, but so was her dedication to taking care of her health.
"I started this diary desperately wishing I had a job that started at 10:15 (I'd work out every morning! I'd sleep three more hours!) and then ended it feeling really grateful that I don't have chronic joint pain with my autoimmune disease," wrote Daring Watermelon. "Props for being proactive about your overall health, and not letting the paperwork/insurance complications scare you out of it!"
"I feel so much stronger knowing there are others fighting in the same spot."
"Yes! As a fellow freelancer/entrepreneur, it's great to read about other people's money diaries. We hear so much about these stories after people have made it big, but it's comforting to hear from someone who's just as deep in the trenches as I am. It's tough but I feel so much stronger knowing there are others fighting in the same spot," Hi_Lemon5 wrote. Hear, hear!
But why do we still feel so uncomfortable talking about our finances? It's hard to learn how to manage money if you're not talking about it in the first place.
We want to know: Who do you talk to about money? Your parents? Your partner? Your best friend? And how much info do you feel comfortable sharing? Tell us, and we'll publish the best responses in an upcoming story on Refinery29!
Click here to submit your answer via Google forms.