Increased Income and Decreased Generosity

Scrooge McDuckI’ve been earning a little more money lately. By “a little,” I mean “maybe $1,000 more per month than I was making last year.”

A few weeks ago, when I was doing my weekly freelancing round-up on my Tumblr, I posted that week’s income under the headline This Week in Freelancing: What Should I Do With All This Money? (The most immediate answer will probably be: 2015 estimated taxes.)

It turns out that what I’m not doing with this money is giving it to other people.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, of course I am still exchanging money for goods and services, and of course I am still tipping my Great Clips stylist 100% on a $15 tab. But I’m not donating my money right now, or giving it to Kickstarters, or adding new Patreons to my patreonage. I am not investing in other people, even though I have more income at my disposal to make those investments.

It’s that idea of “disposal” that kind of tips it. When I wrote about kids and allowances a few weeks ago, I wrote that of course I spent my 25 cents on an ice cream, because I knew that it would take way too long to save those quarters for anything that wasn’t an ice cream.

Likewise, if you’re earning “enough” and you’ve got a little bit left over, and you’re only ever going to have a little bit left over, why not share some of what you’ve got?

Now I’ve got more than a little bit left over, and I’m starting to think of my money as stackable units. (This feels like a very Minecraft thing, except I’ve never played Minecraft.) Stack enough money together and I’ve got a debt payment. Stack more money together and I could move into a bigger apartment. Start another stack for savings.

And boy-oh-boy do I not want to let any of that money leave those stacks. I am, very literally, hoarding all of my gold coins for myself.

I feel like once I take stock of this new balance between income and expenses, which is something I looked at briefly in January and need to examine more closely after I get my taxes finished, I’ll be able to say “okay, I can stack this much, and spend this much, and have this much left over to share.” Because I don’t particularly like the idea of becoming a person who doesn’t share, now that she’s got hers.

But it’s a strange feeling, to be finally able to think about mid- and long-term finances after a couple of years of living paycheck to credit card to paycheck. And I really want to share this money with my own future.

And then start sharing with everyone else again.

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