You Do You

Dear Sheilah: On Saving Moolah

Dear Sheilah,

Do you have any money saving tricks? I feel like I'm endlessly trying to learn how to budget and I'm in my early 30s!


Sad Savings

Dear SS,
Oh my gosh yes! I do have some tricks! Some you might have tried, and some you might not have considered. When I know I need to save, I start by keeping tabs on every penny I spend in one week on things other than essentials. At the end of that eye-opening week, my non-essential spending added up to $164.30. I couldn't believe it.
The next thing I did was go online and find a free budget calculator. That made my eyes opened even wider! If the calculations are right, I should have $300.00 free and clear at the end of the month. So what I did was an automatic transfer into a savings account. What you don’t see you don't spend. I now have $900.00 and counting.
Have you ever heard the saying piles beget piles? I tried it starting with one magazine. By the end of the week my mail, and countless other paper things, were piled up.
If piles beget piles then I'm going try it with dollar bills. I bought a pretty box to collect these beauties. Every time I received  a dollar back in change I put it in the box. Guess what? The box is holding $100.00 so far. My piles are begeting piles. 
If you feel you are not disciplined enough to keep your hand out of the cookie jar, there are sites like Stash that will help you save.
But sometimes, even I get a little sticky-fingered. When I want to buy something, I think about where that money goes. If it's a pair of shoes, I think about how many people are being paid by my purchase: the manufacturer and all his/her employees, the people who pack the shoes, the truck that delivers them, and the store that receives them and their employees. I could go on and on. All those people have food on their tables because I bought a pair of shoes. Amazing when you think of money like that.
Well Future Saver, I know you can do it. Remember, what you don't see you can't spend!


Dear Sheilah,

I’ve attended many weddings over the years. I’ve been a bridesmaid more than a few times. I’ve gone to showers and bachelorette parties. And if I had to total up the amount of money I’ve spent for all of these events, it is easily in the thousands. But I have no plans to wed any time soon and the hoopla around weddings isn’t my style anyway. Would it be rude to register for gifts for when I finish grad school? Or for my next birthday? I never got any great kitchenware. And I’d LOVE to take myself on a honeymoon. It just doesn’t seem fair that the only way to get these things is to receive them as gifts for a wedding or to get them yourself.


Celebrating my Singlehood

Dear Miss Singlehood,
I can feel your frustration, but soon you won't feel it anymore. Let me tell you about my friend Linda, who had a Hysterectomy party. Linda and her friends burned pads along with their old stained undies. They even used Tampax as candles on a Uterus-shaped cake.
I threw a Divorce Party after husband #2. My friends were so happy for me. I hadn’t gone solo in over 40 years. The gifts I received tell the story: black laced bra and panties wrapped around a Rastafarian-sized joint, a lifetime supply of lube, condoms, and a prescription for Penicillin. Those girls have such a sense of humor. (I used 6 months of that lube the first time I has sex. Ouch! Who needs a vagina tuck?! Just don’t have sex for 15 years.)
If there is are showers for getting married or getting divorced, there is absolutely no reason you can’t have a Celebration of Singlehood shower. Since we know there are things you really can use and you might be a little shy to your let your friends know, don’t despair,  I wrote you a little poem for your invitations:
I made a list of things
I could really use
So when you come to my shower
Your gift can’t possibly lose.
In the big scheme of things, does having a shower or not having a shower really matter? Countless women have lost themselves to Tupperware, toaster ovens, numerous sets of dish towels, glasses, and trays. But not you, my Sister in Singlehood, you know exactly who you are—an empowered woman who could give a crap about hoopla.
But not this time! Hoopla it up!! Celebrating You IS in the Big Scheme of things!
You know where to send my invite!


Dear Sheilah,

I was just reading your latest installment and I was struck by this line: "The one thing I've learned is you teach people how to treat you." I know that it's true but I don't know how to change! My question is, why do I keep dating man-babies? I'm the perpetual Wendy for one Peter Pan after the next (at least the last three, which has been the last ten years of my life). And I know the answer is, stop being the Wendy, but I have no idea how! I'm a nurturer by nature and I give people a lot (too much, I'm told) space to be themselves. I tolerate too much. I trust too much. I let people in who I shouldn't let in and then it takes me a really long time to get them out. I just ended things with my latest man-baby, who hid a drug habit from me for a very long time. I knew, of course, deep down, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I need hard evidence to act. I'm 35 and I would like to find a long-term partner, but I am sick of this pattern and don't know how to break out of it. How do I stop enabling men to suck my life and resources away? I don't want any more man-baby partners who slowly start to treat me like I'm their mom. Please help with your endless wisdom and coolness.


Worn-Out Wendy

Dear Wendy,
I attracted the same man over and over for 4 decades. Mine weren't baby men. They were all OCD. With my first husband, it was keeping the refrigerator in alphabetical order. (No, I'm not kidding.) I realized I was putting out a vibe that was only attracting how I was feeling. I must have needed some discipline in my life at that time. I know I want a different kind of discipline every two weeks (wink wink).
I'm going to take a leap of faith and suggest this: The very thing you do to cater your man is exactly what you end up resenting.
Well my little angel of mercy, I hate to say this but you do teach people how to treat you. If you get stepped on once and never say anything, you will get stepped on again and again.
You sound like a wonderful woman who deserves a wonderful secure man. If that is true, then you must feel like a secure woman. When I was in your shoes, I could feel my insecurities making my decisions. It took me awhile to get where I am now—not feeling desperate.
Can you believe I would wait on those men hand and foot until one day that foot kicked my tush?! That was when I made that conscious decision to be my own best friend. I nurtured me. I took care of me.
Then, when I felt secure in my own skin, I attracted the same kind of man. Secure. Then I taught him how to treat me if he wanted to keep me.

~* Have any burning questions for me? Send 'em! dearsheilah@iconundies.com *~

Meet Sheilah: our pot-smoking, straight-talking, completely uncertified advice columnist. From seasoning humor into a cooking column, to pitching NBC game shows, Sheilah's always had a way with words. She's discovered her calling of helping others heal, through massage and writing this column. Sprinkling wisdom upon Icon readers saved her from living a boring, damp life. Sheilah is the proud mother of 2, grandmother of 3, and lives in California with her beloved yorkie, Max.