How to Get Through a Breakup On a Budget

HOW TO GET THROUGH A BREAK-UP

(style me pretty

Breakups suck, no matter what. But, what if you’re not only heartbroken, but also just broke? If you’re dealing with some tough times while trying to maintain a budget this post is for you.

You’re probably wondering, “Um, Simone…why are you talking about personal finances today? Shouldn’t you be blogging about something sexier…like crazy dildos or something?!” Well, as I’ve learned over the past few years, part of living well is having a sense of control over your finances.

I’ve also learned that I’m very much an emotional spender. I’ll be on track with my budget and then bam, something will happen in my life (good or bad – my emotional spending is an equal opportunist) and suddenly I absolutely need that a new pair of shoes or dress whether it’s true or not (90% of the time it isn’t.)

This Treat Yo Self craving becomes especially strong following a breakup.

I can’t count how many times I’ve gone to the salon or the mall to splurge on something after I’ve broken up with someone. While I’ll never discount the feeling you get from a post-break up haircut (seriously, it’s the best), these kinds of splurges don’t always make sense when you’re trying to stay on budget.

When SA and I broke up, we’d just returned from an epic (albeit costly) trip to California. While I’d set aside money for the trip so I wouldn’t have to worry while I was there, when I came back I had to deal with credit card bills, business costs and invoices that needed to be sent out. It sucks when you feel bummed out from a break-up and broke.

This breakup was a turning point for me – in many ways. I am proud of is how I handled myself afterward. I didn’t go and drown myself in a pool of vodka & I actually managed to stay on budget. I forced myself to find other ways to make myself feel good that didn’t involve a hangover – financial or otherwise.

Although I feel like I’m “over the hump” when it comes to post-breakup impulsive behaviour, I still feel like this is important to talk about – especially since it’s the holidays & it can be hard to resist the ubiquitous message which is “spend, spend, spend” and “indulge, indulge, indulge.”

So, if you’re currently going through a breakup, here’s a few things that worked for me (and might work for you too.)

Spend time with friends.

Usually, when I break up with someone, I’ll plan an elaborate night out with friends, complete with lots of food, cocktails, wine & pricey cab rides. However, this time around I knew that indulging in this kind of blow-out affair was not only unrealistic, it also wouldn’t make me feel good. So, I decided to do something really low key with friends (happy hour at a local tapas place that was having a bunch of really amazing specials). At the end of the day, it isn’t about what you do, but who you surround yourself with.

I needed to talk. I needed to vent. I needed to share a glass of wine with good people. It’s important to do something with friends – even if it’s just sitting on someone’s couch, drinking cheap wine & watching the Muppets Christmas Carol. Being around the people you love helps. 

Have fun making things.

Another thing I’ve been reminded of recently is that I love making things. I always joke that when my love life is in the crapper, Joe the Intern gets all kinds of new DIY gear and gadgets (sidebar: you have no idea how much joy I got out of making him this tiny musketeer hat.) Whether you’re tackling a fun DIY project or being a weird adult that makes doll stuff, creating feels good. If you’re looking for inspiration, visit A Beautiful Mess – their site is chock full of fun, accessible DIY projects and inspiration.

Move your body.

Working out & getting sweaty has always been a great distraction/outlet for me. My gym membership is already paid for so why not take advantage of it? No gym membership?! Take a walk. Practice your ridiculous Drake-style dance moves in your bedroom. It’s free and will make you feel better. I promise. (Drake heals all wounds! Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.)

Start something new.

Breakups can leave us feeling like there’s a gap in our lives. Now’s the time to try something new! I didn’t realize how much I needed to add something new to my life until a friend invited me to help contribute to her new online magazine (more on that soon!) I’ve also decided I’m going to check out some of the free introductory classes at a yoga studio that just opened in my neighbourhood. Even if it means starting a new book or listening to a new podcast, curiosity doesn’t cost a thing.

Give things away.

You know what also feels good? Giving things away. In fact, as a minimalist, I actually get a lot more pleasure from giving things to other people than acquiring more things for myself. Do you really need a item that will forever remind you of that time you broke up with someone? I’m guessing no. Post-break up, I cleaned out my closet and donated a huge bag of stuff to a local women’s shelter. I also signed up to buy gifts for local homeless people (and you can too!) For a fraction of what I’d normally spend on booze & shoes that I don’t need, I can hopefully make a few people’s days a little brighter.

If you are going to splurge, put your money where it matters.

Unfortunately, sometimes no amount of quirky crafts exercise classes can quiet the urge to splurge. If you feel the need to make a big ticket purchase post-breakup, be mindful of what you’re splurging on and why. Is it something that will give you a confidence boost in the short term or improve your overall health long term? For example, adding another designer bag to your already bloated collection might not make you feel great in six months. Whereas, you’re probably not going to regret seeking out a dental clinic to finally get those dental bridges done or investing in chiropractic treatments.

Practice gratitude.

Sometimes all you need is a change in perspective. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by practicing gratitude. When I’m feeling really down in the dumps (and even when I’m not), I’ll make a list of five things I’m grateful for. I always feel better after this practice – because, when you see all of the good things you have going for you, it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully it will help you too. 

What’s helped you heal from a break-up? 

Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self #16 – Joshua

joshua pompeyToday’s instalment of Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self  comes from my friend & online dating expert, Joshua of JPompey. Check out the rest of the series here.

Dear twenty year old Joshua,

Right about now you are walking the streets of Downtown Albany, probably drunk, trying to live it up in your final year of college.  And while I can’t argue that you have come more into your own this year than at any other point in your life so far, we really need to sit down and have a chat about how you could go from making this one of the best years of your life, to being an all-time, legendary year that drunk college students for generations will want to emulate.  Are you ready for this?  You might want to sit down for a few moments.

1.  For Christ sake, take those damn jeans off and get it together!

Seriously dude.  You dress like an absolute clown.  Your jeans are five sizes too big.  They are shredded at the bottom.  And your t-shirts could fit at least two of you inside.  You are in shape for someone who drinks a thirty pack a week, you go the gym, and you have a nice body, so for crying out loud, take a woman to the mall with you, charge a few pairs of skinny jeans before the Brooklyn hipsters steal your thunder one day, and invest in looking like you don’t need your mommy to come to Albany to help lay out your clothes.

2.  Keep your mouth shut when you hook up with someone.

I know you are insecure.  I know sometimes you wonder if the whole world secretly thinks you rarely ever get to see the Golden Palace of the Himalayas as you strut your wanna-be macho self around the city.  But on those rare occasions where for some absurd reason a girl actually wants to take off those over-sized, baggy shredded jeans of yours, don’t start telling every single friend you know that you gave a girl really mediocre sex last night.  You may get fake props, but women will find out and tell all their female friends to blacklist you from the, “I’ll go home with any guy after five drinks,” community.

3.  Cough up the extra few bucks.

I know you are poor.  I know you think you are so insanely cool for buying 30 packs of Keystone Light and “The Beast”, a.k.a., Milwaukee’s Best every week.  But the internal damage you have done to yourself from all those beers no longer allows me to eat oversized Pastrami sandwiches without popping several Tum’s, downing Pepto Bismal, and listening to Mumford and Sons to calm my nerves.  Be a baller and cough up the extra ten bucks for something classy, like Bud Light.

4.  Have the foresight to invent the world’s corniest shot.

It will taste like crap.  It won’t make sense.  And it will make you feel so lame when you are my age.  But one day, at least once during every party you attend, some lame guy will take out a bottle, yell, “FIREBALL SHOTS!” and make everyone at the party take at least one.  You won’t have a choice.  You’ll just have to suck up this lame excuse for a whisky that tastes like a combination of whisky, Big Red gum, and dying souls.  This trend seemingly will not go away, so while you still can, figure out the recipe that is currently in the works and get rich.  We will toast to our success one day with a Jagar Bomb.

5.  Be more confident in the bedroom.

I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but you have the world’s biggest hands.  Apparently you never new just how lucky you were until years later.  So stop being such a sissy worrier in the bedroom.  Sometimes when you drink 25 beers in a night, your junk stops working.  That doesn’t mean you have to carry that fear to the next time, seven months later, when it only took you 8 beers to work up the courage to get a girl in bed.  Have confidence and show why you wear such big gloves in ways that will be remembered forever.

About Joshua – 

For some amazing free advice from my current self, where I have been helping online daters to succeed at a rate of over 99% since 2009, men, read this article now on how to save over $5,000 and 500 hours.  Women, read this free article to view actual profile examples.

What would you tell your younger self?

Things I Would Tell My 20-Year Old Self #15 – John

Hello Skinny Dippers! I’m working on book stuff today, so my friend John Drake has kindly volunteered to step in with the next instalment of the Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self series. John is my former writing partner, a fellow motorcycle & sex/dating/relationship enthusiast and one of the best dudes I know. I hope you enjoy reading John’s advice! Stay tuned for more dating updates, reviews & other goodies coming later this week!

IMG_4730During my last annual exam, my Doctor asked for clarification of my age as she flipped through my medical file. She laughed as I responded, “Do you mean in birthdays, maturity or mileage?” While I may not feel as sprightly at 33 as I used to after indulging in more than a few Old Fashioneds the night before, in my mind I am still 20 years old.

That was, until the trajectory of my life journey recently placed me in close proximity to actual 20 year olds, at which point I felt as wise as an owl and old as dirt. After being made instantly and viscerally aware of the stark contrast between the limited worldview of a vicenarian (20-something), I began to ponder if I was ever that immature and clueless, or whether current 20 year olds have just been pampered to the point of having far less intellect and life experience.

I may have found myself giggling like a schoolboy at the supermarket just last week when I came across a package of Hung Wang Asian noodles, however I also have RRSPs in the bank, I own a vacuum, pay my taxes on time and don’t have to be told to floss – all hallmarks of maturity in my books.

Just as I wouldn’t tell my six year old self that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, there is much that I would leave a mystery to thirteen years my junior John. I would most certainly leave out specifics; the who’s, the what, the where’s – all of the decisions I have made, even the poor ones, have taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t trade. What I would change however, are the times I hurt people I cared about or who cared about me, regardless of whether it was intentional or not. I would also like to set him up for a higher level of success, learning from my mistakes rather than from the School of Hard Knocks.

In that vein, I would offer my 20 year old self the following counsel, in no particular order.

Be Honest

The importance of honesty was instilled in me at a very early age. It was held in high regard, paramount in fact, among other honourable virtues like courtesy, ambition and cleanliness. While I have rarely been intentionally dishonest, we’ve all told little white lies or lied by omission. It may have been innocent, or possibly ignorant, but I know for a fact that I have inadvertently led more than one girl on in my life by not being honest about my intentions or where I saw the relationship going. One lovely girl in particular, who I considered merely a nocturnal recreation partner, unfortunately saw monogamy and likely matrimony in our future and I never did anything to convince her otherwise. Be honest with the people around you, but more importantly, be honest with yourself.

Don’t Waste Time on Fake Friends

Friendship is not easy and it is a two-way street. Even as you get older it can be difficult to discern which friends will stand the test of time, or which ones shouldn’t. When you are young your friendships are based on proximity and musical taste, but life gets far more challenging as years go on. I was convinced that I would have been the best man at my best friend from highscool’s wedding and yet by the time he tied the knot I wasn’t even in attendance at the ceremony. You will experience ups and downs. The friends who help lift you up when you’re down are the ones you want to surround yourself with. Your friends will become your family and your benchmark for success, so choose wisely.

Nobody Has It All Figured Out, Follow Your Own Path

Some people wait patiently until mid-life to freak out about not having their shit together, but on the eve of my 25th birthday I had a full-blown quarter-life crisis. Witnessing many of my friends lock down solid jobs, condos and investments had me reeling with self-doubt about following my unique and less financially lucrative career path. One such friend who was in attendance at that 25th birthday has achieved perhaps the most financial and material wealth of anyone I know. He recently admitted that he was miserable at work and was jealous of the freedom, experience and flexibility I enjoy in my work. It doesn’t matter how big your TV is or how many bedrooms you have, you won’t be happy if you aren’t fulfilled by your work. I’ve made a great salary and I’ve made peanuts, but I always followed my passion.

Respect Your Parents

Age and experience often bring perspective, which in turn provide context and greater understanding. But as my old man has said on several occasions, “Learn from other people’s mistakes, you won’t live long enough to make them all on your own.” You share common genetics and ancestry, learning from their experience and about your roots will serve you well in the future. Whether you learn a family recipe, not to put gasoline in a diesel car or that you happen to have a predisposition to certain health issues, listen to your parents’ lessons and respect the sacrifices they have made in order to conceive, raise and support you – through colic, childhood, adolescence and beyond.

Take Good Care of Your Body

Education is wasted on the young. Unfortunately, so too is the innocence and stupidity of youth.
Your body is by far the most amazing tool you will ever encounter but much like any appliance it requires care and maintenance. I wish I’d worn earplugs to loud concerts, I wish I had applied sunscreen more often, I wish I’d never tried smoking or eating fast food. These things don’t make an impact when you’re young, but they compound exponentially over time as you age.

Live Within Your Means

It wasn’t until very recently that I became even mildly financially responsible. I bought a sports car and a new motorcycle before I paid off my student loans, I used my credit card like an ATM and I took vacations I couldn’t afford. Long story short, I placed a higher priority on things than I did on experiences or peace of mind. If I was to do it all again with the information I have now, I would have been more frugal and enjoyed the simpler things in life.

The reality is that I could spout off advice until the cows come home, but I can say with complete certainty that 20 year old John wouldn’t have listened. He was invincible. Immortal. Unstoppable. With age, experience and opportunity comes pain, politics, cynicism, regret and self-doubt. Sometimes being an adult means carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. I wouldn’t want to trade places with my 20 year old self and I feel like I have a great deal of valuable information to pass on to him, but something tells me he could teach me a thing or two about perspective as well.

 What would you tell your 20-year old self? 

Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self #14 – Akirah

It’s been a while since I posted another installment of the Things I’d Tell my 20-Year Old Self Series, so I thought what better way to get back into the groove than with a post from one of my favorite people on the Internet? Along with writing one of my favorite blogs, Akirah Robinson is a break-up coach and brave hearts enthusiast. What does that mean? Having been in an abusive relationship for 4 years, Akirah is now passionate about self-love and helping other women pursue healthy relationships. She believes we all have brave hearts.

akirah

I really could have used Akirah’s words and wisdom when I was going through my own abusive relationship when I was in my early 20’s, so it seemed fitting that she write the next Things I Would Tell My 20-Year Old Self post. Also, as you can see from the photo below she’s just all around lovely 🙂

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(As I write this piece, I keep experiencing slight heart palpitations. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I was 20 years old almost ten years ago. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through this.)

When I remember what it felt like to be 20, I can’t help but smile. Life was so simple back then and yet, I was so miserable. I had no real reason to be miserable, but I was. I mean, at that point I hadn’t yet kissed a boy or gone out on many dates. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fifteen pounds I “needed” to lose. It seemed like life would never work out for me.
So I smile. Because that discontent has morphed into extreme gratitude for the life I’m creating right now. I’ve come a long way, baby. Knowing what I know now, here’s what I’d tell 20-year old Akirah:

Yes. One day, you WILL kiss a boy. So calm down! It’s going to happen. In about one year, in fact. And while you’ll feel a little silly for being such a late bloomer, one day you’ll be glad boys didn’t distract you too much during high school and college. (In a few years when a show called “16 and Pregnant” debuts on MTV, you’ll be really glad.)

Take some time to learn the warning signs of partner abuse. Because honestly, you don’t really know them. And partner abuse is so much more than “my boyfriend hits me.” You’ll experience some crappy things during your first serious relationship and throughout much of it, you’ll be in denial about what’s really going on. Don’t fret though; this experience will teach you more than anything else has in your whole life. Even so, learn the warning signs. Then, tell your friends to learn them too.

Stop being a bitch about your love for Jesus. Seriously. People avoid religious fanatics for a reason, my friend. One day, you’re going to have to accept that people make mistakes. Let them. Then love them. And listen! Because no amount of preaching is going to convince your friends to live the life you think they should live. So just stop.

Your marriage isn’t going to save you. Yep, 20-year old Akirah. You get married someday. To a wonderful man, I might add. But this relationship will not save you, even though in the back of your mind, you kind of hope it will. In fact, in many ways it will stress you out. When you realize all those rainbows and butterflies were only a part of the story, you will struggle. So try really hard to not cling tightly to your expectations of marriage. Instead, work on yourself. Because your self-worth is not dependent upon your relationship status. And other people can’t save you.

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Things You’ll Learn About Love & Sex at 33

When it comes to love and sex, being 33 is both totally weird and awesome.

On one hand, your hormones are raging and you want to have as much sex as possible. However, after a decade of bad decisions in your 20′s you’re now way more selective about who you sleep with…well, sort of. Most days you want to have sex with everyone and no one all at all the same time.

You’ll tell yourself that marriage isn’t really on your mind, but that it would be nice to meet someone that you could actually settle down with. However, some days you’ll catch yourself saying stuff like,  “At this point I don’t even care about finding ONE, I’d be happy to meet someone who is nice and reasonably normal that I can have regular, good, sex with.”

(gorgeous photo found via Keiko Lynn)

Your Pinterest account reveals your true feelings though. Amongst boards devoted to home decor, lingerie and whimsical vintage imagery, lurks one called “Creepy Imaginary Wedding” where you pin to your hearts content all things nuptial related. For someone who is always saying she isn’t even sure whether she believes in marriage, you sure do know what you want. (FYI, you’re thinking a classic, old school Hollywood vibe, bright fuchsia flower arrangments, a modern multi-cultural menu, somewhere like the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It will be hip and quirky, but still very classic and you’ll wear something Reem Accra or Elie Saab -ish obviously. Your groom will look elegant and handsome and won’t be wearing wrap-around sunglasses)

You spend more time than you’d like to admit wondering what your future dates will find more off-putting: The Creepy Imaginary Wedding, your professional relationship with Joe the Intern or the fact that you write about your vagina on the internet. You decide to stop worrying about it and instead just own it. After all, someone who doesn’t accept you for who you really are isn’t worth your time.

You’ll have good sex, “Okay-ish” sex and sex that is so bad it’s comical. More often than not you’ll have sex with yourself. You’ll come to the conclusion that you can go without sex for a long time, however going without an orgasm is another story. Your collection of sex toys will grow exponentially to the point where you start to run into storage issues.

When you get the urge for actual human contact, you’ll date people.

You’ll meet a 40-something single dad, whom your attraction to defies logic. However, when you go to have sex, you’ll be reminded that some people will use ridiculous excuses to get out of using condoms. He’ll insist that instead of using a condom, you should “just trust him.” This will also remind you of something you learned in your 20’s: that anyone who uses the line “just trust me!” should absolutely not be trusted. Later you watch an episode of Portlandia and determine that this guy must liken himself to be some sort of “pull out king” – albeit, a rather unsuccessful one: he has three kids.

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