Prioritize: Bills or Recreation

ImageThe thing is, everything in life is too expensive. Car insurance, rent, cell phone bill, school…. the list goes on. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you about all the bills that adults are responsible for. Instead, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing to deal with it.

I’m nineteen, so it’s not rocket science. I work 36 hours a week, three days per week. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. That’s what matters, right? But the thing is, sometimes more than three shifts is brutal. I work in a hospital, so each night can be pretty unpredictable – sometimes we have patients who become unresponsive (or pretty close to it), sometimes they’re combative, sometimes we’re short handed, sometimes we’re over census and have upwards of 27-30 patients on the unit. My point is, we never know what we’re walking into.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t happily work an extra shift if I needed to. Bills are important. I can’t just shrug my shoulders and say I don’t have the money to pay my rent because I want to go get a tattoo or that I can’t afford my car insurance because I spent all of my money on going out to eat with my friends. I have to budget, and sometimes that means picking up some overtime so I can enjoy life as well. 

I have never been late to pay my bills. I prioritize. I know if I don’t pay rent, I won’t have a place to live. If I don’t pay my car insurance and I get in an accident, I’m going to be spending a lot more money than if I had simply paid my bill. If I don’t pay my college bill, I won’t be able to get my nursing degree. If I don’t buy groceries, I won’t eat. But is it all worth it in the end? If I don’t pay my bills so I can enjoy life, will I truly be happy? But if I pay my bills, I won’t have any money to enjoy my life.

Here’s what I do. I pay my bills and then I set aside money to have some fun. In just over a week I’ll be going to a Lindsey Stirling concert with my brother. I’ve been setting aside some spending money for the past couple months – any spare cash and change I end up with gets put away. That way, I can have some spending money without worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to afford EVERY bill. If I feel I need a little extra money to scrape by, I pick up a little overtime, even if it means sacrificing some sleep.

That’s what I did last night. I picked up an extra 7p-730a shift. Eight hours of it’ll be overtime. I may have been awake for 27 hours straight by the time I got home and 28 by the time I got to bed, but it’s worth it. I learned at an early age that I had to earn my opportunities in life and that they’re not going to be handed to me. If I want to go to a concert, get a tattoo, spend time with friends, etc., I have to earn it.

I wouldn’t change my life in any way. I’ll be twenty in August, and I’m already to say the following:

  • I’m a published author of two books.
  • I’m a photographer
  • I’m a full time CNA
  • I have my own apartment and pay my bills on time
  • I’m a full time nursing student
  • I have two wonderful godchildren
  • earned everything I have

That doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I’m far from it, but I wouldn’t want to be ‘perfect’. I want to accomplish as much as I can and be happy with my life. If that doesn’t mean anything, then I don’t know what does.


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