The Money Pit of Overextending Yourself

“Put on your own mask before assisting others.”

I’ve heard flight attendants, or more recently the inflight video, state this line hundreds of times. The moral of course being you don’t do anyone any good if you fall over gasping for breath before you finish putting a mask on your child or panicking seatmate.

Currently, I’m flailing around in the aisle gasping for air and blocking everyone else from the emergency exit row. Or at least, that’s how it feels as I eat TUMS like its candy.

This hyperbolic imagery comes to you as the result of me overcommitting myself on several fronts. Running Broke Millennial and posting a minimum of once a week, handling freelance gigs (one of which is now Forbes!), taking CFP classes, working on a currently top secret project with a deadline and balancing it all around a full time job. It’s a classic entrepreneurial move. Instead of saying no to moneymaking and brand-building opportunities, I’ve just stopped caring for myself. This also turns into quite the money pit.

via GIPHY

Full disclosure: this is a bit of self-indulgent rant or therapeutic writing if you will. However, it can provide some insight for those interested in balancing freelancing with a full-time job or serial over-commiters.

How exactly is me having less time to go out and indulge in activities that would normally cost me turning into a money pit? Seems like being a hermit would be quite beneficial to the ol’ savings account.

Not for me thanks to the increase in ordering meals, eating junk and doubling my coffee intake. I may or may not be noshing on a chocolate Easter bunny as I’m typing. It should also be stated that after much effort, I just can’t turn myself into a morning person so I’m a night owl who stays up late to get work done.

MosbyI usually get home from work around 7 or 7:30 at which point Mosby immediately needs to get walked and fed (putting on his oxygen mask first). He deserves a long walk after being inside most of the day, so it’s about 30 minutes of my time to give him a mile or two walk and then feed him.

Now it’s 8:00 pm and I need to feed myself. Normally meals have been prepped over the weekend so I can just pop something healthy and homemade into the microwave or heat it up on the stove. Not so much lately. Weekends are dedicated to slogging through work and getting some errands done (like laundry). Not much time is left to spend three to four hours grocery shopping and bulk cooking meals.

So, I’ve been reduced to quick, often unhealthy, meals (partially because it’s what I’m craving) or ordering out to save some time and get to work. This has become quite the little money pit in the last few weeks as I’m used to spending about $120 max on food each week.

I’ve also been putting off a much needed hair cut and exercise is often a low priority item these days, which has left clothing feeling tighter than normal and energy levels drained. (And yes, I know, I could just prioritize exercise but it’s hard to get it up about going out on a run when you’re tired and the habit just isn’t there.)

After another day of not getting down to work until about 8:45 and needing to stop at 10 to give Mosby another long walk it hit me: I’m growing a business and I can’t do this alone.

It’s time to get my act together and hire an assistant (virtual or real) to help take some tasks off my plate and consider ponying up for indulgences like a dog walker for Mosby during the day, laundry service and Fresh Direct to nix the time spent doing and folding my own laundry as well as grocery shopping. It should be noted here, I’m a city dweller without a car and no washer/dryer in the apartment. So tasks like grocery shopping and doing laundry aren’t as simple as they may sound. This of course, will require spending more into the money pit. But it goes back to the notion of when is it time to stop being cheap? These are certainly practices I can cease when life settles down a little bit, but perhaps they’ll still be worth the cost in exchange for my time.

P.S. I decided to add another thing to my workload and figure out Instagram. I am a millennial after all. If you’re feeling generous and want to follow someone who will post money tips (and obviously dog pictures) you can find me @brokemillennialblog.

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30 comments on “The Money Pit of Overextending Yourself
  1. Needing an assistant sounds like a good problem to have. It means your business is heading in the right direction.
    Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog recently posted…How I Accomplished All of My Goals in 2015My Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      It sure does. Part of growing as an entrepreneur, but it can also be difficult to take the time to train someone when you already feel stretched thin. (Excuses, I know).

    • MPhelps says:

      You don’t need an assistant or a dog walker. Just bring the dog to the pound and give up on your impractical internet business.

      • Broke Millennial® says:

        So kind of you to stop by. Fortunately, I don’t have an impractical Internet business and instead have a full-time career job with ample salary and benefits but I also pursue writing and other endeavors that happen to bring in sufficient money. Earning six-figures a year with no debt makes it pretty easy to afford an assistant and/or a dog walker if I so choose.

        • James says:

          AHA! So you’re not broke!!!

          • Broke Millennial® says:

            No, sir. Never actually have been. It’s just a moniker a used to describe the plight of the generation, which I address in quite a few posts throughout the site (and on the “About Me” section). It’s catchy though!

  2. You’re doing a ton of really exciting stuff, Erin. So I don’t blame you for trying to balance it all. I’ve recently had to turn down some freelance clients to make more time for CFP school work. I’ve also been pretty aggressive with self-care (diet & exercise) over the past month and it’s given me a lot more energy. Outsourcing some stuff before you burn out is a very smart idea. The expense will be worth it!
    Kate @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…How I Launched My Freelance Career From the CaribbeanMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      I need to get on your level with diet and exercise in order to boost my energy. It’s something I know is good for me, I just make excuses to not do it…

  3. Spot on! Getting help is really a nice way to strike a balance between work and family.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Five Factors to Consider Before Investing in Rental PropertyMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      Luckily, I don’t have a husband and kids to balance into the equation — just a dog. But I still want some balance for a social life!

  4. Shahar Ziv says:

    Great article. A function of success, but still something new to think about. Your post reminded me of an article Catherine Rampell when she was still with the NYTimes: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/magazine/outsource-your-way-to-success.html?referer=&_r=0

  5. I have all but given up on any side hustles because I know the only way I can take care of myself is to let a lot of things go. There are days I come home from work (and I do love my job) where I sometimes don’t even turn on the computer. It feels weird, but if I budget carefully, with what I’m making I can turn down those side hustles. I know it’s hard when you’re excited about a project or side hustles you care about, so I think you’re the only one who will know how to balance it all out. Best of luck my friend!
    Tonya@Budget & the Beach recently posted…Ikigai is Not Some Creepy Dude at the BarMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      Thanks for the well wishes! Because my side hustles are so tied into brand building this site and something I believe to have long-term potential to bring home the bacon, it’s really hard to scale back. I do need to find some sort of middle ground though.

  6. James says:

    You should hire an assistant. It would really make your job a bit easier. Just pick the best candidate.
    James recently posted…Five Factors to Consider Before Investing in Rental PropertyMy Profile

  7. The really cheap and frugal part of me hates it when I pay for conveniences but sometimes you just gotta do it. And it is worth it. I know people who pay for these conveniences while they do unproductive things like watch TV. In your case, if you’re paying for conveniences to free up your time to do freelance writing and other productive tasks then it’s worth it. Oh and I can’t imagine not having a washer/dryer in the apartment complex…the chore is a hassle already and having to go outside!!

    • Andrew says:

      I forgot to mention that the people I know who were paying for these conveniences while doing unproductive things were also in credit card debt and living paycheck to paycheck…that was the part that is maddening.

      • Broke Millennial® says:

        Yes, I get super annoyed by that as well. Hard not to judge when it’s sinking someone into debt.

  8. The airline example is a great analogy. I think it’s important to be generous and helpful to others in a variety of financial situations, but there definitely need to be firm boundaries so you are also taking care of yourself. This has been a hard “balance” to strike since having kids, not financially for me, but in areas like health and socially.
    Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor recently posted…The Power of PerpetuityMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      Thanks, Kalie. It can be really hard to prioritize yourself, especially when other people (particularly dependents) are part of the equation. Luckily, my dependent just needs a nice walk, a bowl of food and a few belly rubs.

  9. Coral says:

    I love reading your posts, Erin, but you need to make sure to take care of yourself, too! When deciding which “luxury” costs are worthwhile in their time-saving value (and which are not), I like to think about a tool I saw on http://www.clearerthinking.org/ called the “value of your time calculator” – it really changed my perspective about how I value my own time, how much money is rational to spend on a service that saves me X amount of hours, and what kind of return I should get for putting in X amount of hours of my own.

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      Thanks for sharing the tool! I’ll be sure to check it out (but I’m a little scared now too).

  10. Keep hanging in there! I definitely feel ya on the dog. I feel so guilty when I have to leave my pup in his crate because I have to get work done 🙁 Sometimes he cries and cries while I am trying to get something important done for grad school and I have to put him in his crate! I also rush home and take him for a walk too. I am looking forward to December when I finish all of my classes and then can have more me-time back.
    MB @ Millennial Boss recently posted…That Craigslist HighMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial® says:

      Bet it makes you glad it’s a dog and not a kid 😛 or at least that’s how I feel! I do have a bit of a deadline in mind for when some of this will calm down and I’m certainly keeping my eye on the prize as motivation.

  11. I totally know what you mean. Running a business really means trying to find a balance between client work, your own work, and taking time for things not related to your business. It can be very hard to do.

  12. Amanda says:

    This gave me de ja vu. I did this for two and a half years until I finally quit my job. Then I overworked myself again until I hired a VA six months later lol.

  13. It’s difficult to find that balance, especially when you’re so driven and success motivated. But I’ve had to learn to set my priorities and let those be the dictators in how I spend my time. Does this mean that some things come more slowly than I’d like? Yes. But it also means that I’m sane. Which is also important 😉

    Congrats on all the success and here’s to hoping your VA will give you back some “me” time!
    Brittney @ Britt & the Benjamins recently posted…15 free desktop backgrounds to help you get s#!% doneMy Profile

  14. william says:

    Most days I feel like I need some help! I start my day and 6am and it does not end until 10pm

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