Adulting, Independence

Adulting: Investing in Life’s Essentials

Being an autistic adult, one may have difficulty understanding that life’s essentials are in fact essentials and require investment before that device or book that may want. Even if we are not living independently, there are essentials we may need in life to function that require us to spend money that we otherwise wouldn’t want to because we may think it is senseless, however it is an essential item and sometimes it is good to do so.

I am blessed to be in a position where I have a part-time job to supplement my income, and while it isn’t much extra money it is some that I do save from time to time for when I need life’s necessities. One of the things I have been needing was a winter coat. The last one was a subpar cheaper material that ripped easily and eventually had the zipper broke, Later, coins got in the liner, which made me realize that I couldn’t go into a building where I would be subject to a metal detector search for this reason. I’ve known that I needed a coat for over a year, but for this reason and that reason, I put it off.

Lately, in Western Pennsylvania, we have been subjected to colder weather, and as such had to realize that I needed to invest in a durable winter coat. As the years have progressed in my community, the stores that we once purchased coats are no longer in existence and as such many resort to the local farm store. I try to avoid this particular farm store at all costs for many reasons, It is an absolute sensory overload and can be very challenging to shop in. Furthermore, it permits people to bring their own animals, and while I can be the attractant to some animals, unruly animals can be triggering for me.

Anyway, my mom takes me to the store, and I try on various coats, and I eventually choose the coat that is a little bit above what I wanted to spend. However, I have saved money over time to reserve for needed items and this I felt was one of them that I would invest in because it was a name brand item and I always wanted one of them and now I am blessed that I was at the age of 36 able to have one of my own.

Being able to reserve my finances to make essential purchases and determine the difference between what I really needed versus what I just wanted and whether I was really going to use or have an item is something I struggled severely for many years. There was many times that my debit card would decline a purchase or I would be overdrawn on something at the bank because I was making frivolous purchases. 

For me, I had to hit rock bottom and when I had to leave my first home and when I had to pack up the senseless things that I purchased and end up donating many of them to a thrift store showed me that I do not need things that do not have a purpose for me. Within time, I realized that I needed to stay away from stores and websites that cause me to buy things that I don’t need and rather focus on the three life’s essentials of life: food, clothing and shelter.

It was easy for me to walk away from that life of what at times could have been considered borderline hoarding, however, I know if I want to have the life of my dreams and be able to be happy with myself, I must take care of my needs first and foremost. Creating a budget and having setting up bills to be on auto-withdraw help in that effort. Working lets me know that I have extra money to spend, however, I must set aside a certain amount of those earnings as it too is counted into my rent of my home. Curtailing expenses sometimes means that you have to forgo things that you want and I used to get impulsive and not think through the purpose of buying an item. Now that I have seen the brighter side of what I have done to better my financial health, I can be happier and want to take care of the things I have because I have invested in them and they are the things I choose to have and the items are important for me to live life.

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