Re the priorities thing... I have a car fund that money is going into, and that is part of the essentials calculation. Meanwhile I am working on getting my license but it's a YEAR LONG process in Australia. I can't take my practical test for another couple of months and then have to be on logbook [supervised] for six months after that. THEN I have to pass ANOTHER test to get my license. So, my parents have to shuttle me around. For which I am ever grateful.
I do want to move out, but perhaps you're not really understanding how much rent costs here? The market value for a one bedroom apartment/flat/unit/whatever you want to call it is approximately $280 a week. How am I supposed to feed MYSELF and pay that, much less take proper care of my horses? I can forget having an actual HOUSE with a YARD [I have dogs and one in particular is rather destructive, a yard is a necessity not a luxury] until I'm making at least $700/week, and while I could do that working full time I wouldn't have ANY time or energy for study and horses, much less showing.
Why is it so wrong to want to progress my riding? If I'm not competing, I barely even ride... I am the sort of person who needs something to work towards. If I'm not riding, I'm not a very nice person, and nobody wants anything to do with me. Riding is my stress release and my only escape from "real life"... but I don't ride just to ride, I'm far too competitive for that. I have a good horse that knows a lot more than I do, and I want to do him justice. If I spend yet MORE years just bumming around as a casual trail rider, I'll pick up still more bad habits, and as a basically self-taught rider I have plenty of those as it is.
At the moment I really feel like nothing I do is good enough. I don't get lessons, I therefore struggle to get my horse off my hands, out of the false frame he likes to slip into... because I don't have someone to yell at me over the things I do wrong. So clearly I'm a crappy rider, because I can't get a halfway decent score in my dressage tests. Now I'm wanting lessons [yes, so that I can do better in shows, but who cares what the reason is?] and just because I'm complaining about money, my priorities are screwed up? Okay...
I guess I should have mentioned that my ABSOLUTE MINIMUM calculation of weekly spendings does take into account planning for the future.
And, I dropped out of school because I couldn't handle it, not because I'm lazy/don't care about learning/whatever. I just couldn't hack it. I wasn't bullied outright but I was left out of almost everything, which is, if anything, MORE painful. I hate people as a rule and school is very people-heavy which I really didn't do well with. So I dropped out and instead went to work, in retail, which pays reasonably compared to current job... but was too customer-oriented and as above, I couldn't handle it. I still stuck around for over a year.
When I quit retail, I travelled to the other side of the country to try out a working pupil position for one of Australia's foremost riders, thinking that if I could hack it, the skills I would learn - riding, coaching, but also life skills - would set me up for life. Not all that many coaches can say they learned from the man who was offering the position, and my aim was to spend a few years working there, progress my riding to the point where I would become a well-respected competitor, and get my coaching qualification... then come home and coach and ride for a living, rather like what my boss does.
I do still aim to be a coach but couldn't handle being so far from any family. I went from seeing my mother and brother daily to not seeing them at all in the space of 24 hours... and more than that, my horse stayed here. The intention was to eventually truck him across the country, but he's a bad traveller, and doesn't cope well with cold. Newcastle NSW is cold, and the journey would have taken a huge amount out of him... maybe even killed him, knowing him! So I came home, having learned a lot in the week I was there but disappointed in myself for YET AGAIN failing. I have clung to the reason and excuse of putting my horse ahead of my Olympic dreams to keep myself from putting too much store in the critics who would love nothing more than for me to give up altogether and quit riding.
I went through a dark period where I couldn't fathom the idea of looking for work, much less actually working, then came across my current job. Working for my beautiful boss Liza has been great for me and frankly is the only reason I am capable of contemplating a second job at all, so excuse me for wanting to stay in the job that hauled me out of a really dark place and has kept my outlook positive for four months now through all the crap my young Thoroughbred has thrown at me.
Maybe my priorities ARE screwed up, but from where I'm sitting I'd rather be sane and give up a few freedoms than drive myself mad just to be able to live on my own and drive myself to work.
I am EIGHTEEN, and while a lot of people I know have already moved out or are champing at the bit to do so, a lot of other people my age haven't even got their learners permit yet. In the USA I would still be considered a kid... not even legal drinking age. Hell I would still be high school age in the US... here, the last year of high school is the year in which we turn 17.
I specifically said I was NOT looking for advice, honestly until now I was proud of myself for even bothering to try budgeting - I am not an especially responsible money manager by nature, it's a learning curve - and was already planning what to do with the money I would save by being aware of my spending. Yes, most of that is going to go on shows. And budgeting showed me that I needed a second job to move my gelding out to where I'm working so that I can access the lessons I want... WANT not NEED because we are going just swimmingly on our own, just not progressing in the dressage side of things.