and the cupboard was bare.

16 07 2010

this week was really going better budget-wise than last week- um, for a while. by wednesday, i still had $40 in my wallet and no huge plans to spend it. i think it gave me a false sense of security though, because as of this afternoon, i have about $15 left to get me through saturday. i’m not entirely sure where it all went, but somewhere in there i managed to wander into 2 candy bars, a bag of potato chips, and a bunch of other crap food that i definitely didn’t need (especially considering that i can’t afford to buy new pants). which brings me to my current point:

i can’t afford to buy new pants. the good news is that i don’t need new pants right now (luckily i went on a pants buying spree just before i started this crazy financial diet), but i am swiftly building a laundry list of other things that i do need, and can’t really afford on my new budget:

stupid expensive shampoo
even stupider expensive candy cane body wash
pair of headphones with 2 working earphones (i have 3 pairs with only one)
saucy costume for burlesque performance
tickets to upcoming red hot and ladylike booze cruise

ok, so most of those things don’t really count as necessities… and i could get by for a while by condescending to downgrade my personal hygiene back to the bargain bin if i had to… but i feel like i shouldn’t have to. am i just being selfish? have i learned nothing about needless spending? in a way, if i really didn’t have any money, things would be easier. i would just go without because i had to. i would probably whine a lot in the process, but at least the decision would be made. so how exactly do i establish some artificial parameters that will save me from blowing out of my budget, without having to deprive myself of the things that make life life comfortable and fun?

over the last two weeks, i’ve actually kind of enjoyed living on an all cash diet (however meager). i’ve had to scale back a little, but i’ve also stared to learn to pause for a minute before i get spendy, and really evaluate how much i really need/want something before i hand over my precious precious cash. $50 is fine and all for beers and snacks and goodwill runs, but sometimes things break, or run out, or crop up. sometimes it’s reasonable to take just a little bit more. in fact, it may be time to institute a secondary budget.

i actually genuinely can’t afford to stuff my budgetary bra this month. it’s $50 a week and lots of sucking it up and using cheap shampoo. but in august, i will thankfully be able to go back to a slightly more solvent lifestyle- but i’m not interested in undoing everything i’ve learned so far. my master plan is to stick with the $50, but add a 2nd tier budget of $200 a month for fun extras and emergency stuff. it’s messy and dirty and easy to lose… but i’m starting to think that cash is the answer.  why am i just figuring this out now? or is there an even better plan that i’m just too dense to figure out?

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4 responses

17 07 2010
Rebecca

I feel your pain. A few years ago, all my beauty products were top of the line. Then my situation changed, & I had to realize most people don’t spend $20+ on bodywash. Luckily, my BFF was going through the exact same thing at the same time, so I had moral support. We alternated between longing for our old fancy stuff, & laughing at ourselves for our extravagance (sometimes simultaneously). Sincere commiseration, blended with humor, is the best therapy. 🙂

19 07 2010
bessmarvin

i don’t know what happened. i’m a really low maintenance girl overall, and i’ve never really cared about the quality of my beauty products… but somehow they snuck in there! i think it’s the smells. i’m addicted to expensive smells. if suave could make $.99 shampoo that smelled like $18 biolage… we’d be in business! i used the last of my shampoo this morning, and i have no idea what to do next. at least you had solidarity!! 😀

6 08 2010
KateLavin

Have you tried the Freecycle network for those not really necessities? It can be pretty hit or miss (at least the L/A one is). I’ve actually gotten more from the wanted posts that I reply to, like the college kid who needs dorm basics but who’s parents didn’t have the extra $$ — felt good to give him what I had and it also got rid of some of the stuff that I would probably never use again and was just taking up space!

As for expensive smells… I feel you on that one — what about using a plain, cheep shampoo and enhancing it with essential oils? May be a little less that way.

Also wanted to thank you — I’ve started the cash only budget recently and reading through your posts (however behind I am) has helped in the way that I know someone else is going through it and suffering as I am. Do you find yourself taking out a bit more then feeling really guilty about it? I do… damn that lack of discipline! I’ll try to be better 🙂

10 08 2010
bessmarvin

i haven’t tried freecycle before, although i’ve heard a lot of good things. i looked into it once, but i didn’t entirely understand the process. you’ve inspired me to give it another go. i may have some additional follow-up questions for you sometime soon.

what i ended up doing when my fancy shampoo ran out is just to grab something new that had a scent that was pleasant but entirely unlike my old shampoo. it’s too hard to try and match it- i may as well just move on to something else and forget about it until i live a life where $18 shampoo makes sense (will it ever?).

as for the cash budgeting thing, i made the mistake of budgeting $50 for spending cash… but all ATMs dispense $20s! i was setting myself up for guilt and failure. i’m still struggling (a lot), but i’m trying to stay the course. solidarity!

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