the chopping block.

19 11 2010

so after spending some time rolling around with tuesday’s therapy musings, i got to thinking about how i use shopping to ease my anxiety. any time i’m about to make a life change, or do something that is stressful to me, i make myself more comfortable by assuring that i am wearing an impeccable outfit. new job= new wardrobe every time, assuring that even if i do make more money at said job, i won’t actually ever get to see any of it.

as many of you know, i’m about to embark on yet another crazy performance opportunity in the form of the burlesque nutcracker.  generally, this would mean several hundred dollars in new lingerie and dancewear, but i’ve decided to try and fight the power. for the snowflake number, instead of getting this (which i really really want to the point where i’ve convinced myself that i NEED it), i will borrow something completely cute and serviceable from someone who was in the number last year. not mine, not perfect, but so far more painless than spending $68+ shipping on something that may or may not actually contain my boobs, and that i will likely never wear again.

well, as i’m thinking about the HUGE (and potentially) lingerie sacrifices that i’m about to make, it made me start thinking about what would happen if i lost my job or got sick and had to make some real sacrifices- what would  be the first to go?

1. as much as i hate to say it out loud, my $100 a month cell phone bill is LUDICROUS. goodbye iphone, hello virgin mobile pay as you go… could i get by with no phone at all?

2. goodybe dr. shrinkage. $300 a months for therapy is a lot. i find it hugely beneficial, but i could survive without it if it meant being able to make my mortgage payment.

3. my student loans are steadily shrinking, and i get to write off the interest every year on my taxes. but if i had to make some cuts, these guys speak the language of need based deferment, which is a blessing indeed.

4. those are the big ones (and we all know that i can’t stop paying my credit card bills- as much as i would like to), but then there’s all the little bits and pieces like neftlix ($17), my gym membership ($10), and non-specific spending money in general ($75). i don’t have cable, and i would have to be in pretty dire straits before i let anyone pry this internet connection out of my little clenched fists.

5. i can’t weed out things like medication, but i do think that if i was really proactive about it, i could axe my food budget down to $15 a week. although i might have to get over the ick factor of shopping at the save-a-lot or the dollar store. hey, at least i don’t eat meat.

still, as it turns out, i need at least $1,200 a month to get by. it’s a lot. it’s scary. it’s exactly why suze orman recommends 6 months worth of expenses in the bank for everyone.

is there anything you wouldn’t be willing to cut?

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6 responses

19 11 2010
Nancy

You may want to rethink that spending 15 bucks a week on food, or get that shrink back. Now that’s crazy! How could you do that? Have Nutcracker tix gone on sale yet? I wish I went last year, really want to try to make it this year.

27 11 2010
bessmarvin

nutcracker tix went on sale yesterday! you can get them here. as for $15 a week for groceries, that is not counting the $$$ that the boyfriend spends, on his half of the food. although you’d be surprised how well i could do if i stockpiled and deal hunted and was willing to make a few concessions. i definitely don’t want to do it, but i feel strongly that i could if i had to.

19 11 2010
Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap

My husband recently decided that we needed to save money on our cell phones by him getting a really (and I mean really) expensive balckberry with the bells and whistles plan and me getting a Trac Phone. He claims he needs the phone for his work (I call bullshit on that) and that I don’t need an awesome phone plan because I don’t even use my phone (being a stay at home mom has so many wonderful benefits- why would I need a phone when I am barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen). Yeah, I don’t really use my phone but I feel like a drug dealer with a Trac Phone. I am slowly getting over this but it’s hard when your phone always hows you how many minutes and service days you have left on the screen. So after all of this and the mild cell phone resentment I feel towards him we are paying exactly what we were before his “money saving” idea. Hmmm, I think he tricked me…

Back to the Trac Phone- it is actually a great idea if you don’t use your cell phone a lot. I also find that because I am so stingy with my minutes that I use our house phone more (we have a magic jack). So, if my husband weren’t such a tool about having the best cell phone in the universe, we would actually be saving tons of money.

27 11 2010
bessmarvin

you totally got punked. although, since i don’t have a home phone, i would definitely go the trac phone route if i had to get rid of my iphone. it is $1,200 a year! that’s RIDICULOUS when i say it out loud. plus, looking like a drug dealer could be an asset at times. my eternally cheap boyfriend does the virgin mobile pay as you go, and actually has a real phone (well, since i finally bullied him into getting rid of his henious $15 phone). i think he pays about $30 a month, and $360 a year really does sound a lot more reasonable.

but tell me about the magic jack! does it really work? was it the sweet siren call of billy mays that convinced you?

20 11 2010
blackgirlinmaine

Considering you are a vegetarian you can could get staples at the Sav-a-Lot, I’ve been there a few times and things like canned tomatoes are fine. Though I think $15 a week in groceries is hard without compromising nutrition, how about $25-30 a week?

Also while $300 in therapy is high especially since this is out of pocket cash, if it keeps you healthy, its probably worth keeping. How about scaling down to bi-weekly visits? It’s stressful as hell going to a restricted financial diet.

If you really don’t need the iPhone for work or anything like that it’s another good place to cut. I use a Blackberry that while my job does not pay for it, it makes my work life easier since I don’t have to be plugged into my computer all day to get emails.

For me and my family, its the extras that end up costing me and muck up my budget. When my son is home that’s 4 of us and the price of saying let’s go out to eat rather than cooking is close to $100 so I have been saying no to eating out. Unless its planned and budgeted for, otherwise I keep a stockpile of soup in the freezer for those days I can’t cook, also I have learned that TJ’s has a few items that are great for the no cooking days that are substantially cheaper.

My best advice is baby steps…anytime I do too much with the budget and start feeling deprived I end up failing because one day I snap and bam that’s hundreds of dollars down the drain.

I have toyed with cutting cable in the end we got rid of the cable extras like HBO, etc…I won’t lie there are times as a parent that does some work at home that the tv is useful for dealing with my kid. (hangs head in shame…sorta) But if I did not have kids I’d probably ax it especially if I were in the city where there is more stuff to do. Out here in the boonies, where there are no more video shops (gotta go all the way to Videoport to rent from Saco) cable is nice in winter.

24 11 2010
bessmarvin

yeah, i would definitely never buy meat there! i’m willing to try some pretty sketchy things, but i’m pretty sure that’s not one of them. i know that $15 sounds like crazytown, but with my coupony ways, i generally average about $30-$35. if i cut out the snack foods and fancy greek yogurts and such, and stuck to buying bulk and in season, i could totally do it for $15. the iphone i would hate to lose, but it would definitely be the first thing to go. but there’s really only so much you can do. those unexpected expenses are really the ones that kick my ass (hello, NEW ROOF!). well, that and eating out. maybe that’s why grocery budget is so small… you should totally axe cable and get a roku so you can just stream netflix on your tv. i only have super basic cable, but i never watch it anymore.

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