self medicating.

6 01 2012

i’m not very good at transitions.

when i was a freshman in high school, i blew out of all my classes and got bumped out of honors english. i spent too much time oogling boys at the skate park and drinking  yukon jack and kool aid from my best friend’s parent’s liquor cabinet. by sophomore year, i was back to my honor roll making, science fair winning, overachieving self.

when i was a freshman in college, my best friend and i used to joke that we should start a band called “champagne headache”. but for serious, i spent the entire year drunk on korbel watching “love boat” on the couch in the common area, and learning how to build the perfect gravity bong.  by graduation, i was back to my dean’s list making, resident assisting, overachieving self.

i’m convinced it was because i started kindergarten just days after i turned 5. always being one of the youngest kids in the class kind of messes you up. but whatever the case, i always get severely beat up when i’m wrestling the kraken that is change. although i do eventually end up victorious. usually.

as much as i overachieved with bong making and box wine swilling in my younger days, i’ve pretty much grown out of my substance abuse phase (save for the occasional too much bourbon day). however, i do have an equally destructive coping mechanism that still remains…

Read the rest of this entry »





chastity belt.

10 07 2011

well, i made it through two weeks on $68, only to find myself in almost the exact same predicament again this month. will i ever live to float above the desperate line?  and i’m not desperate because i’m feeding my kids (or even my dog), or putting myself through school so i can stay off the pole. nope. i’m a victim of my own careless spending.

although i no longer spend money that’s not mine (credit cards), i do certainly rob myself of the pleasure of things like a reasonable savings account, or even just the comfort of being able to manage my money like a responsible adult (what, $7 isn’t enough for groceries?).

so last monday, i decided that i was going get my shit together and go on the “all cash system” that everyone financially responsible is always raving about. i  took $60 out of the ATM.

by tuesday night, i had gone out to eat 3 times and bought a new dress. i had burned through my cash and was using my card again. ALREADY.

this is exactly what happens to me when i go on a diet. by telling myself that i can’t have food that i want, i automatically end up eating 4 times more than i otherwise would… like somehow i think that by dieting, that means that i’m never going to eat anything good again. so i spaz out and eat everything.

it is clear that i am too stupid to overcome these impulse control problems with logic. thus, my only remaining option: BRUTE FORCE.

simply, i can’t spend money if i don’t have it. and this week, i’m giving up control. i have a small stash of bills (very small this week), and the debit card has been safely handed over to the boyfriend with strict instructions not to let me have it unless it’s an utter emergency.

like medical or family emergency, not amazing dress on sale emergency.

this can’t possibly not work. right?

any other crazy ideas out there for wrapping my hands a little more tightly around my financial situation? or am i hopelessly hopeless?

 





surprise attack.

28 06 2011


a few months ago (at the big thaw actually), i had a heinous allergic reaction that caused my feet and legs to be covered in enormous, swollen, itchy hives (see inset). it was a pretty sexy look, but i figured i’d take  a brief jaunt to the emergency room, just in case.

unfortunately, my hives went away while i was sitting on the gurney in my very flattering hospital johnny. actually, one of the hot doctors (for some reason the maine med ER docs are always super sexy) actually uttered the phrase “wow, i’m watching the hives disappear in front of my eyes”. at which point like 3 more doctors came in, asked me all the same questions, and then they told me to go home and take a benadryl.

helpful.

about a month later, i was pleasantly surprised to get a bill from maine med for a mere $0 for my visit. way to go insurance!

FALSE ALARM.

friday, i got a replacement bill for $362.

fuck.

as you might remember, i was just scraping by last month. and i made it work. i ate dinner at home and had $3 beers! i didn’t have to dip into my saving’s account to pay my bills! but things are still tight. i just can’t afford a big chunk of change like that right now and have any chance of catching up with my finances.

i have a feeling that these kinds of bills (unexpected expenses!) are the kinds of bills that really get people in trouble.  i have certainly been more than guilty of putting off paying a medical bill for as long as i possibly can (usually until they send me the letter telling me it’s about to go into collections), even when it’s only like $8. but unlike that situation, this isn’t the kind of circumstance where i can pay it off indiana jones style at the last minute. i don’t have $362 extra dollars now, and i probably won’t anytime soon.

so what now? Read the rest of this entry »





uh oh.

4 06 2011

i’m in trouble. not entirely sure how it happened, but my $1,200 post tax season cushion is COMPLETELY GONE, and i have exactly enough money to pay my bills… leaving me about $68 to last me until my next pay day. oh, did i mention that i get paid every TWO WEEKS?

FUCK.

summer is the spendiest time of year for me, filled with after work margaritas, flea marketing and new sun dresses… in the last month, i indiscriminately blew through over $1,000 of  lazy $12 “i forgot to pack my lunch” days, several “OMG this skirt is only  $18” days, and everyone’s favorite “i can’t show up to this brunch without at least $20 worth of champagne and donuts” days… i really have no idea what i bought, but i had a crazy exciting month, so i’m sure it was fabulous.

being broke, markedly less fabulous. Read the rest of this entry »





adrift: how C3PO totally ruined my day.

30 03 2011

today has sucked from start to finish. and by start, i mean at around 1:30 am i threw up my hands in despair because the C3PO mask i had been attempting to make ALL NIGHT was officially and irreparably creepy and awful.

the last ditch puffy paint accents i had applied in delirium made my robot friend look like he had just participated in some elicit activities resulting in a face full of shiny golden robo-semen.

UNACCEPTABLE!

i don’t know why i thought that this task would be simple. C3PO masks are best left to vacuform machines and people with masters degrees in paper mache. i am neither of those. what i am is a person who needs a decent C3PO mask by friday and has run out of options.

this, and the lack of sleep caused by this would color my whole day.

i was cranky and emotional and punctuated my afternoon with occasional bathroom crying jags. sometimes things just go really wrong and you can’t seem to get out from under it.

i decided to drag my carcass around town on my lunch break in hopes that some fresh air might cure what ailed me. but half way across town, i realized that i had forgotten my debit card.

when i’m really bummed out, all i want to do is shop and eat. being unable to do either of those things crushed my spirit a little. it had never really occurred to me how much i placate myself with stuff. with consumption.

i imagined myself eating a big cookie and buying a new dress. i imagined myself feeling better. i didn’t. it was just me and my mood wandering the streets alone.

i still feel crappy. and my allergies are acting up. and one of my eyes is slowly puffing shut… but i’m strongly considering leaving my debit card at home more often. maybe i need to hang out with my sad sometimes- instead of trying to smother it with lattes and new lip gl0ss. maybe i would save some money and learn some new coping skills.

i don’t know.

on a related note, does anyone have a C3PO mask i can borrow for a few days?





tax time: the agony and the ecstasy.

9 03 2011

once upon a time, online tax software was not readily available, nor was being online. in my tiny cockroach infested first apartment, i could barely afford to eat- let alone pay for a dial up internet connection (which back in ’99 was all a single girl could dream to afford).

well, when my mom pushed me out of the nest after college, doing my own taxes was part of the deal. but not having preparation software, or even the luxury of being able to google how to do taxes, i was essentially BONED. i had to go to the LIBRARY and pick up paper forms and instruction booklets.

i distinctly remember having a panic attack over my futon full of forms and manuals. gross adjusted what? but i pushed through, did what i thought was probably right (cried on the phone to my mom for an hour or so), and got myself a refund of $500. well, actually $250 after the IRS corrected my copious errors. but it did it! by myself!

after the trauma of paper taxes, the next year i found myself a friend with internet access and vowed to e-file, no matter what the cost. as it turned out, being single renter who had yet to start paying off her student loans (now a distant utopian memory), and was making roughly $20,000 a year (less utopian), was actually an ideal situation. i could file the 1040EZ, and that meant that there were numerous free filing options for broke jerks like me (and there still are).

i chose turbotax, and it was best arbitrary decision i ever made. Read the rest of this entry »





um…AWKWARD: the new rules of regifting.

5 02 2011
mad men chip & dip.

it's a chip & dip. we got two.

so yesterday i wrote a little post about gift cards, and i showed off my sexy little stash of paper and plastic tickets to paradise.  well, last night after i put up the post, i was inspired to take stock of my collection and realized that this xmas, i had received a $50 gift certificate to go see a show at a local theater.  the paper clearly advertised “any show in the 2010-2011 season!”, and it occurred to me that i should probably go to their website and figure out which show i wanted to see in advance, so i didn’t end up having to see driving miss daisy or some other old people shit. so i’m browsing their 2010-2011 shows and i realize…

THEIR 2010-2011 SEASON ENDED ON JANUARY 23RD!

now, i got a lot of shit the last time i complained about bad gifts, and this particular gesture was in essence not entirely different (in terms of thoughtlessness) than giving me a plasti-stone statuette of polar bears. but, there’s just something about realizing that you’ve been regifted  that makes you feel like complete crap! especially when it’s something that you actually want,  and then you realize that it’s expired and that you were essentially gifted a colorful piece of paper that the original recipient didn’t want.  it’s sort of the holiday equivalent of getting punk’d.

but, we live in a culture of constant and unnecessary consumption. every time i go to the goodwill, i think “if the universe never produced another basket for the next 10,000 years, we would still be ok”. at least with a regift,  you’re not directly supporting the avalanche of pointless and unwanted consumer goods that bury us every holiday season.  in theory, regifting is a good idea. so why does it feel so bad?

1. a regift says- “this wasn’t good enough for me, but i’m sure it’ll be fine for you”.

2. an obvious regift makes the recipient feel like they weren’t worthy of you spending any time or money on them.

3. if you don’t want it, there’s a good chance that it kind of sucks.

so keeping these things in mind, i decided to make up my own rules of regifting: Read the rest of this entry »