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 »





the edge of extinction.

3 04 2011

ok folks, it’s time for us to have a serious sit down discussion about the ikea bus.

the first week of ticket sales was exciting. after the first few days, i had 13 people already and it seemed like things were all systems go.

and then, they stopped going.

i  was stuck at 13 tickets for almost an entire week. and the worst part was that people kept asking me how it was going…

i’m a firm believer that it’s never good for business to tell people that things aren’t going well. so i would say things like “it’s going, but i wanna sell that shit out!” or “it’s coming along, but there’s still room!”. it’s a little awkward. and i’ve been feeling a lot of shame about the fact that it’s not going better. both because i don’t like failing at things, and because i really really do want it to happen.

i sold a few more tickets last week, but just a few. and sadly, my attempts at getting some press coverage turned out to be completely balls. so here i am, stalled out at at 16 tickets (i made the boyfriend promise to buy one, so i could say  17 and not totally be lying).

i’m not sure what happened. 58 people liked my press release on facebook. the eventbrite page has almost 600 page views! and everyone and their grandma keeps telling me what an awesome idea it is. so what gives?

bad timing? no money? not the right time to buy a couch after all? i have no idea.

the truth is that i’m scared. if i can’t get up to at least 25 (preferably 30) by the 7th (that’s THIS THURSDAY), i’m gonna have to cancel. the problem is that the money is mine, and if i don’t get the bus filled , that money still disappears. and i have student loans and a mortgage that can’t let that happen.

i don’t want to beg you. begging isn’t classy. more than anything, i’d like to gently remind you to buy your ticket now if you’re planning on going- or at least send me an email telling me that you’re definitely coming. and i’d also like to warn all the fabulous folks that did buy tickets, that there is currently a high likelihood that the trip will be canceled. so, spread the world to your friends and neighbors if you want it to be on. and if anyone knows a media outlet that might give the ikea bus a little lovin… now is the time to call in some favors!





weekend pickthough- shiny and new edition.

6 02 2011

in 2010, i had hoped that i would have both the time and the cash to give the ole website a total overhaul. well, that didn’t happen. but i did think that was time at least for a teensy little update. so voila! a shiny new pile of icons (for all the contact and social media crap you guys could ever want), and now even though it’s still a free wordrpress blog… the URL looks like a real website (broke207.wordpress.com still works too)! not entirely monumental, but at least SOMETHING. perhaps this month i will see if there is anything else worth tweaking (any suggestions?). but for now, you should probably thank me for these nice new updates by nominating me for best blog on the phoenix best of 2011 poll.

dude. TWISTER RAIN COAT. (thanks cindy!)

easily the most interesting tidbit of local news in the last 10 years. (spoiler- STRIPPER FIGHT!!!)

i’m positive that there’s a steamed clams joke in here somewhere…

chrystie over at ilovetogossip got a little lovin from local media this week! (OMG, did you know her sister is on the bachelor right now?)

i know this really hot girl who got a pair of pajama jeans from her brother for xmas, and now that’s all she ever wears. TRAGEDY.

the mysteries of the asian aging process revealed.

“I guess I need a snake lover,” he told The Daily Mail. “Or someone with multiple mongooses.”

how could it have possibly taken me this long to find out that hugh jackman has a tiny dog named PEACHES?





less is more.

11 01 2011

so i was reading this weird article last week about a restaurateur in new york who is opening up a temporary fine dining restaurant (in a building that will either be demolished or sold within a year). it was sort of an interesting read in and of itself, but about halfway through, i ran directly into this quote:

“sometimes no money is better than money.”

in the scope of the article, they were talking about how the budget forced them to make creative design choices. but in the scope of my life, i think it might be my new mantra.

in my past, i have lived comfortably with less (much less). in fact, in my very earliest years on welfare with my mom and sister, i don’t even remember being poor because my mom was a magician. she made quiche out of government cheese and picture perfect little bo peep costumes out of our bedroom curtains (just like scarlett o’hara!). she taught me that being broke doesn’t mean not having what you want. it just means being resourceful with what you have to create what you want. dear lord, how did i forget?

though it may provide a momentary jolt of pleasure and feeling of fullness, there isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction to be had in going to the mall and buying a sweater. knitting a sweater on the other hand is a triumphant experience. for example, my brilliant friend cindy unraveled a damaged cashmere sweater and made it into the most stunning pair of cable knit mitts ever. an amazing and thoughtful xmas gift that i’ve been wearing like crazy, and that cost her virtually nothing (except time, and of course, love).

true ingenuity comes from necessity, and when we’re broke, we’re forced to be creative about how we use our resources. buying stuff is my crutch. it solves the problem in the moment (although it often creates greater problems down the line), but i feel like my “makin do” muscles have atrophied. i may not be as broke as i once was (but worry not, i still have like $16 in my bank account right now), but that doesn’t give me an excuse to forget the value of maximizing what i already have.

10 days ago, i made a resolution to PAY ATTENTION! to how i spend my money (and my time and my calories…). i also declared that this would be my only resolution this year. well, i lied. sort of. technically it isn’t new year’s anymore… so consider this to be a mid-january resolution addendum.

number 1 will still be PAY ATTENTION!, but 1a will be BE INGENIOUS. if my mom managed to materialize a fantastical christmas out of food stamps and home made barbie clothes when i was 5, i can certainly figure out how to reel in the excess and stop solving my problems with my bank account.

i need inspiration! tell me how you have been creative with limited resources, so that i can try to outdo you.





resolved.

2 01 2011

i was lucky enough to come into a bit of an xmas windfall this year. nothing earth shattering (most of it went to bills and to my saving’s account), BUT i decided to give myself a small allowance to spend on whatever i wanted. DANGEROUS. it could have been anything, or everything… i have a bad habit of burning through cash without really paying attention to where it goes, or really caring too much when it’s gone. i’m all like “oh, that’s was fun”, instead of feeling the intense sense of guilt and shame that keeps most people from getting in financial trouble.

the last year has overall been a good one for my financial evolution. this was the first year in over a decade that i didn’t use my credit cards even once. i also managed to have a savings account with actual money in it for more than 15 minutes. on the other hand, i didn’t pay off my credit cards as much as i would have liked, i didn’t manage to keep the majority of the money in my savings account, and i still didn’t start an HSA.

so for 2011, i have only one resolution. it isn’t to save more, or spend less, pay off the credit cards, or even open an HSA… (although all of those things are certainly worth keeping in mind). my resolution this year is just to PAY ATTENTION. wherever my money travels should take me this year, i would like to be watchful and be thoughtful about every dollar i spend. i’m thinking about leaving my debit card at home, giving myself a cash allowance, being more careful about monitoring my mint account… but it doesn’t really matter what i do, as long as i’m being vigilant.

i decided to lube up my resolution and get started a little early with the aforementioned windfalll. instead of just throwing the money into my checking account and going apeshit on whatever i happened to find first, i sat down and really thought about things that i wanted, needed, and would generally be too cheap or too broke to afford the rest of the year. here is what i came up with: Read the rest of this entry »





groceries and the single girl.

28 05 2010

when i was 21 and got my first real apartment, i remember distinctly spending exactly $7 on my very first real grown up groceries. as i recall, the grocery list read a little bit like this:  a loaf of cheap bread, a package of off brand bologna, 1/4 lb of american cheese, a box of margarine, and the balance in ramen and lipton instant noodles. i ate a lot of starch that first year, and enough salt to… um… do something that would require a whole pantload of salt. needless to say, i gained about 15 pounds and was an all around big bloaty (and worefully malnourished) sack. charming!

i suppose the majority of the blame for these  poor dietary choices can be squarely placed  on my parents for being the health conscious hippies that they were. not quite vegetarian, but certainly lacking in the “meat & potatoes” department, i was raised on a steady diet of fruits & veggies, whole grains, and low fat high quality protein (even tofu!). as a result of this, i now require regular vegetables in order to live, and have a strong dislike for soda and anything that is overly sweet. but flashing back to 1999, i was ready to lead a rebellion against this fascist vegetable regime, and went on a processed food binge that would last about a year (and would terminate with enrollment in weight watchers and sincere apologies to my parents for deviating so far from their wise and healthy teachings).

but even once i woke up from my MSG soaked nightmare diet, i was still heavily constrained by the boundaries of both my budget (namely, my $22,000 a year temp job with no benefits), and my singlehood. let’s face it, save for a sad  nod toward the lean cuisine area of the freezer section, the eating universe barely acknowledges the “dining alone” contingent. even if your mom does give you a really tragic “cooking for one” cookbook for christmas, it still wants you to go to the grocery store and purchase all sorts of ingredients, conveniently bundled for families of 5. so what’s a broke single girl (or boy) to do?

1. stockpile: however minimal the cabinet space in your teeny overpriced studio apartment, save some serious real estate for things like pasta, rice, and canned goods. this shit is great for meal components, can usually be obtained for free or super cheap with coupons, and comes in wicked handy when you have to choose between paying your electric bill and going to the grocery store. pro tip- they make tupperware for FUCKING EVERYTHING, including dry-goods storage. once you break open the factory seal, keep your stockpile from getting stale or funny tasting by entombing it in something with a lid that seals (don’t forget to burp!).

2. bulk up & hit the deli: not only do things tend to be cheaper in bulk (no pesky packaging to crap up the works), but you can also get as little or as much as you want. yeah, it’s totally street legal to buy 6 walnuts or ask for a single slice of cheese. pro tip- you can even beg for assorted deli cheese ends for super duper cheap.

3. become one with the freezer: frozen bread changed my life. it meant i could buy whole bags of hamburger buns, artisan bagels, and family sized loaves of sandwich bread… just toss it in a freezer bag before it gets stale, and eat it piece at a time for a good month or so before it gets all weird (longer if you’re not too discriminating about bread taste). also a good trick- if it’s about to go bad, try tossing it in the freezer. this works particularly great with almost questionable fruit & ready to expire yogurt for future smoothie consumption. pro tip- freeze the 3/4 of leftover pasta sauce in the jar in individual portions (small tupperware and ice cube trays work best) instead of letting it grow mold friends in the back of your fridge.

4. multitask: produce is a killer for singles, because it tends to rot away into brown liquid in the crisper drawer before it can all be used. careful meal planning is tantamount here. want to buy a whole head of lettuce? schedule tacos, burgers, & some sort of fancy salad all for the same week to use it up. pro tip- if you just want lettuce once a week, skip the produce section entirely and grab a few leaves at the salad bar (whole foods is particularly good for this).

5. cook ahead: it’s a complete fallacy that freezer cooking is only good for wholesome midwestern families of 8. if there’s a perishable ingredient that you’ve been craving or there’s an amazing deal that you can’t  pass up, make yourself a couple of batches of whatever and freeze the overage. that way you can have single size frozen meals that don’t come in a patronizing little red box. pro tip- cupcakes and unbaked cookie dough balls freeze really well. have yourself some home baked dessert on a one at a time basis (also extremely helpful for diet control).