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?





raising the roof.

26 05 2010

i wish i could raise the roof all 1998 style (can a get a woot woot?) about the process of getting a new roof, but it’s been all sorts of suck since day one. we hadn’t even had our condo for a full year when the water damage started. sure, they told us during due diligence that we would need a new roof in the next 2-5 years, but we figured we would have at least one recovery year before the giant assessment of doom descended upon us. but then *BAM*, 1 giant shingle ripping windstorm, and everything falls apart. our beautiful (and stupid expensive) brand new professional paint job reduced to a bubbly saggy mess in 24 short hours.

now not only was my heart broken about the paint job, but with one of the 5 units in our tiny little condo association undergoing foreclosure (meaning that the guy hadn’t paid mortgage or condo fees for 6+ months), i was also wicked pissed. why you ask? well, because when a condo association needs a new roof, and one of the units is in foreclosure… everyone else just has to pick up the slack and pay jerkface’s share of the bill. which isn’t so bad when it’s a $75 heat bill, but when it’s a $15,000 new roof- it becomes significantly more pricey. and thus, i become increasingly more filled with rage.

i suppose we were lucky enough to get that big chunk gifted to us by the boyfriend’s parents (although that too came with it’s own “complications” [ahem, demon dog anyone?]). but that still left us with $1,375 each to come up with by june 1st. the crazy thing is, i actually had it. there was almost $2,300 in my savings account, and for the first time in my life ever (i’d never been able to keep more than about $25 in savings at any given time), my emergency fund was actually ready for the emergency. so why did it feel so bad when i had to write that check? last night as i transferred the cash over to my checking account, and saw my hard earned savings dwindle down to less than $900, i felt a huge sense of hopelessness and loss. i had been doing so well. i had made real progress. i had felt so successful. and here i was again, back down to an almost empty tank.

i automatically have $100 a month put into savings from my paycheck, and then any other outside earnings, single check rebates, or other miscellaneous income have been getting thrown in there to boot. this was a good year, and between tax returns and freelance jobs, i was able to come up with almost another $1000 of miscellany to stuff under my savings mattress. i’m just afraid that this next year won’t be as kind, and that my race to have 2 months worth of living expenses in the stronghold could take another 2 or more years to build. i was so close.

i think i get it now. saving money is like taking prozac. it takes the edge of worry off of working and living in a world where expensive emergencies can streak across the road like a spooked deer at any time. sure, my new roof looks nice, will add resale value to my home, and will most hopefully prevent any future water damage… but it took a little bit of my security with it, and i think i’m going to be in mourning for a little while. *i’ll be in my room*