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…

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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?

 





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!





getting to the mailbox.

16 11 2010

i pay my therapist to give me advice. that’s the way it works, right?  but today we talked about something we had never talked about before- MONEY. which is a little bit surprising that it took us this long to get to it… but what wasn’t surprising is that just like everyone else in my life, he gave me unsolicited financial advice. which is not what i pay him for.  and it made me really agitated for a minute.  i got a little sassy. there may have been some eye rolling…

but then, back to the part that i do pay him for, he made me talk about it.

step 1 of the 12 step process is admitting you have a problem, and i’m really good at that. probably too good. at the crazy doctor this week, i realized that I AM STALLING. i’ll admit my wrongdoings up and down and all over town, but i use my transparency as a shield to draw attention away from the fact that i’m not actually doing anything (other than making my slightly more than minimum payments), and i’m not sure why.

i have netflix movies from april sitting on my credenza. 4 of them actually, and i can’t seem to get them to the mailbox. theoretically, i should just put them in my purse and drop them in the mail slot at work, but it just hasn’t happened. it’s the simplest thing, and somehow i can’t manage to pull the trigger. it’s the same thing with money. yes, cutting back and saving money to throw on the blazing inferno that is my debt is difficult. changing lifestyles and making sacrifices totally sucks dick. but you know what’s not difficult? opening an HSA, or transferring my high interest credit cards to lower rate cards, or taking out a home equity loan and using it to pay off my debt.

every time i get agitated and defensive about money, it’s when someone who loves me has given me a sound piece of advice that i am just unwilling to follow. i try to turn it around to make it like they’re the jerk for meddling in my affairs, but i’m the jerk for being stuck, for being unwilling to listen and try. maybe i will make some big changes in the new year, or when i’m not so busy, or when i get my tax return money… but i probably won’t.

the good dr. and i didn’t get far enough to figure out why the hell i’m shooting myself in the foot like this, or how to stop being so stubborn and pointless, but it felt like a significant breakthrough anyway.

tomorrow, i’m gonna mail back my netflix, and maybe call my insurance company about setting up an HSA. at some point i need to realize that if i’m really serious about getting rid of my debt, i have to do EVERYTHING i can. not just the things that are easy.

please tell me that i’m not the only person who gets stuck on stupid shit.





weekend pickthrough- everybody’s arrested edition!

20 06 2010

ok, maybe not everybody gets arrested… but a couple of people do, and some others SHOULD be arrested for crimes against humanity (i’m talking to you comic sans). this weekend picktrhough is dedicated almost entirely to all things ridiculous and terrible and worthy of scorn and mocking. so please, mock away!

if there was ever a celebriy arrest that i wanted to see happen, this is it. thank you universe for making it happen, and thank you onion for making all the right jokes.

my new favorite money blog, punch debt in the face, reminds us of how short the distance is between frugal and fruitcake.

comic sans isn’t just ugly, he’s kind of a dick. i’m going to make a bunch of new cooler fonts over here, and we’re gonna form a font gang and show comic sans where he can stick it (or at least make a lot of jokes about doin his mom).

nice work waterville, you’re in the news! (and, for the most hilarious porn heist to ever!)

will people never get tired of compiling websites of humanity’s greatest mistakes? let’s hope not.

ah yes, the marvelous and bizarre spoils of a mexican drug raid (can you say versace handgun?)

in a feat of unparalleled bravery, two dudes go into claire’s at the mall to see if they can find anything worth buying (for themselves).

i don’t remember the 90s being this ridiculous, but the huffington post shows me otherwise (i used to love the salt & peppa “shoop” video! now all i feel is shame).





blogging for dollars.

24 05 2010

after the big week with the wordpress deluge and just the general positive growth of my little blog egg over the last year, a friend recently posed the question: why aren’t you monetizing? first of all, i hate the word monetize. it’s like one of those jargony crap words that everyone throws around when they’re talking about “important internet stuff”. second of all, i hate advertising cluttering up my favorite blogs. it’s ugly and distracting. on the other hand… i do like money. i do need money. as a writer of a blog with the word “broke” in the title, don’t i have a personal responsibility to scrape every penny off the sidewalk that i can?

well, when i first started this project, i promised myself that i wasn’t going to try any funny business like paying for a domain name, or advertising, or trying to make money until i had been successfully operational for at least one year. i have a bad track record with blogs (and a lot of other things)… i get so excited about things for a minute, and then someone jangles some keys in front of my face, and i’m off and running in the opposite direction. the internet is a virtual (pun intended) graveyard of my abandoned writing projects, and i wanted to make sure that this wasn’t just another one night stand before i made any big (potentially expensive) moves. well, i’m not quite at the 1 year finish line yet, but it’s looking good. in short, the patient is still alive, and it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

but you know what, i have no fucking clue what comes next. how exactly do you take a blog to “the next level”, if you’re not ever sure what the next level is? i’m still really down on the idea of sidebar ads (primarily for aesthetic reasons) and according to copyblogger (one of the best blog resources out there), i probably wouldn’t make any money doing it anyway. so then what direction? do i try to figure out what the hell affiliate ads are (who wants to affiliate themselves with my financially inept ass)? do i try to sell ebooks where i speak in depth on the profundities of my financial ineptitude? do i try to get famous and get talking gigs where i can tell other people how they too can be profoundly financially inept? but seriously, at the end of the day, do i actually have anything worth monetizing?

whether i do or not, i feel like dream of making a living off of blogging is roughly akin to wanting to grow up to be a rockstar or an astronaut. sure, somebody gets to have that job… but the odds are less than stellar for big time success. the truth is that i love this. i don’t think i’d get so little sleep for something i was kind of meh about, and i’m scared about the possibility of losing that love in the process of trying to spin straw into gold. what happens if i try and make money and it doesn’t work? would that failure suck the joy out of the writing, and ruin the whole affair?

for now, i think i’m going to hold off with the blogging for cash schemes. although i can’t promise that there won’t be a few subtle surprise changes headed your way this summer. but if any of my seasoned blog peeps out there have some light to shed on the subject, it would be most sincerely appreciated. i have much to learn, and i’m just going to sit quietly right here until i’m well educated enough not to tear the whole system down in the process.





the shame of the parental hand out.

9 04 2010

i am one of 5 children (all girls in fact). growing up, this meant hardcore hand-me downs, crowded bathrooms, that my guidance counselor didn’t know my name (4 of us were in high school at the same time), and that when i graduated from high school (save for birthday gifts and helping pay for college), the hand-out money completely dried up. when you have that many kids, being both equitable and economical is tantamount. which isn’t to say that my parents are not loving and generous people.  it just means that my mom hasn’t slipped me a twenty since i was 17, and i’m ok with that. at this point in my life, i think it would actually be really weird and awkward.

and speaking of weird and awkward, here come the future in-laws! actually, i really love them. when i was married before, i always used to fantasize that my current in-laws were actually my now future in-laws (um… still sleep deprived- does that make sense?).  anyway, they’re great, but they are professional level money slippers. last week, we took them to po’ boys and pickles to thank them for being generally wonderful and generous of both their time and their money while we’ve been fixing up the ole condo (future-dad built us the most amazing dvd shelf). because when you really love someone, you say it with sticky toffee pudding.  anyhow, we basically had to wrestle them to the ground just to get them to let us pay. but THEN, they slipped the boyfriend a couple of twenties while i was in the bathroom! no matter what we do to try and show our gratitude, they immediately undo it as soon as i leave the room (they boyfriend is weak when it comes to free money).

so here’s today’s major dilemma: as you might already know, we need to materialize $3750 by june 1st to pay for our share of a new roof. we have the money, but it seriously depletes our savings cushion in a way that is both scary and uncomfortable. so obviously, we’re a bit stressed about it. the future-rents know about this, and of course at easter dinner…. out comes the checkbook. had there not been a giant ham there, i would have strongly considered throwing myself across the table to knock it out of their hands.  in hindsight, ham pants would have probably been a better option than taking the cash. it’s not enough to cover the whole thing, but it makes a SERIOUS DENT. which is great, but i feel really terrible about taking it, especially when i know we can afford to pay for it on our own. in my head, we’re grown-ups and we should sort out our financial issues together- not together with his parents.  there’s no way in hell that i can convince him to give it back. so now what? how do i say thank you? how do i not feel like i will always owe them something? how do i get them to stop!? am i being a complete spaz? should i just take the money and not give it another thought?