12 minutes, 2 am.

24 05 2010

my sleep schedule is all f-ed up. i slept for 12 hours last night, and now it’s almost 2 am, and i’m still not sleeping- despite needing to be at work and functional in a mere 6 hours. so i thought i’d take this last 12 minutes before the clock strikes 2 to poop out a quickie post- just to say that i did. i present to you, my weekend in spending- in 12 minutes or less (or possibly slightly more):

there was a 40% off everything sale at the gap outlet in freeport. i erroneously assumed it would be better than the old navy 30% off everything sale… what i learned is that they didn’t have much to offer in the markdown area, and everything else was near regular gap prices. despite the angel voice whispering in my ear “that’s how they get you!”, the devil voice still spent $80 on a pair of jeans, a dress, a sweater, and a pair of shorts. well, it is supposed to be 84 degrees on tuesday…

j crew on the other hand had a decent sale rack that was take an additional 30% off all markdowns. score. bought a fat concealing flowy top and and a shiny gold belt that i decided couldn’t possibly be leather… but probably is. feeling heavy vegetarian guilt, but too attached to belt to find out for sure.

wacky mac should have been free at shaw’s this week… except that i couldn’t find it anywhere. is there no wacky mac in the state of maine, or am i just looking in the wrong place?! *seethes with frustration* no major grocery deals scored this week.

i fully attempted to buy a $3.97 copy of maid in manhattan at bullmoose today, but shame was too great. me being uncool isn’t really a secret, but bullmoose always makes me wish i was hipper than i am. or at least wish that walmart carried $3.97 copies of maid in manhattan.

now that i’ve learned that dairy queen has butterscotch dip, it was another 2-DQ weekend. i’ve been to every DQ in the area at least once, and i’ve noticed that the pricing is not standard. westbrook DQ- i don’t care if you do have a brazier (your fries suck BTW), time to nudge those ice cream prices DOWN. the topsham dairy queen is making you look bad.





rich207

28 04 2010

the boyfriend actually said something funny today (this is rare). this evening, as we were discussing our plans for the weekend, i said that on sunday i was planning on doing laundry and “official blog business” all day sunday. and he responded, “that’s cool, i was planning on working on my blog all day too.” when i asked him what his blog was about, he responded “it’s called rich207, and i’m going to write about all the really expensive stuff i’m going to buy.”

for a guy who deeply loves fart jokes, this is really A+ material.  also, it also got me thinking about how hilarious it would be to have an alternate universe blog called rich207, and what kind  of jazz would be featured on said website.  well, if i were debtless and looking to spend my surplus cash on local tomfoolery… here’s pretty much what it would look like:

if you’re looking for stupid-amazing antique jewelry, stonehome estate jewelry on exchange is the place to go. and when it comes to high class baubles, the more ludicrous and unnecessary, the better. try on this truly unbelievable platinum, gold and diamond jockey brooch for a mere $3,500. you’d have to return 23,333 empty carlo rossi bottles (@ $.15 each) for that kind of scratch.

i make do with cheap polyester knock offs at forever21 because i have to. but if i had walking around money that i was actually allowed to walk around with, i’d be heading my ass over to the black parrot on middle street for easily the best looking/most interesting/smartest higher-end clothing in town (sorry helene m., if i have to see one more precious pair of tory burch flats- i’m gonna commit homicide). watch me elude the police in this fully hot thunder & lightning dress by risto for $655.  that’s a scant 43 $15 back-alley handjobs (let alone how quick you’d work it off  you upgraded to BJs!)!

after all the spending, i might need to sit down for a while. possibly in my new womb chair with ottoman from addo novo on congress. there’s actually a catalog called design within reach that has the same chair. since when is $3793 “in reach” for anyone? this rich207 bullshit is starting to make me agitated… that’s 222 hours humpin the stripper pole (state average for exotic dancers is $17.06/hr) to pay for one chair. what if need a set?

while i’m there, i might as well just wander upstairs and throw down for a little downtown real estate. wow, $469,500 for a 1,500 SF uber-modern congress street loft? a giveaway! why that’s only 18,780 pints of blood plasma (they have a variable scale from $15-$30 so i thought that $25 was a good middle ground) at the portland biologicals in lewiston. at the maximum 2 pints a week, you’d be paid off completely in a short 180.6 years!

conclusion= rich207 is for assholes, and they can stay in their parallel asshole universe.





minty fresh.

20 04 2010

it’s freaky sometimes how the posting stars align. this weekend i was going through an old all you, and i ripped out an article about a free budgeting website called mint.com. then of course there was yesterday’s meltdown about how out of control my spending has been lately. then this morning, i read an article on mashable about how mint.com is now offering expanded services. perhaps the universe is trying to tell me that it’s time to go for a minty test drive?

i decided to screw the research portion of the evening, and go straight to the sign up phase. oh, did i mention that it’s free? it actually felt really bad at first, entering in all my account numbers and passwords. i am aware that mint is a highly respected and secure site, but it’s still a little scary to think how much damage someone could do with all that info just hangin out in one place. but again, i decided to give the anxiety phase the finger and try to get to the good stuff. i was able to plug in both my credit cards, my bank account, and one of my two student loans (bummer that the lender for the larger of the two wasn’t available). i still haven’t sorted out importing my mortgage, but that’s more the fault of me using a small local bank (i do think it’s possible in time though).

regardless of the 2 unimportable  accounts, and the vague uneasiness about dishing out my data, everything was quite simple and smooth. it initially took a little finagling to make sure that all my checking account transactions were appropriately classified so they fell into the right categories.  although there’s a really nice function that lets you apply a classification across a group of transactions, and i found the whole setup to be super-intuitive.

now that mint knew all my secrets, what mysteries would be revealed?  well, as it turns out (as evidenced by the above pie chart), i actually spent more money on eating out this month than i did on my mortgage. those 5 pairs of shoes certainly put an unfortunate dent in there as well. even when i’m balancing my checkbook, even when i’m paying attention, i’m never quite vigilant enough to catch everything that flies through my accounts. i’ve been keeping an excel budget for YEARS that to me seemed fair and reasonable. but when mint made me set up a budget for coffee and movies and restaurants and clothes… it made me realize how insufficient and quasi-delusional my budget really is.  no wonder i was always short at the end of the month (always borrowing from the next paycheck down the line). shame!

because mint looks at all incoming deposits and expenditures and throws them automatically into budget buckets over the course of the month, i no longer need to waste time trying corral my finances into a woefully ineffective excel spreadsheet. instead, i can spend my energy monitoring my spending and trying to keep it under control.  i’m pretty positive that if i keep up with it, mint will keep me honest. it will now be entirely impossible for me to be in denial about where my money is really going. $38 on coffee- check. $235 on shoes- double check. all laid out beautifully in cheerfully colored pie charts and bar graphs.

the only feature i wasn’t particularly impressed with was the “ways to save” tab. really, it’s just a place to get online quotes for loans and credit cards and so on… i’m assuming that’s how they make their money. i know that i can get better rates on pretty much all of their offered services via local banks and credit unions, and i also know that it will be pretty easy for me to avoid that tab all together.

all in all, mint is a lot cooler than i thought it was going to be, and if you’re having a hard time getting your hands around your finances (and don’t mind giving out some personal data), it’s a must try. and no, they didn’t pay me to say that. as always, nobody pays me shit to do shit (except of course my actual employer). although also as always, i would love to whore out my opinion for cash. mint.com of all people should know at this point how much i need it.





stripping.

19 04 2010

so i read this really excellent article the other day about how to be a better photographer, which is weird because i don’t have any particular aspiration to be a photographer. yeah, i know that my blurry and poorly lit iphone photos totally blow, and i’m at peace with that. but what was great about the article was that it actually wasn’t about photography at all. it was about simplifying. the basic message being that all the high-tech gear in the world won’t make you a better photographer. her advice was to put everything away except your most basic camera, and just take as many pictures as you possibly can. strip away the distractions and reconnect with your craft.

well, i think it’s finally time for me to reconnect with my financial crap, i mean craft. lately i’ve been doing nothing. actually wait, i’ve been spending like a crazy person (i went to swap out a pair of shoes in the wrong size this weekend and accidentally ended up with yet another new pair. that’s 5 in the last 2 weeks for those of you who haven’t been paying attention), have more than an entire month of unclipped coupons,  skipped the last two baking days, and haven’t balanced my checkbook since 2009. SERIOUSLY NOT GOOD.

but before that, i was attempting to pull off every deal in town much to the detriment of both my wallet and my cabinet space.  i got burnt out and gave up. i got spring fever and i wanted new toys. at some point, i lost sight of the reason why i started this whole blog situation in the first place.

a quick assessment of the last 2 weeks of my checking account- i’ve spent $342.40 on eating and drinking out (oops), and i’m $413 in the hole for next month.  shit. shit. shit.

time to do the financial strip tease:

forget the pointless deals and baking days and hours spent on intricate schemes resulting in a freezer full of hotpockets (still fat FYI). remember the debt, the nest egg, and the new roof. it’s time to get back down to basics. i spent my hungover sweatpants sunday clipping and sorting my long neglected coupon stash (shamefully, many had already expired), and formulating an actual grocery list.  i decided to lay off hot pursuit of the uberdeal, and do something i haven’t done in a long time- just buy what i need. i planned five simple dinners, and some work food designed to prevent me from heading off to the coffee by design every day (after the last few weeks, my mayorship should be pretty much sealed). i used the coupons that i had, and even found an abandoned $10/$100 catalina at the register. $69 even (heh) split with the boyfriend, is only $4.50 over my weekly $30 budget, with no immediate reason to freak out and buy the whole world.

deep breath. keep going.

some pretty sweet shaw’s deals that i noticed while i was there:

pretty much all of the near east couscous & rice pilaf is $.99 right now.

tribe hummus is $1.99, and there’s (at least in falmouth) a $1/1 coupon blinker hanging out right there. i got 3 because apparently hummus lasts until july, and HELLO, $.99 hummus.

most of the kashi cereal is on sale for $2.49 this week, and if you still have any of the $1.50/1 from the vocalpoint healthy heart bonanza, $.99 fancy-pants cereal could be in your future.

mojo bars are on sale @ $.99 each, and there’s a recent mambo sprouts $1/3 coupon floating around there making them $.66 each. also, they’re fucking delicious.

there’s a tearpad (again, in falmouth) for free tomatoes when you buy 2 fresh express salad blends.

p.s. don’t look at that bag of doritos.





where’s candy finnigan when you need her?

6 04 2010

so, i read an article this morning entitled “6 signs you’re a shopaholic“.  now i’ve seen confessions of a shopaholic (meh). i’ve watched multiple episodes of intervention. so i figure that it’s going to be all like: sign #1– you hide your purchases from your loved ones.  or perhaps sign #3– you’re in complete financial ruin. going into this article, i was feeling exceptionally confident that i definitely was NOT a shopaholic. but now, i’m not so sure.

1. you spend more when you’re emotional. um, yeah. doesn’t everyone? i’m not exactly cleaning out the macy’s every time my boss and i have an awkward moment, but a really nice meal or a totally unnecessary pair of completely impractical shoes after a period of high stress or general bummed-outness is a beautiful thing. nice things feel good. so when exactly am i toeing the line between appropriate reward and blatant shopaholism?

2. your spending habits result in added stress. yes, every time i buy something that i really don’t need/can’t afford, it makes me feel a little guilty. yes, every time i get to the end of the month and realize that i don’t have any more $$$ to throw at my debt above the minimum payment, it makes me feel like a failure. but no, my apartment is not filled with bags of garments with the tags still on, my FICO score in the healthy 700s, and i haven’t dodged a creditor call since i was 19 (sorry columbia music house! 15 cds for $9.99 my ass!).

3. you’re a compulsive spender. check. once the dam breaks for me, it’s all over. if i choose to get one thing that i don’t need/can’t afford (usually both, see question #5), i am also simultaneously making a decision that i can have everything i want/can grab. 1 pair of full price pants at the gap usually equals $300 (or more) in new clothes.  i actually find that it’s easier for me to pretend i can have everything and let myself try things on. when i leave my brain open to the concept of buying, rarely do i ever find something so amazing that i can’t leave it behind. it’s the times when i tell myself that i can’t have anything, that i go apeshit and come home with a briefcase and 3 pairs of 4″ heels (true story).

4. you can’t live without plastic. this used to be true about me, although since the cards went into the freezer, i’ve definitely learned to live without them. that said, i still cheat a little with my gap card (i do it for the points!), but i always pay it off completely every month.  however, there is still something very seductive about credit that makes it hard for me to close my legs.  i always make sure that i have enough cash in my bank account to pay my bills, but if i want something additional and don’t have the actual real money, somehow i can always convince myself (see question #5) that i will have it next month, and that i’ll pay it off before interest even starts to think about accruing. do you know how many times that logic has turned out to be true? ZERO. yet i keep doing it. that’s seriously f-ed.

5. you’re constantly making excuses. guilty. actually, i’m the best excuse maker i know. everything from “i don’t want to  let that coupon expire” to ” i really need to start building a more professional wardrobe”.  i’m good at it because i can generally find a genuinely valid excuse to buy something. it’s not like “that top will look amazing one me when i finally get that boob job” or “my mom will really love these be-glittered gnome figurines”.   i’m smarter than that at least.  but the truth is that i’m a smooth talker, and if i want it, i can figure out a way to bring it home with a clear conscience. (until i actually get home and then the guilt settles in- see #2).

6. you’ve tried to control your spending in the past. hey wait! what if i’m trying to control my spending in the present? how exactly is that a bad thing? the best part was that their advice was “set up a budget”. um… so you mean “keep  trying to control your spending”? i’m confused!

so, do i have a problem? probably a little. i wouldn’t have $15,000 worth of revolving debt if i didn’t. but i also don’t think that candy and the intervention posse will be sending me off to detox anytime soon. i completed step one (admit you have a problem) a long time ago, and i’m making (slow but steady) progress. today’s little check-in however reminded me that i still have a long way to go.  maybe it’s time for some outpatient financial therapy?





powered up.

15 02 2010

well, after a promising start, i’ve certainly broken the seal on losing at gambling. so far:

$36 spent on scratch tickets- $28 won.  -$8

$25 spent online gambling- $0 won. -$25 and a whole bunch of ridiculous hassle.

next weekend is the foxwoods trip, but i figured i needed to knock another item off my list as february is rapidly coming to a close. in comes powerball. i mean- POWERBALL!! i bought 4 random pick numbers today at the scary 7-11 on washington ave (you know, the one where you can get sponch?), and now i guess i just wait until wednesday.

not very exciting at first, but then you stare at your ticket for a while and realize that the next jackpot is valued at $40,000,000. that’s some serious walkin around money. and you start to fantasize about what you would do if you won the whole pantload… sure i’d buy my mom a house, quit my job and go to medical school, go see the pyramids…  probably the same stuff that all lottery winners do. but then what?

i could trade in all my regular clothes and start lounging around in something a little more fabulous. (that is assuming that i can buy some sort of pill that makes me never have to go to the bathroom- because the logistics here aren’t working for me).

i could be driving one of these puppies (just like dolly in straight talk). although i should probably hire someone to teach me how to drive first.

i could try do buy a date with this guy. as long as he promises not to wear this. (orange turtleneck? really?)

hell, i could get myself some diamond studded brass knuckles and go apeshit. (ok, they’re diamonique- but i could commission that shit if i had 40 mil).

you?





weekend pickthrough- doing it myself edition

12 02 2010

the coolest DIY project i’ve seen in a long time.

in case you missed the “make your own conversation hearts” link from my way too long valentine’s post.

a big long list of people you should probably know. (they’re making it happen, why aren’t we?)

when stealing is actually a really good idea. (thanks for the tip emily!)

surprise! a lot of wine isn’t vegan/vegetarian.

holy circuit city batman! have you seen the pictures of the new big-ass goodwill being built in south portland?

if i was ballsier, i would dig through people’s recycling bins.

j. crew, i think we need to talk.

please stop pooping in the tub.

i think i would choose different stuff, but the lesson is still the same.