the chopping block.

19 11 2010

so after spending some time rolling around with tuesday’s therapy musings, i got to thinking about how i use shopping to ease my anxiety. any time i’m about to make a life change, or do something that is stressful to me, i make myself more comfortable by assuring that i am wearing an impeccable outfit. new job= new wardrobe every time, assuring that even if i do make more money at said job, i won’t actually ever get to see any of it.

as many of you know, i’m about to embark on yet another crazy performance opportunity in the form of the burlesque nutcracker.  generally, this would mean several hundred dollars in new lingerie and dancewear, but i’ve decided to try and fight the power. for the snowflake number, instead of getting this (which i really really want to the point where i’ve convinced myself that i NEED it), i will borrow something completely cute and serviceable from someone who was in the number last year. not mine, not perfect, but so far more painless than spending $68+ shipping on something that may or may not actually contain my boobs, and that i will likely never wear again.

well, as i’m thinking about the HUGE (and potentially) lingerie sacrifices that i’m about to make, it made me start thinking about what would happen if i lost my job or got sick and had to make some real sacrifices- what would  be the first to go?

1. as much as i hate to say it out loud, my $100 a month cell phone bill is LUDICROUS. goodbye iphone, hello virgin mobile pay as you go… could i get by with no phone at all?

2. goodybe dr. shrinkage. $300 a months for therapy is a lot. i find it hugely beneficial, but i could survive without it if it meant being able to make my mortgage payment.

3. my student loans are steadily shrinking, and i get to write off the interest every year on my taxes. but if i had to make some cuts, these guys speak the language of need based deferment, which is a blessing indeed.

4. those are the big ones (and we all know that i can’t stop paying my credit card bills- as much as i would like to), but then there’s all the little bits and pieces like neftlix ($17), my gym membership ($10), and non-specific spending money in general ($75). i don’t have cable, and i would have to be in pretty dire straits before i let anyone pry this internet connection out of my little clenched fists.

5. i can’t weed out things like medication, but i do think that if i was really proactive about it, i could axe my food budget down to $15 a week. although i might have to get over the ick factor of shopping at the save-a-lot or the dollar store. hey, at least i don’t eat meat.

still, as it turns out, i need at least $1,200 a month to get by. it’s a lot. it’s scary. it’s exactly why suze orman recommends 6 months worth of expenses in the bank for everyone.

is there anything you wouldn’t be willing to cut?





accepting exceptions.

28 07 2010

was i supposed to be on some sort of cash diet or something? it was sort of like i blacked out and woke up in a ditch and all my money was gone, except for the part where that didn’t happen. bring on the carelessness! my attempts to majorly rein in my spending this month somehow completely derailed this week as i proceeded to make exception after exception after exception…

exception #1: sister and her husband came to visit from albany. delicious barbecue dinner (split with the boyfriend) -$50

exception #2: sister’s visit ran concurrently with my niece’s 2nd birthday. dora the explorer microphone -$15

exception #3: accidental impulse purchase of coveted belt at target while buying dora microphone- $16

exception #4: purchased gas for friend who keeps hauling my ass home from dance class- $20

exception #5: bought a compilation of oldies on itunes to sing in the car with my little sister (she’s a living oldies encyclopedia)- $27

total damage: $128 (on top of the allotted $50 i spent on tomfoolery earlier in the week).

looking back on them all, only the belt (which i do love and have been stalking for many months) counts in my mind as a true foible. gas, gifts, and time spent with loved ones (especially loved ones who live 5 hours and 11 minutes away and never visit) hardly qualify as mistakes, so why do i feel so guilty about it? it’s roughly the same feeling that i get whenever i cheat on a diet:

i am only very slightly overweight. but, i remember what it feels like to weigh 25 lbs. less, and i miss those days with great desperation and self criticism that indicates that i will never be happy in my current skin. i even know how to lose weight (what i should eat, how much exercise). however, whenever the part about sacrifice and sucking it up rolls around… i fold like the foldiest folding chair that ever folded. out roll the excuses about how i’m going to start tomorrow, had a hard day, or how a few more calories won’t hurt. i am the motherfucking excuse master. somewhere in my stupid head (even though i think i want otherwise),  i know that i’m “not that fat”. i am normal and passable (acceptable even!) to most in a way that makes the urgency less um… urgent.

with money, i have a lot of debt, i have minimal savings (thank you stupid fucking roof), and i have a strong desire for financial freedom… but i also have enough income to pay my bills and go out on the town when i want to . as long as my bills are paid, i don’t HAVE to put any of that money toward my debt or my savings, and i don’t. there will always be an excuse to spend more and save less because i’m selfish and lazy and don’t want to give up any immediate quality of life- even if it means my quality of life will be infinitely better in the long run. i understand, but i don’t “get it”.

what is it about money and food (consumption!) that leave me so completely powerless and in a perpetual state of treading water? and furthermore, is there some sort of suze orman/jillian michaels hybrid (terrifying!) who will come to my house and scream at me to get real? i can see the problem so clearly, but the solution is nowhere to be found. it’s not as simple as “eat less” or “spend less”, that doesn’t work for me. but what will?