So, I think it was very possible that I almost had a minor little conniption today, while trying to make a decent filling dinner on $4 bucks, and I found myself digging through moldy onions. Yes, these were onions at a low-cost supermarket and they were moldy and all messed up. I wanted to make a simple bean dish, and having some freshly cut onions would make the dinner a little more savory, seeing as how I did not have any meat to go with it.
All of this has made me realize that with my budget this month, the money from not only my bf, but friends and family, there is absolutely no reason for me to have had to charge my gas on my cc, or be scrounging for onions at the local cheap foods mart. I am upset at myself, and my trusty budget journal will have to be used more thoroughly.
It seems like I do my budget and then there are a few days where I get off of the plan, and then it feels like I am only seeing a few days ahead. If I had been better thinking (and maybe I was better thinking, but just didn't really think honestly about how much food and gas cost?) I would have used the money I received from family and friends, and I would have bought more food at one time. bought necessities in advance, etc.
It may take me a few hours, but I am going to stand in line if needbe, and make sure I get all of the tp, paper towels, beans, etc., I will need for a month. I dislike being in this situation because I don't have to be. I feel like I could have planned better, cut back on some coffee purchases, etc. I also ate some of those 99 cent burger deals, and I need to cut back on them....especially considering that I can get a large can of beans for 2 bucks, and coupled with an onion, some tomato, and seasonings and rice, that can be a very filling dinner.
The bill I talked about yesterday called me after I sent them an email and corrected their error. I am pretty happy about that and I feel better about giving them my card information again.
I am looking forward to some R&R this weekend, as well as going over my budget, paying bills, and even trying the envelope thing that people suggested---where I can put food money in one envelope, money for toiletries in another, etc. Maybe that will help me to stick to my budget on certain things.
Archive for October, 2009
So, I think it was very possible that I almost had a minor little conniption today, while trying to make a decent filling dinner on $4 bucks, and I found myself digging through moldy onions. Yes, these were onions at a low-cost supermarket and they were moldy and all messed up. I wanted to make a simple bean dish, and having some freshly cut onions would make the dinner a little more savory, seeing as how I did not have any meat to go with it.
So while the title is a bit unique, I couldn't find any correlation with my blog and the standard lions and tigers and bears! oh my! line. So, this sounded a bit funnier and more on point.
I asked my bf for more money and he helped me out. The extra gas expense wasn't planned, and it was frustrating trying figure out how much I have to spend on gas, on food, etc. Tomorrow is pay day for him, so it is a good day for me as well...it means he can buy some food and I can relax about the whole having enough issue. Mind you, we aren't starving. It is more along the lines of having rice and veggies and nothing to go with it. Which, in a lot of countries, including our own, is still a luxury, and I have been thinking more and more about how blessed I am.
I have also been getting more and more anxious about the homeless issue as I have been through it before, I don't have much savings except for my 401k, and well, my anxiety sometimes tries to creep up at times. Sigh. I have been finding myself a bit closer to crying than usual, and I have just chalked it up to hormonal fluctuations.
I have been wanting to do more Halloween activities, but with my budget, no can do on the costume or fun treats.
I am so looking foward to buying cleaning stuff and staples for the pantry this weekend. That and cleaning and maybe catching a movie on tv is what I am looking forward to.
I have been taking the comments and advice you all have given me to heart. With my bf, I can honestly say that he has done so much more for me than other men I dated who may have made 4x what he did. A lot of the guys I dated before judged me for being on a budget, or disregarded how much less I make, and how the $20 spent here and there is a much bigger deal for me than it is for them. I do, at times, find myself sad about past boyfriends and their judgements. It is irritating in some ways because a few of them were very well off, but had no real concept of working hard, and I think they saw me as being less of a person because my family was homeless and because I came from poverty, among other things.
Instead of being too eager to take care of others, I am realizing that at times, I may need help. I feel like now is a time in my life where I need my friends and this is very different from maybe a span of over 10 years where I was always trying to help everyone else.
So, I had some unexpected expenses this week---I needed extra gas and that messed up my plans for my budget until pay day. It sort of sucks because I hate feeling like I am scrambling for money.
I also feel bad because I like to keep food in my refrigerator for snacking or just regular meals and for today there is just enough left overs for dinner for my bf, but nothing to take for lunch the next day, and no time to defrost the meat I have in the freezer, as I thought the food would last a bit longer.
I will cook again tomorrow, and that should last a couple of days at least. I am, as usual, kicking myself for not planning the month out better. I should have set aside more money for general necessities so that while I wouldn't have money for excess things, I wouldn't be going through this whole weird breakfast and lunch combinations that are not the healthiest for me.
I am almost filled with glee when I think about shopping for things like toilet paper and paper towels and deodorant. Joy!! I am also seriously going to buy a lot of pantry staples so that even when money is short, I will always have a good food option available. AND, I am going to set a bit of my food money aside to keep for Thanksgiving!
My bf has been helping me more, and I really appreciate that. It has been hard for me to ask for help at times, because I worry about how it may be affecting him. I need to stop doing that, and just allow him to help me when he offers.
I spoke with the customer service rep for the account that is automatically debited per month. They seem a lot more helpful with trying to correct the issue than the customer service reps that do the automatic calling. I owe them less than $20, and they have been calling me day and night! Now don't get me wrong, $20 is a good amount and it is the principal of the matter, I understand, but why call me at 8am on the weekend? Why call me just a few minutes before 9pm at night? Sigh. My friends say I should just pay the balance (the correct balance, of course), and just be done with them. I am seriously leaning towards that.
I need to take better care of myself. I see how people age when they are stressed or work too hard and don't eat the best foods, and I worry about that for myself. I did that whole Real Age thing, and well, it put me at least 10 years older than my chronological age. Not good.
I hope that everyone is doing good and I thank you and appreciate all of the advice you all have given me.
So, I have a bill that I have automatically debited from my checking account. I placed this particular account on hold, so that I am not charged the full amount of the program.
Well, with the whole cc number change issue, the program needs me to update the information. BUT, they are charging me a higher rate than the hold. I don't have the money in my budget to pay this higher amount, and then wait for a refund from them. The customer rep (who called me), didn't understand the error, and started making all of these notes and well, I just gave up at that point. I did send an email to another customer service rep as they seem more aware of the companies billing practices.
Would you wait until the bill is corrected before giving the new cc information? The true amount I owe is less than half of what the current bill is. I also distrust the customer service rep as he seemed to eager to not listen to what I was saying and re-confirm my address and write "notes". Sigh.
I am a bit stressed today as while my budget is doing ok (bf is giving me more money for food), my wardrobe is not, a good chunk of my clothes cannot be salvaged, and I am just stressed a bit about...impressions. I really have to step up both my appearance and my talents as I do not want the impression people have of me, to mimic the impressions that those same people have of those that they think of negatively. I know I am speaking a bit in code here, but I hope it makes sense. Upon some reflection, I realized that with all the stress I have been under, having the blahs, my wardrobe issues, my health issues, etc., my image is not as rosy as it used to be, and I need to change that ASAP.
Learned a new way to cook a common dish, so it is fast becoming one of my new favorites. With just a few of the savory seasons, such as tomato, onions, bell pepper, the flavor profile of a dish can change tremendously. It also makes it taste so much more homemade and fulfilling.
So, the title above can be something from an SNL skit, or a 60s song made famous by Diana Ross and reinvented by the old tv show China Beach.
In any case, it was the best title I could come up with. Right now I guess I am reflecting on things in my life, though I feel more like I am being introspective, but I think I already used that title.
It was a very weird weekend for me. A relative gave me some money, which I really needed, and yet, I feel weird about taking. I don't want to feel like a charity case, ya know?
I also realized that the minute I get paid, I am going to have to stock up on the basics--I already had the no deodorant fiasco that, while I had some deodorant, it just wasn't the best kind for me, so it left me scrambling to buy more the first thing in the morning. I find myself again in a similar situation, and trying to figure out where I can buy the basic toiletry item for the cheapest in my city. Sigh.
My clothes are looking pretty shabby right now, so I defitely need to clean up the good clothes I have. I got more clothes, and bought them in the largest size I remember wearing and low and behold, they still didn't fit. So yeah, kind of bummed about that.
I am having so many feelings right now. Things are kind of up and down with me and my bf, and I hope we can work through them. I feel like with all of the stress he is going through with his family, that when I discuss what I need from him in terms of his portion of the rent, etc., it just makes him more stressed out. And I worry about how he deals with that and all the things that entails.
I just have this huge fear of being an old cat lady (no offense to old cat ladies as it isn't a horrible thing to be older with a multitude of cats---it is moreso just my own personal issues with that imagery) and not having my own family and not being loved and all of that. I also worry about money in that I don't know if I will be able to afford in vitro fertilization or if I will have enough money to be able to adopt a child when I am older. So, yeah, the emotional rollercoaster is swirling all around, and no, it really isn't a rollercoaster of love.
My stomach is bothering me right now, so the idea of going for a long walk this week doesn't sound so appealing. I will have to start getting out and doing more exercise and I need to get away from the foods I have been eating, cause they are making me bloat like crazy.
I am feeling kind of anxious right now, and just think it is nerves and worry and stress. I have about $10 for food for this week, but I think that will be enough as I already made enough food to last hopefully for the rest of the day.
Today was one of those days where I would say that I had to dig deep down within myself and bite my tongue, but honestly, I was so tired and felt so down beaten that is was easier for me to just acquiesce.
I have come from sleeping on the floor of a person's 1 bedroom apartment (with other people, mind you) and having to make sure I shake out the roaches from my clothes before going to school (I am being very serious), to being able to visit other countries on my own, and seeing famous works of art. I dislike that because people focus on outer things that are not so important to me, I sometimes have certain people treat me in such a way that makes me feel like I am 12 years old all over again. I don't like having to conform to their beliefs, but part of me feels like I have no choice......some people will not accept that I know what I can do, if I do not conform to their image ideas.
I felt so brow beaten today that all I could really do is just be quiet and exasperated.
I am taking things in my life one step at a time. Things have been stressful for me lately in a few areas of my life, and I am just focusing on getting everything together---with my finances and health being at the top of the list. I am not bad off by any means, but I just don't have my usual zest.
So, yeah, today was just a bit tiring. I am really motivated about improving the areas in my life that are a little out of whack. I also realize that because I may be letting my finances affect my clothing, I am going to seriously work on that front and get things more together. I know the things that I am good at, and it is frustrating when other people think that I am not good at those things.
Things are better between me and my bf. I had felt a bit bad at first about the way we argued, but I held my ground and didn't backtrack from what I had said. And I think he really got where I was coming from. He has been helping a lot more and I appreciate that. He also made a comment yesterday that suggested he may want to be with me for the long haul. Of course, I may be seeing it through a female who really wants to be married and making babies type of lens (sorry, just being honest) and thinking that when he means future us, he means fuuuutttttuuuuururrrreeeee us, ya know? He could very well mean just right now, or maybe sometime soon. But I took his comment to mean the future and that meant a lot to me. I have a small place, but it is comfortable for the both of us, and if we work together, we can improve it a lot. I really do feel blessed to have the place I have, even though I realize I probably sound like such a curmudgeon when I complain about the upper class and their affect on my city. I know, me thinks I protest a bit too much at times. Sometimes, it is best to just sigh, get your mind off of the topic, and focus on things that bring you a bit more joy, rather than things that get the blood boiling.
Every day I am using my little calculator and figuring out what I can buy and what bill is due and all of that. I have been very resourceful with my food and have been having odd food combinations, but ya know what? I am full from breakfast to the time I get home in the evening, and that is what I am focusing on. When I have more money, then I can focus a bit more on being full off of healthier food, than what I am eating now.
I am very motivated, and I am very happy to be feeling that way.
So, I was going to discuss hurdles and getting over them and I decided to go with the title above.
A few days ago I felt totally stressed out and unsure of how I would be food for two weeks. I was quite grumpy.
Now, with the help of friends and family and watching my budget, I am doing ok. I am very, very tired, but feeling a lot better.
My bf has been contributing to our expenses, just not as much as previously discussed. We had a really good talk and he is helping me more. He even stopped that whole "We pay separately for our food mess" and is now buying food for the house. I like that, and I appreciate that, and he made a comment yesterday that let me know that he understands that while it is hard for him and what he is going through, that I need help as well.
I did give him some budgeting advice, but I have learned to back off about it. He is either going to follow that advice, or he isn't, ya know? But it isn't my responsibility.
I have also been using more brown rice in certain dishes and my lunches last A LOT longer hunger wise than when I used white rice. I still haven't been able to completely avoid pasta, but I try to add more green veggies to the dish to make it some semblance of being healthy.
Thanks everybody for the links and the advice about the pantry stuff. I am going to put it on my to do list to make more room on the shelving I have for food, and to toss more and more items that I just don't need or want or are using.
I am also going to ask a relative who has been offering help, for help, which is a hard thing for me to do. Mainly because of our past issues, it is hard for me to feel like, 100% I can depend on this person, so at times I feel a bit distanced.
I am also going to take maybe $20 from my upcoming paycheck, and put some of my nicer blouses that need ironing into the dry cleaners for a fresh spiffy-up. That way, I will always have a nice shirt on hand when needed.
Thank you everybody for your support, and thank you for listening to me, even when I ramble and go up and down like a roller coaster.
Well, one thing that I have learned recently, that I am going to hold myself to next month, is making sure that when I get paid, I buy EVERYTHING I will need for that month in advance! I cannot express how frustrating it is when I am doing the budget calculations again and again on my tiny little calculator, and realizing that I have to budget for a basic toiletry, and how that negatively affects my budget.
So, next month, I want to do something different, and stock up on certain food items....I want to stock up on multiple cans of beans and bags of rice. Right now, I usually buy only 2 or 3 cans of beans at the same time, and only 1 bag of rice at a time. Next month I want to double that. Just so that when the cupboard is a bit bare (a little bit like now), I will know that I always have enough food to last the remaining week or two.
I will also go back to my previous patterns, and buy all the toiletries I will need for the entire month, at the beginning of the month (I go through at least 1 bottle of hair stuff per month). I am also going to see about putting my money for washing clothes into a separate envelope so that I am never in the situation (as I am in now), where I have to weigh washing clothes, over buying food. While it is in no means a sob story, it is a bit embarassing.
My bf has been more helpful to me lately. He really changed his tune of each of us buying our own food, to offering to buy me food stuff that I need. I am going to start saying yes more. We talked yesterday, and the stuff with his family is really hard and stressing him out. I really feel for him because some of the stress his family puts on him isn't always appropriate, ya know? All I can do is just offer support and maybe different ways of interacting with the family for more positive results.
Things are ok, I am just a bit bummed about my coffee budget (see......shows how spoiled I am!) and how there really isn't room in my budget to be buying coffee made from a cafe (or even McDonald's---don't laugh, it really isn't all that bad). I hope to work on my coffee skills this week.
I will admit that I notice that the way I am acting now with my money, is very similar to how I was raised. We did the same thing of being over excited when first getting money at the beginning of the month and eating nicer food, to eating the left over animal parts (it sounds gross, but hey, it is true---those parts of the animal were cheaper because people don't like to use them....and why do we eat ox tails, but not any other part of the ox??) at the end of the month and having the cupboards be bare. I really don't like that I am repeating that, so I want to work on that. I also want to state that while I have cabinet space, I don't have much, it is cluttered, and there is no semblance of a true pantry to store food like when I was a kid. The cabinets are directly over the stove, so I worry about putting cans there that may get too hot from all of the cooking. Suggestions are welcomed.
Hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for taking the time to read my little musings.
So, today I went grocery shopping as usual. I shop at a local super cheap market (the kind where people warn you to not buy the meat because of concerns about...ahem....expiration date and handling) and I have noticed that the clientele appears to have changed. You used to have a parking lot full of only very old cars, some SUVs and minivans, and lots of families and people on fixed incomes. But lately, I am seeing the hybrids and volvo's slowly start to litter the lot. I see people in line who look like they are a bit uncomfortable. I can imagine that if you are used to only shopping at Wholefood's or Safeway, you would be used to a certain look to things, and this lower budget super market doesn't really have that.
I can't lie and say that I don't wish I had a budget to at least partly shop at Wholefood's (there are some things I refuse to pay more for just because of the location, such as cereal, toiletries, etc.), and then shop for other ends at more lower priced stores. I miss the availability of certain types of goodies like different cheeses and dairy options at the lower priced store.
I also hate the extreme amount of processed "food" found at the lower end supermarket.
Let me preface this by saying that I come from a low-income family where kool-aid was the norm, and I learned to not complain about eating the same thing for 3 days in a row--heck, that is now how I cook! But I am really disgusted in some ways by the products that are offered, and almost pushed on people who are low-income.
I have refused to buy the fried noodles that everyone knows from college, that are like, 10 pks for 1 dollar. To me, they are fried, full of fat and calories, and even more importantly, chock full of sodium. I refuse to eat that if I can at all avoid it. But I almost always see a family with a whole carton of it in their shopping cart.
Now, if that is all I see in their cart, then I am sad, because maybe they can't buy anything else. And I get sad by the families that spend over 100 bucks in one shopping trip, an have tons of fried noodles, fruit punch that is sooooo fake (i.e., not even 1 percent of fruit juice), that you can literally taste just sugar, chemicals, and dyes, the 1 dollar budget meals, and just everything is super processed. I am not mad at them, it just makes me sad. I also realize that when you are broke, and trying to feed a lot of mouths, and may not have good cooking skills, you are going to focus on price per portion as your main goal.
I was upset today when I was shopping and I saw an overweight mom in the store just standing (not actually picking anything up to buy, but literally standing and leaning on a display while he child sat on part of the display), and talking loud on her cell phone. I wasn't try to eavesdrop, but she was loud enough for me to hear that she is going to go back to school (a good thing), because she doesn't like the jobs she has been getting. She also mentioned something about if the doctor tells her she is able to go back to work, she will just say that she is in school and can't work and something about how she gets money for transportation, etc. She was cursing very loud (I almost used slang right there, but stopped), and it was just...upsetting. I come from a family on welfare, so when people act in such a way, it makes it hard for people who haven't experienced such poverty to be sympathetic. Often, I have to be the counter voice to people who make negative comments about those on welfare.
I was reading a book about eating healthy and I really liked it, except at the very end where the author made a comment about there being a low level of people that are actually in poverty in America (wrong!!), and that he sees a family buy soda versus just drinking water. For one, that is just super elitist (and I say this as a person who is a college grad hoping to get her Master's one day), and does everyone ONLY drink water in their lives? Why not comment on the bigger issue---fresh or even orange juice from concentrate is usually $2.00 or more per half-gallon. Many neighborhood corner stores double that amount easily.Stores are now selling 3 1-liters of soda for $1!!! I don't make soda a routine part of my diet, but I admitted that was a good deal, especially on special occasions or when having company, etc.
I am torn because I have been where the people I see with the fried noodles have been. I often have to fight that part of myself, as well, as sometimes I buy day old stuff just to save a buck, when maybe it isn't the healthiest thing to do. I am also upset at those who have never been in such a situation, and make ridiculous comments about those with a $12,000 a year income should forego meat altogether, if they cannot buy it organically. Grrrrrrrrrr. I often have little words with my friends when I think I am doing a good thing by letting them know of a great deal on a healthy lean protein, and they reply that they only eat organic meat.
I really hope that there can be an increase is healthy foods for all neighborhoods....Wholefoods shouldn't be something that people from all incomes aren't able to experience.
I know that I have been sounding kind of funky lately in my entries(and not in the George Clinton sense), and I am sorry if anyone has been a bit bummed out by them. I am not always in this kind of mood, just lately, it seems.
I am looking at trying to be as resourceful as possible, buying things that are only absolutely necessary, and trying to make more time for me. I also find that blogging and journaling help immensely...there is the fact that on a daily basis, while I have a lot of friends and some family and a loving boyfriend, I don't really have people I can talk to about things I see or encounter on a daily basis. I just don't want them to fear talking to me for fear that it will just be wah wah wah, so I don't call them as often as I should.
I have been thinking of my finances, and while it is true that I don't have a decent emergency savings, and have a good amount of debt, it is also true that my 401k is almost back at the level it was before the recession (yay!!!), my bills are slowly, but surely being paid off, with two large bills being paid off within a year. Yay!! I have a roof over my head, some nice clothes I can always hand wash or dry clean to keep them in shape, and my car, which takes very good care of me (love you girlie!!), and even though I may have a big appetite, I am nowhere near starving.
Some goals I have for myself (finances wise) is to get my emergency savings up to at least $10,000-$12,000 (about 3-4 months of expenses). If I had a year's worth of living expenses, I would probably do cartwheels, I kidd you not.
I really want to learn how to play in the stock market....I have always wanted to know how to read the investment figures and whatnot, but never learned. I would really like to learn how to read that. The most I do now is listen to financial shows and keep an eye on the dow, and routinely check my 401k. My investment level is moderately aggressive, so maybe I should go up one level as I have about 30 more years before nearing retirement age.
I also want to own a home by age 40. I know that means I will have to get my credit rating super duper high, and try and get over $25,000 in savings.
I know someone who has a home, and she is always this negative kind of vibe (you guys think I am negative, HA!) no matter what the topic...it seems like nothing makes her happy, there is no joy in anything, even spending time with family, or owning her own home. I don't want to be like that. If I owned my own home, I would want to have trees or lots of foliage and greens and I would want to try and at least be able to grow some kind of veggie or fruit, ya know?
I want to visit some Asian and Latino countries in my life time. I want to view more of our country and how people live. I want to have the joy of taking a train in another country, or flying across the atlantic (?) to visit lands far away. I can't explain how much, to me, going to a country such as China or Japan, would help to sort of undue a lot of the negative stuff growing up.....it is hard to explain what I would feel, but it would be a very cathartic and healing process I think.
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and encouragement. Things seem better between me and my bf. I think that maybe what I said just needed to be said? I am also being more understanding that there are some aspects of the family situation that are more stressful than maybe I am admitting, and I am being mindful of that.
So, today so far, has not been so good.
My bf came through and gave me the money that I asked for. The only problem came when it was time for him to give me the money, he made a comment about not expecting anything else from this check.
Now, in reality, I know he was just trying to say that he can't give any more money until he gets paid again. However, the way it came across was like I shouldn't expect anything else, and he also made a comment about us buying our own food. That upset me, because I spent so much of my money feeding US for the first half of the month, and now he is saying we just have to fend for ourselves. Sigh. He sometimes acts as if I enjoy spending money on food, and that I may be over-spending on food. He doesn't cook, so he may not know how much a week of groceries cost, even when I do super low budget, AND he doesn't take into account that when I cook, I try to make multiple portions as we both have big appetites (him in particular).
I also feel a bit weird because he said that he wanted to buy me a certain item and that we would go and do it this weekend. So, when he said what he said today, it is like he forgot what he had previously promised. And for the record, I very, very, very rarely get gifts or ask for gifts from my bf, but I have bought him things that he may have needed, from time to time.
So, needless to say I said a lot of things and probably not in the nicest tone. He, as usual, got very quiet and didn't say much, other than he is under a lot of stress and has a lot of things going on right now and that what I was saying was only adding to the stress. I tried to tell him that I don't want to be added stress, but there are things that I need. There was also the silent issue that he spent a good amount of his check on something that is more fun related. I want him to be happy and I have no say over what he buys, and I am encouraging of him taking care of himself while dealing with the stress. What he buys is his right and business. I did tell him that what I am asking for is helping the both of us, and that I haven't been spending my money on things like that. I feel like I am worrying about how to feed myself and us, and he is off buying fun things.
So, I have been doing my budget diligently, and bought a few grocery food items----thinking always of how many servings per package, how much per serving, and then calculating how I can eat so many portions as breakfast or lunch, etc. I think I can make it, but I already fear that I will have to use the little bit of available credit I have on my cc card. Also, there is the issue of how much it will cost when I see my relative later this month. Sigh.
I feel guilty for stressing out my bf, as he is going through a tremendous amount of pressure and stress right now (family member is ill), but I also feel like there are some things missing in our relationship, and I don't ask for much, really, but it just seems to be getting to a point where things aren't balanced.
This whole process makes me feel like maybe I have been too giving at times. I saw Bridezillas yesterday, and I am sorry to say, but I couldn't understand why these men were marrying these women?!? The women in the show were very bossy and nagging and I felt sorry for the guys. One bridezillas even gave her bridesmaid cough syrup without the bridesmaid knowing it (that could have been sooo bad, physical reaction wise) because she felt the bridesmaid's coughing was unwanted at the wedding. Sigh. I feel like I am helping so much, and though I don't always request flowers and candy, I do want to feel like I am special. I know that me and my bf love and care for each other, I just don't know if I should wait and see if things get better with my bf, or discuss w/ my bf if he can really handle a relationship at this time.
I thank everyone for their comments, as they really do help me. I want to also let people know that though at times my writing my seem very intense and I may seem very forlorn, this is an avenue for me to be able to express my thoughts and feelings and just, well, vent. Sometimes a good nap or a good night's sleep gives me a different perspective on things. I know that at time my entries may seem more bleak than the reality of the situation.
Growing up, I noticed that society and the various women around me all reinforced the idea of self-worth and how it pertains to money. If a man spent a lot of money on you, that was a good thing. If he did not, then it was inferred that you should 1) not date him or 2) there was something wrong with your value.
I never believed in either concept, and I made it a point to be very independent when I dated and in my relationships. I made it a practice to go dutch most of the times, or we would switch from my paying for a date or the guy paying for a date, or we would pay portions of the expenses of the date (he would pay for the food, I would pay for the movie tickets).
I have noticed (as I invariably do when times get tougher financially) many female friends that I have that are insistent about the man paying...almost to the point of being what I would consider a bit too focused on obtaining something from the guy. Call it whatever you will.
But as much as I don't really agree with that, I do have to comment that 1) the ladies seem well fed and well taken care of by their dates and 2) I find that I often give more financially in my relationships---many of which the man earned more income than I did, and sometimes that makes me wonder.
As a feminist, I am torn by what I see. On one hand I can imagine how hard it is for a guy to constantly pay for dinners, for someone he may never end up in a relationship with, and there is also the notion of how society labels image and beauty and value (i.e., super models tend to have very rich boyfriends or husbands)--if you are deemed more desirable, then you may get treated a certain way when it comes to finances. When you are not considered as such, you may not have the people willing to treat you in such a fashion.
Is there an aspect to appearance and value and worth in our society that does impact the day to day finances? What is the female (or male---I am open to everyone's ideas) perspective of the topic?
So, I find myself relaxing at home on a Friday night, watching HGTVs Property Virgins, and getting a little misty eyed.
I do agree with a lot of advice I have received on here.....I can make a budget that is full of veggies---I just have to make my palate stop craving the card heavy foods I am so used to having. Once I get more money for food, I plan on heading for some yummy, crunchy veggies and chicken.
The tv show is making me long for my own home one day when I have a family. I worry about that happening...my goal is to have my own home by age 40...so I have got some years ahead of me to improve my credit and save up.
Seeing the couples on the show being able to talk about money and what they want and what they are able to pay per month got me a little misty eyed----not very, but it made me have a bit of worries. I don't think my bf is ready for that kind of thing, and it is hard for me to talk about my house dreams when he is trying to get back on his feet.
I am paying down debt and I know that in a little over 2 years, I will have paid off all (or most of) my debt, so I just need to be patient. It is somewhat hard at times to not worry about things, such as just having a regular life, owning my own home, having babies, a minivan, that kinda thing.
My bf got paid so I want to talk to him asap about the budget. I kept trying to hint to him what we are eating for dinner....as a way of saying "Hey, it isn't that much", but, I don't think he knew what I was saying. He often won't discuss his budget for a day or two after he gets paid, and I need him to be able to discuss it asap. I am almost running out of toiletries and I need to buy some asap, but the checking account has less than 10 bucks in it.
I do realize that if me and my bf were to ever decide to buy our own home, this whole waiting on the budget thing just wouldn't do. I would need things to be very organized and scheduled.
I looked in the freezer and I have some protein and some veggies....not sure if I have enough to last two weeks, but definitely enough to last a week...for sure.
My relative wants to give me money to be able to afford the expense of when I go visit them. I feel odd about accepting that, and I don't want to, even though I do end up spending usually around $20 bucks at least when I visit (on gas and toll and welcome stuff and beverages and food).
Me and my bf are supposed to clean tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that. The design concepts on tv really empower me to think positively about managing my issue with trying to keep things that are old and I no longer use. I know that it doesn't make sense, but I think I have a hard time letting things go, because when I was younger my family lost over half of our possessions when we became homeless. I know that keeping a plastic cup is weird, but I keep thinking that I may need it later. I am really working on that, and have come a long way in being able to discard more things than previously.
I saw someone today that I know and I noticed that while their clothes were clean, it looked like there were some set in stains in the clothing. I realized that it gave them a certain look, and I realize that I have to change that myself. I am kicking myself because over a year ago I could whip out my cc and get some much needed blouses, now I am trying to just figure out how to buy some food I have a craving for. I also realize that I am nowhere near starving...I do have savings I could use if I so choose or if I were truly hungry. I am going to try as best as possible to avoid doing that. I am also going to tell my bf how much money is left over for food, and see if he would be willing to give more than I previously asked him for.
So, I have been really having this strong desire to eat ultra healthy. I have been devouring (punn intended) recipes for food and whatnot.
With my budget, my explorations into cooking are a bit more restricted, as I don't want to make something that tastes horrible, and it ends up being thrown out or (more likely), spoiling in the fridge.
So, my food adventurism is a bit tamed at the moment. I have been reading a lot online about a certain way of eating that I SOOOOOO want to do, but dang it, there is no money in the budget for it. Ugh.
I thank people for their recommendations about the pasta. I really want to avoid pasta and bread, but it looks like I am going to have to eat these things if I want to stay within budget AND be full. Ugh.
I now understand why celebrities can stay so slim....if I had enough money to have freshly prepared salads and whatnot, I would be sooooo much healthier!!!
I also would love to attend one of those healthy retreat places, where you have a jump start on eating healthier.
So, every day I have been crunching the numbers (it appears I should have been doing this more often!), and it seems that I will have $22 remaining for food for the rest of the month for 2 people. Hmm.
Now, I have rice, veggies, and some protein. The protein I have I think, could last a week, in terms of dinners.
The rice, I think, total, could last the remaining two weeks.
I know that only in America could I say this, but I think my budget is making me fat. Needless to say that my focusing on price and fullness factor per serving, versus nutritional benefits, has left me a bit larger than previously. I was shocked to learn that I somehow gained 7 lbs in 1 month! Yikes! Now because of the doctor stuff, it could be retaining water, etc. Sigh. I am not a happy camper about that.
My bf made a good dinner last night and I really appreciate it. It was enough for dinner, without any left overs, so I ended up buying my breakfast and lunch today. I hate spending money because of poor planning (in this case i was too tired to cook anything and wanted to leave enough food so that my bf could have something to eat for breakfast). So, I scoured the aisles of a local mini-mart (no supermarkets are open near my job in the a.m) and ended up finding something that will keep me somewhat full for two meals, with a total cost of $4.30 cents. Now, is it the healthiest option? Yes, and no. There are a lot of carbs, but also a good amount of protein....it is just missing some veggies, and is probably sky high in preservaties, sodium, and fat. Sigh.
I was shopping the other day, and I really just wanted to buy stuff for a salad---lettuce, chicken, maybe a little cheese. Not much. But even with the price tag for those items, I was thinking more about how much meat I could buy that could be used for a meal that has at least 4 servings.....I try to cook food that can last at least 2 days, with 4 servings. My bf and I are very hearty eaters, so having 1 hot pocket for lunch just isn't going to do it.
On another note, my shoes have been...well....apalling lately. I have a pair of shoes that go well with my dressier clothes, but they are so worn out that I have to make sure not to let people see the bottoms of them. My bf wants to get me shoes, regardless of the cost. It is hard for me to just automatically say yes, cause I know how hard it is for him to manage his budget. But, I agreed to get the shoes, provided that all of the other bills are paid.
This budget thing and eating what I am eating is making me a bit irritable, but, all I can do is just try to stay on track as best as possible, and avoid, at any cost, going into my savings.
On a positive note, my 401k is rebounding and climbing higher and higher to being the amount it was before the recession. Woo hoo!!
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about how I have been feeling about my budget, my debt, my spending, and everything that involves.
It is weird that now that I make more money than I did as a younger person, I am feeling a bit more stressed overall about money and what a middle class income really means and represents.
When I was younger, I was poor. Poor in that kind of way where the other kids pick on you because you have only one new outfit for the entire school year, and most of your clothes were sewn and re-sewn again and again. Yet, I remember wishing I had a lot of things....like clothes, or a certain look, but I don't remember being upset about being poor.
I think that I just accepted how things were as a survival mechanism. I learned to not ask a lot of questions, because, well, I think the answers would just make me upset, to be honest. Now that I know why my family went down the road they went, I do find that I have some anger at my parents for some of the choices they made. I do love them dearly, and in a weird way, part of me does not want to make their same mistakes. It does not mean I don't respect or love them, I do, and I miss them every day. But I don't want to have that kind of lifestyle.
I feel like now, as I watch my neighborhood change and get more affluent, and I am torn between buying my favorite cheese, or focusing on what else I could buy for that $4 pricetag that would last longer, I get a bit more...irritated. I can blame no one buy myself for my debt, and maybe it is anger at myself that I am feeling, but projecting outwards?
Part of me wonders if how I am feeling now is in part to what I felt when I didn't have control over money as a child, and how I feel that that upbringing shaped some of my spending habits. I will admit that I was not really taught well about money----there was just something in me from a young age that made me hoarde whatever birthday money I got. I guess the pattern I learned from my parents was not about saving, but spending what you had, eating well at the beginning of the month, and then eating the cheaper cuts of meat at the end of the month.
Being poor, I think, does things to you, especially when you don't have a supportive environment (I went to upper income schools....got a great education, but received a lot of judgment and ostracizing about being poor, among other things).
I am constantly calculating my budget on a daily basis and figuring out how much money I have to buy deodorant, etc. Today, I needed to buy some toiletries, and found that a local store had what I needed, at a price that is hard to find in the city limits, but I stopped myself from buying it because I know that store takes coupons, so I will make another trip with my coupon to get a bit of a discount.
I am also a bit upset because I wanted to buy some lettuce and lean protein and cheese today....I imagined fields of healthy salads, and the scale going down. But, I thought about feeding two people, and instead stuck with the rice, juice, and protein laden eggs. I haven't decided what I will eat tomorrow.
I know I am blessed to be able to even have food (I feel so silly about complaining when I saw that in Haiti people are eating mudcakes! http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/29/food.internationalaidanddevelopment ). Stories like that make me sooo mad! We are one of the richest countries in the world, we have more food than we need, and yet people in our own country are going hungry, and people in other countries are starving as well. Sorry, but I am upset about this, and even madder at myself cause I realize that I am lucky to be able to buy "jasmine" rice and canned beans.
I am more than a bit upset at myself because I know I need to focus on my health and my first hurdle is eating....yep, the first step for me has to be control over my food and what I eat.
I have been slowly but surely increasing my cooking abilities and I can honestly say that I have never cooked so good! I am really getting over my fear of cooking (I have made some pretty bad food in the past) and I am really branching out and cooking more unique (while still trying to be healthy) food.
But, to be honest, lately I have been thinking of two things when I cook...price and volume. My bf has been stressed lately, so a bit more food gets eaten. I have been stressed, and resorting to simple carbs and sweets. I have actually had only bread for lunch multiple times. Not the healthy salad and whatnot I should be eating. And my bf will not eat only salad for dinner...so that would be my making two meals at once and that just doesn't work out cost wise.
I am upset at myself that I am allowing stress, poor food planning, and my budget affect my dreams of eating chicken breasts and salad and yummy sauteed greens...mmmmmm! And because of my diet issues, I need a lot of filling foods that are low are the GI scale...but, that doesn't always mesh well with what I can afford to buy.
I am going to look online and see if I can find some good and cheap and TASTY healthy recipes that can be made in large portions.
So, I have been thinking about this topic since last night.....When is it okay to ask for something that you want or need for yourself, and when is it appropriate to ignore your needs, in order to help another person?
I was thinking about my bf and I yesterday, and just having some worries. I worry that we have become very close because of all the things that my bf has gone through recently and in the past year or so, and I also feel like while our dependence upon one another has grown, I am not sure about the bf/gf aspect. It is like we haven't had funds or time to put towards our relationship.
I feel really weird about this, because my bf is going through so much right now...things that would be difficult for any person to really have to go through. Some pretty heavy stuff, I think. So I am being supportive. Sometimes, I just feel....tired and overwhelmed and then I end up feeling guilty because I want to go out on a date, or I want some couple time together. There has definitely been a financial aspect involved, and while I have assisted him alot, he has also assisted me financially more than any other person I have been with...even people that made 3x what he makes.
I also have some insecurities, to be honest, and the lack of our acting like couples kind of just makes those insecurities worse. I know he loves me and I don't doubt that. I do worry that he may love me, but not be IN love with me. I also worry that we seem to be moving away from coupledom, to friends that really love each other.
It is hard because my heart and mind understands what he is going through, and I really worry about the amount of stress that is. And my emotions are wanting to do gf/bf stuff. Sometimes my emotions don't want to do some errand to help him get to some place and yet, I find myself offering to help a lot. I also find that sometimes I feel ok with helping, and sometimes I feel really irritable because I just feel like I am giving and giving and giving. Then I end up feeling bad because I know he is stressed and it worries me how much stress he is under. I also feel that because of everything, we are in this routine and rut. So, then there is the worry about him getting bored, etc. I also, do worry, that once he is back on his feet, that he may decide he doesn't want to be together anymore. Sigh.
As I watch HGTV like a fashionista reads the latest copy of Vogue, I got to thinking about what I want my life to be...and I think that I am the kind of person who wants the simple things in life.
Yes, it is true, that when I want to de-stress or think of better times, I often think about places I have visited. Most of the time, when I think about where I have visited, it makes me smile and still be shocked and amazed about it....like, wow, lil ole me went to a different country. It may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but to me it is. I think I have gone places that my family hasn't and those memories really help me in a lot of ways.
Now, to me, a simple life would be a neatly organized home....weekends filled with trips to the local cafe, a good book to read, and a nice latte. I am not in need of things being extravagant or anything like that.
A simple life would be having children. Having my own kids and running errands in a min-van, keeping an orderly house. To me, that would be absolutely lovely.
For most of my life I have never questioned why I have experienced what I have. I have just accepted it as a part of life. I find myself now often having to deal with how I feel about the things and way I want my life to be, and the way it currently is.
Oddly, I feel that this time in my life, is one of the harder ones financially, that I have experienced as an adult (a whole different story when I was younger). Even when I made less money, I had less debt, and I had more resources (whether it be family, credit cards, savings, etc.) to help me with buying things, and even though I was short on my budget, I had more options to help me with whatever I was short. Now, I don't have that help so much, so I am a bit more stressed than before.
I know I just need to keep plugging along and things will get better. Right now, I just find that at times I really worry about having a simple life. I know I am blessed that I have food to eat, shelter, a great job, and loving family and friends. I just worry about the simple life that I envision for myself.
So, we all know that most people are cutting corners, budget wise, and watching every cent.
I have been watching everything that I spend, counting out how much I will need even for basic toiletries (hey, 1 ply is just as good as 2 ply, and A LOT cheaper, and lasts A LOT longer).
I have been good for the most part (with the exception being my coffee--and no, I don't buy lattes---though they do call out to me from time to time---buuuuuuy me! buuuuuuuy me! I am sooooo creeeeeaaaammmmmyyyyyy!) and been writing down whatever I buy, and taking an honest assessment of what I am going to buy is really necessary.
This often occurs when I have been tired the night before and not made my lunch, or haven't made enough food to take for lunch or breakfast, so I find the cheapest items possible and make the food stretch.
So, why, when I am buying food, do store owners want to give you "that look" when you point out an issue with the price? I recently bought something and the menu said a certain price. The guy (who has a bit of vanity going on, but I digress) didn't bat an eye when I said that he overcharged me. He said the price changed. I said that the menu says this price and that I have bought it at that price recently. He seriously wasn't going to budge, and wasn't going to accept that if you post a price (that can be altered on the menu---it is the type that doesn't involve re-ordering copies, etc.) that you need to honor that price. I really think he was seriously going to just have the stance of "Hey, we changed our prices, didn't tell the customer, you already ordered the food, now pay up". He went and talked to a senior person and honored the original price, but he never made any mention of what happened, just gave me the change I was supposed to have. wth?
So, I have been considerate lately with my friends....when eating at their place, I tend to either refrain from eating altogether (if I didn't chip in money wise), or not eating too much. When we go out, I abstain from buying expensive drinks, and try and order the cheapest thing on the menu. All of us are having money issues, and they understand that I cannot buy alcoholic drinks, or even drinks that do not include the free water.
I had a medical expense that is not much at all, but does impact my budget. I go from periods of feeling ok and happy and calm, to freaking out and being anxious about my money situation. Sigh. I have been like a broken record with my bf, telling him exactly how much money I need, and by which date. I hate being like a broken record, and I know he says I need to just accept that he is going to help me, but I just have a hard time waiting on people. I really don't like asking for help, and I don't like having to depend on others. I am so grateful when they help me, and I thank them tremendously as it does warm my heart. The waiting and being somewhat powerless over the situation is what upsets me. My bf is going through some things, and I feel bad bringing up what I need, but I feel like I really do need help, and for the majority of our relationship, I have been helping him. I don't want to add stress to him, and he has said for me to not worry about adding more stress to him, so I am going to take his word on that, even though sometimes he gets in a funk and doesn't want to talk about things and well, as you all can tell, I am a chatty cathy and talking is my thing.
Writing this out on here really helps me to mellow out a bit and get things out, ya know? I find that often I really cannot talk about these kinds of things with my friends because they are hard to get a hold of, or are going through their own things, and my bf doesn't like talking about money or budgets, AND when he gets home, lately, he just wants to chill out and not talk much. So, at times, my desire to talk and conversate is high.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings.
So, I am feeling soooo much better today than I felt on Sunday. I spoke with my bf about my concerns, and he wants me to depend on him more, and to not also worry that I may be asking for more than he can handle, etc. It made me realize that while I may have asked for help, I would acquiece or downplay the help I needed if I felt he was having a lot of problems around paying the bill that his family had to pay. We again discussed the date he will give me the money, and I am feeling a lot better now.
My relative wants to help me out with the expenses of visiting them.....I feel weird taking them up on their offer, and yet, it costs about....$30 per trip when i visit them.
I have been focusing on simple pleasures---like putting more emphasis on taking care of my hair, doing my nails, nice smelling (but not expensive) perfume, bubble baths, that kind of thing. I think it helps me out a lot mood wise.
I have found that if I were to examine my past relationships, I feel like I always spent more money on my partner, than my partner spent on me.
I don't know how to explain this, without the potential for coming across as petty. By no means am I trying to be petty, just being honest about patterns I have noticed.
With past boyfriends, they may have made more money than I did, but I always feel like what I gave or spent, was a bigger part of my budget, then in their situation.
With my current bf, he has been kinder and nicer and has spent more on me to help me out than any other boyfriend....even boyfriends that made 3 and 4x what he makes. I find that I have spent more during our relationship, but primarily due to the expenses of extra food.
Now that my savings is super low, I find myself really, really anxious and worried. I helped my bf through a very difficult time, and I think it was appropriate for me to do so. His family was able to get through something that is, I feel, a super difficult thing to have experience. And, I am hoping that he can see that now I am the one that needs help.
I really feel like my bf doesn't understand how much food costs. I feel that I am going to really work on letting him know when I need something, rather than just trying to do everything myself. I also feel that since I have really cleaned out my fridge, he can better be able to tell that things are tough, when he sees how bare it is. I have done my budget, and if my bf pays the two bills that need to be paid, then I will still have some money left over for food. However, the food will be very tame and mild this month, as I told him I only have $100 in the budget for food, and I don't think he gets that $100 is barely enough for 2 people. I am going to try and make it work though, and it will involve a lot more cooking.
I am very anxious because I have a very hard time depending on people. Really hard. Primarily because (and I know this sounds bad), but when I was younger, there was this pattern of not being able to depend on things, so I sort of have this thing where I try to handle it all myself because I trust myself on how to do things, more than I, at times, trust others.
Yeah, I do realize that is probably something I should really evaluate.
On a positive note, I will be done paying a bill at the end of this year (woo hoo!). I also hope to be done paying my friend back money back. That will help to make my budget not short, as it is currently.
This weekend I was driving, and stopped at a local store, and I saw a homeless person sleeping in a doorway, trying to pull up the covers to keep himself warm. It was so sad to see, also the doorway was super brightly lit, and I just felt so sorry for them. I couldn't even imagine how cold they were, or trying to sleep under such a bright light.
Today, I was by the local bus station and it was so sad. Why are bus stations always so......dirty? It was so dirty, and I felt so bad for the people who were using the benches to sleep on.
These times, (although I have been fearful of this even before the recession), have made my fears a bit more intense. I think it is only because I have been through it before, so for me, I think I see it as a reality for any person, more than the average person who may not have experienced what it is like to eat at a soup kitchen, or make your bed on the top of a coffee table.
I know that being fearful isn't good for the soul, and rather than waste energy worrying about things that may not happen, all I can do is do whatever possible to prevent such a situation and have faith that I will be ok.
I still find myself beating myself up for some foolish spending decisions made in the past. So, I tell myself that when I have paid off more debt, and am able to, I want to save money every month, so that when I go into the next month, I am going in with money, and not in the red from the previous month.
My bf and I talked, and he is going to help me with my bills for this month. I told him the exact amount that I needed, and we made an agreement. He let me know when he gets paid, and the exact amount he can give me per paycheck. That helped to relax me quite a bit.
I have been writing down my purchases so I can keep track of my budget. I am also trying to stick to buying things that I only need (with the exception being my weakness for tea and whatnot).
I realize that I was looking a bit disheveled before my budget problems, and I don't have to let my budget affect my appearance. So, I will be making more time for the self-indulgent things that make a girl feel pretty.
First off, let me preface this entry by saying that I do admit that I am cheap. Though, I prefer to say another adjective, but I think you get the point.
Just yesterday, I was in a restaurant, and boyfriend was picking up the tab. Because he is on a budget, I try to order the cheapest thing possible. Well, they were out of that, so I went with the next cheapest item. For what it was, it was overpriced, and I asked for an extra condiment. I asked if there would be a charge. The guy said no charge. Well, when he is adding up our food, low and behold, he put in extra for the condiment. I asked him about it, and he stated that he is only charging me half of what he normally charges for the condiment....which was still ridiculuously overpriced. My bf got upset. Sigh. The food was good, but I probably would not buy that item again because of the price.
I have a similar issue with a place that I frequent often. I buy their product with the understanding that I can use a condiment (i.e., jelly, etc.). One of the cashiers has made comments about my usage of jelly and how he will charge me extra if I use more. He said this out loud in the crowded restaurant, and it was very embarassing. I stopped going there for a while because of his comments.
Due to not scheduling things right, I find myself there again, and hungry, and trying to get the cheapest thing on the menu. I bought an item today with the understanding that I would be using jelly. Again, he made a comment about he will charge me extra if I use too much jelly. I said ok.
It was a weird situation and it made me feel very ashamed, I must admit. I think I will stop going there, because I don't like feeling like a leech or a cheapskate because I want to use a condiment that is free for customers. It also feels weird because I can feel the cashier watching me as I am getting the condiments and napkins that everyone uses.
So, I have done my budget and voila....I will be $300 short this month. I am trying to not stress about it, though.
My boyfriend and his family were able to pay their bills, and they had a little bit left over. I did not make any comment about the amount left over. I did not mention anything about the money my relative gave my bf towards the bill. I am not sure when I should say something about how much I am short. I think I will wait until next week. It is sooo difficult talking with him about money. Ugh!! I do think he is in a better mood now, than previously, and I am hoping that we can really work on how we feel about each other this month. It may sound weird, but the idea of marriage has crept up into my head. I know, weird, huh?
I also realize that my being broke and not giving as much attention to my appearance is negatively affecting me.
I don't have money to buy new shoes, and so I wore some shoes with holes in the bottom that I cover with a type of paper. They look ok, but just don't look at the bottom. I realize that is really not good and I shouldn't be doing that.
I have a few main stays in my wardrobe, but they are getting worn out, and my handwashing skills aren't great. So, all in all, I am finding that I think that I am allowing my budget to make me look slovenly. I am going to dedicate $20 this month to take my dry clean shirts to the cleaners (the kind that need to be ironed---I don't have an iron), so that I always have a presentable outfit ready if needed. My bf made a comment yesterday, and it really made me wonder if he is, at times, embarassed by me because I don't pay a lot of attention to my dress attire. I want him to be proud of me. It was hard to tell if he is sometimes embarassed by me.
I am having a slight pain, and it is bugging me because I know what needs to be done, but there is the money aspect for the co-pay, and making time to get to the doc. Sigh.