Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spending Diet: A Regression

Times are tough, people.

What started out as a very encouraging journey on this Spending Diet has become just another ball of financial stress. My pay(though my hours are the same) reduced by $4 an hour due to budget cuts in my current line of work. I was happy to score a second job, a freelance gig doing what I love, but I haven't been paid for my first project yet. This weekend I needed to get a new front door for my house, but due to issues installing a standard door into a formerly custom frame (in a stucco house, where nothing is square), I ended up shelling out over $500 for the new door, framing supplies, and a new kitchen faucet because mine conveniently broke. And now, I am conveniently broke.

I've been doing my best to remain optimistic about my finances. Christmas this year will consist of all homemade gifts like breads and cookies and mix CDs. My house is well stocked with food, so grocery shopping should only need to be minimal for a while. No need to eat at restaurants or buy lattes and snacks, so saving on that should be easy. I keep my thermostat at a brisk 64 degrees and wear lots of layers and microwavable slippers (yes, those exist!). And yet, still, I feel like the darkness is growing. I feel like there is only a finite amount of time to be able to keep paying my bills, let alone set money aside for the future.

I know I'm not alone in this, but it makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. I've already had to dig into my emergency fund, but it worries me even more to see that nest-egg deplete. My parents have been incredibly helpful in the past, but I feel like a deadbeat asking them for help when I'm 28 and should be able to handle this by myself.

I could blame any number of circumstances for my current situation (budget cuts, economy, divorce, home repairs), but the bottom line is that these things happen and blaming them is not going to fix the situation. I need to accept responsibility, to take action, to turn it around. I need to do more, like fight harder to get that appointment with my boss to ask for a raise (though I've been trying for three months just to get a meeting, in vain). I need to stop spending on anything that isn't absolutely necessary. I may even need to put out a want ad for a roommate, if that's what it takes.

So if you are my friend (and if you are, I love you dearly), please understand that I will be declining any invitations to outings unless it involves playing a board game in someone's living room. I won't be buying anything new, so please don't take offense. I'm going back to a Spending Fast for the time being, and my new favorite word is going to be (it has to be) "no."

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