Checking My Statements and Doing Damage Control

by Joe Feldman

These last two weeks, I convinced myself that I Needed more “Needs” than I needed, and that I deserved more “Shoulds” than I should have. My credit cards seem thicker as a result, my bank account slimmer. I feel as if I’ve eaten two plates too many at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant somewhere off the interstate. Sorry six pack abs, maybe another day.

I have a credit card system where I pay off my two credit cards in full, no matter the balance, every two weeks. I dub them the “Needs Card” and the “Shoulds Card” — needs being gas, groceries and other bills, and shoulds being things like socializing with friends or my girlfriend, and eating out. This helps keep my spending in gear, and forces me to curtail or cut my spending when I start nearing 70 percent of what I estimate my upcoming paychecks will be. I also use a debit card for cash as a last resort. It’s not a perfect system.

I am human after all, and find myself going out to eat a little more often than I should be. I recently quit my desk job to become a full-time actor, which has drastically changed my spending and eating habits. Unfortunately, booking a gig that puts you up in a hotel doesn’t save you as much money as you would think — especially when you are there for three days doing night shoots, and are only fed once a day. Until evolution or a mad scientist alters humanity so that we can store food for future consumption, I still have to buy food when I’m not on set.

Oh, and then there was Memorial Day Weekend. Did anyone ever tell you that there are sales for clothes those days? I desperately needed some new clothes. I can’t even remember the last time I bought more than a pair of pants.

Hello quadruple digit credit card statements:

1. $350 in clothes. (Probably-Not-a-Need)

2. $75 in gas (Need)

3. $150 prints of headshots (NEEEEED)

4. $75 in groceries (Need)

5. $330 dollars in Stuff I Wanted To Do But Totally Did Not Need (a k a “shoulds”)

6. Debit/Cash, approximately $180 (huh what where!?!?! how did that happen?)

Well then, that really puts it into perspective. I wonder where all that cash went! These are the times I’m glad I have put myself on a two-week pay-off schedule. Did I save any money these last two weeks? No. Did I have to dip into my savings? Take a guess. Luckily I had two paychecks come in, one from the day job, and one from a gig I had booked. Unfortunately, it looks like that gave me the illusion I could indulge myself through the end of the month. With rent and utilities due in the next two weeks, I’ll have to lay low.

Sigh. I guess I’ll be cooking at home, memorizing lines, waltzing in circles and watching TV. That is, until I’m put up in another hotel for another gig. Fingers crossed.

Previously: I’m Escaping My Desk Job And Never Looking Back

Joe Feldman is a self-proclaimed master juggler of life. He acts, writes, and works as a part-time business analyst. When he is not making fantasy into reality, he is analyzing how to make fantasy into reality. Photo: Shutterstock/Mark Burrows