My Last Hundred Bucks: Things That Seemed Totally Within My Means, But Actually Weren’t
I feel like I’ve been doing really well, monetarily, this past week. I feel like I have been living a very frugal life. And yet: My bank account is empty. It boggles. It blows. It shocks and awes. Because: Tiny purchases (a $3 ice cream cone, a $1 cup of coffee) add up to large amounts of money. This is a fact which my mind does not enjoy and refuses to process.
I can no longer give myself any agency when it comes to cash. None. Not tallying up daily totals in my head. I do fake math. I have a drink and throw the math and any concern for the math out the window. Give me all things, I’ll deal with it later, I don’t care.
One thing about reading over this list: Each of these purchases would have been so much more, if I had a card. Every time an iced coffee, add a baked good or a bagel. Any time a drink, double it, because I would have wanted to treat my friends. Or triple it, because let’s have another round, on me. I brought flowers to dinner, but I wanted to bring wine and flowers. I brought cookies to the park, but I wanted to bring sparkling lemonade and nicer cookies. I would have bought all the beer instead of just throwing in for it. A few months ago, this last hundred bucks would have easily been my last two-or-three hundred bucks. So, um, good for me, I suppose, for succesfully curbing my spending so that I’m just spending all the money I do have, instead of all the money I don’t.
$3: Iced Coffee (I know I’m supposed to make my own, and I think about it all the time, but it doesn’t fit my current lifestyle) (my current lifestyle is running out the door, always)
$12: After-work whiskey sodas (two) (necessary) (mean it) (actually it was three because a friend bought me another drink) (it is really uncomfortable for me not to be buying other people’s drinks, by the way. That’s my preferred method: Treating other people to nice things.)
$7: Coffee and falafel (“dinner”)
$6: Coffee, bananas, granola bar (“breakfast and lunch”)
$3: Italian soda and tip (I met a friend at a bar and didn’t order a beer. Financially-responsible highlight of week.)
$6: Beer and a tip (Except an hour later I did buy a beer, which I forget every time I pat myself on the back for not ordering one)
$7: Fruitcup (uneaten) and bottle of water (“dinner”)
$9: Flowers to bring to dinner party (Freesia! long-lasting, nice-smelling, paired with a bottle of fizzy water, an acceptable if modest thing to bring)
$8: Cheese and tomato sandwich and iced coffee
$20: Shot and a beer and a vegan sausage and a tip (Okay, the $12 vegan sausage was a stretch. I didn’t need to do that.)
$7: Beer run contribution
$10: French fries, beer, and a tip (A mild success. Was going to order twice as much food and craft beer, but slowed my roll.)
$3: Ice cream bar on walk home (I had no control over this decision. It was destiny.)
$3: Iced coffee
$4: Cookies to share with friends in the park (Shameful contribution. Other friends brought: two kinds of charcuterie, three kinds of fancy cheese, two bottles of rose, artisinal honey, homemade turkey sandwiches, the prettiest loaf of bread I’ve ever seen)
Tuesday, Wednesday, and all the rest of the days until I get a check
$0: (The most/only effective way I’ve found to control my spending is having zero dollars to spend. I anticipate success.)