September 9, 2010 at 8:01 am
Photo by rsadler / by NCND 2.0 CC
Ever since I started freelancing full-time, I’ve been tracking all my expenses. I like to make sure the money going out isn’t greater than the money going in, because that would be a very bad business plan indeed. (Unless you’re the federal government.) This is how I know that my food/grocery expenses have gone up since I moved from Indianapolis to Chapel Hill, though I don’t exactly know why. The first month I was here, I expected it to go up because I had to buy basic staples that I hadn’t bothered to move across the country, and I had to eat out on the road. But August’s bill was about $40-$70 higher than it averaged in Indy.
I’m not sure if the prices at Harris-Teeter are higher than they were at Kroger. I don’t know if I mooched more food off of my old roommate than I realized. I’m spending more time at coffee shops to get out of my apartment, which has bumped the sum a bit. [...]
July 5, 2010 at 11:49 am
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
12:00pm – Drive to Budget with Baby Brother to pick up truck that I reserved with 20% off coupon. Beat that, U-haul. After visual inspection, decide to get 16′ truck instead of 10′ truck to be sure everything will fit. Desk clerks are answering phones and swearing at their 1980′s dot-matrix printer that is malfunctioning like any printer older than my Baby Brother would. Remembering my Jetta vs. armored truck incident, I buy extra insurance.
12:30pm – Dial Baby Bro’s cell phone from my Saturn as I trail behind him on the way home, totally disregarding Oprah’s No Phone Zone campaign.
“Hey, did they put a dolly on the truck?”
12:40pm – Say hi to clerks who hate their jobs and grab last dolly, tossing it in the trunk with my back seats folded down.
1:00pm-4:00pm – Baby Bro and I load the truck with approximately 70 boxes, two bookshelves, a night stand, a kitchen cart, and a TV stand. Process goes so amazingly smoothly that I fully expect the truck to explode tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, June [...]
September 10, 2009 at 10:19 am
It is a game I play lately, to see how cheap I can live without hating how I live. Now that I’m freelancing full time, I am far more watchful of my income than I was for the past year and a half when I worked Not Quite Plush, But Reasonably Padded Corporate Job. My budget behavior far more resembles the four years before that when I worked Low-Paying, Uninsured, Small Company Job with Spunk and Freedom. I was not paid much, but I was happy to simply have a job. I also had $7000 in gallbladder surgery debt, a $2200 transmission bill, and about $1200 of dental work to pay off, all of which I was not happy to have. Back then, I actually went back to a store to get a $1.20 refund on something I’d bought because I desperately needed every penny of that dollar and twenty cents.
The nice thing about Not Quite Plush, But Reasonably Padded Corporate Job was that I did not have to watch my money that closely. I [...]
June 25, 2009 at 8:40 am
It’s odd how quickly a word can dominate our shared vocabulary. In 2000 it was “hanging chad.” In 2002 it was “post 9-11.” This year it’s “economy” and “recession” and “toxic assets.” They might just be words, but they reflect the changes that are happening in my life and your life and your neighbors next door, who aren’t going to live next door anymore, because they defaulted on their mortgage.
As much as people’s lives are changing, mine hasn’t changed that much. Sure, my job is as secure as a lockbox sealed with chewing gum, and I moved to a cheaper apartment to cut my living costs, but otherwise I’m living the same life I’ve always led. Financially speaking this means I save money, sock cash in my retirement accounts, and spend less than I earn. Evidently I was a radical ahead of my time for doing all these things.
I feel genuinely sorry for the suffering this recession has caused, for people who are stuck in houses that have lost value, for people who can’t make [...]