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.

Wednesday
$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”)

Thursday
$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”)

Friday
$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)

Saturday
$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.)

Sunday
$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)

Monday
$1: Coffee

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.)

 

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