Swimming In Debt Is Cool If You Just Pretend Everything Is Fine

 

I have known so many people with that philosophy. They don’t have very good lives in the end – they foreclose on their homes, lose their cars, die of heart attacks at 40… but in the moment that they live it, where they swim in debt while pretending everything is fine, they really are happy.

And how couldn’t you be? Exotic vacations you can’t afford. Boats. RVs. Long weekends. Hair and nail appointments every week. All the while completely oblivious to the fact that sometime, at some point, you will actually – yes, this is real – have to pay all that shit off.

I, personally, can’t live like that. I am excessively frugal, to a point of absurdity. I think I learned it from my grandmother, who was most known for going to buy Diet Coke when it was on sale in her red pick up truck. She would pull up in her driveway, and open the back of the truck for us to see an entire truck bed lined with 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke that she had bought on sale. We’d all have to help her load it into the garage, and she would be set until the next time it went on sale.

So now, taking after my grandmother, when our groceries are delivered, and we get 75 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese, or 200 cups of applesauce, my husband always thinks I’m insane.

I also find myself envious of local family and friends, who get Botox while my crow’s feet under my eyes grow deeper and deeper. Or who get their eyelashes and nails done every two weeks, while my toe nails typically look something along the lines of what you would find on an elderly gargoyle. I wear make up maybe once a week, because there’s no need to waste the money on it if I’m not going anywhere; and my hair…well…let’s not go there.

Typically, we don’t take exotic vacations either. We don’t do trips to Cozumel or Europe; and sure, we have our family weekend trips out of the area, or occasional vacations to places like the Grand Canyon or to use our Disneyland passes. But it’s always carried with a sense of frugality, including always finding places we can stay where I can cook our meals to save money on eating out.

My kids and husband get haircuts by yours truly, and absolutely every single one of my purses was purchased at Target.

I think you all are getting the point: we live on a tight budget, and we don’t go for all the extra unnecessary things. This is all done so that I can stay home with the kids, and so that my husband can work in his industry of choice (film, a volatile and sometimes poorly paid industry to work).

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You can imagine, then, my frustration when we start getting socked with bills, and they just keep coming and coming and coming, and in spite of all the cuts and the tightening of the belts they just get worse. It seems wholly unfair. As if I have not sacrificed enough, suddenly our insurance doesn’t cover something they always used to cover and we have a $410 bill with a due date 10 days from now (and a hospital absolutely refusing to negotiate). I get a bladder infection, and the urgent care – who is legally required to notify us if they are sending out the “sample” does not – and they send it to a lab out of our network, and we get socked with another medical bill that is beyond reasonable, with everyone saying “tough shit, that’s life.”

Then our water softener alarm starts going off, and we find out the filters need to be changed even though we literally had no idea there were filters in the thing. Then one of our kids gets sick and – big surprise – the medicine she needs isn’t covered, and beyond that I have to spend a whole tank of gas driving all over the place looking for a pharmacy that has it. Then a short in our garage refrigerator triggers a chain reaction of all the things in the garage going out of power, which we don’t catch for over 48 hours and literally thousands of dollars of food being stored out there (between the fridge and the deep freezer – see previous notes about buying things on bulk when they are cheap) ARE RUINED.

It just never stops. You think everything is fine, you are in a good place and everything is working out and then a domino effect begins of one costly thing happening after another, until you finally get to a point where you just want to do what everyone else does and pretend like everything is fine.

Sure, we just lost thousands of dollars in food and I have no idea what we are going to do to replace it…but I’m going to go get my nails and hair did anyway.

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I mean yeah, tons of medical bills are piling up and we have probably $1500 in unpaid bills that suddenly found their way to our doorstep this week, alone…but I need a vacation, so let’s go on a little weekend getaway.

My current purse just ripped a huge hole in it, one that could arguably allow money to fall out…so rather than worry about the food and the medical bills and the electricity issue in the garage…I think I’mma just go get me a Coach purse because – honestly – every time I see someone carry one, I tuck my Target variety bag under my arm in shame.

Because this is California and your handbag is about as important as your position in life will ever get [sarcastic eye roll].

No matter how much I joke, though, the reasonable me just can’t do it. Instead, I sit here hours on end worrying about where the fuck all this money is going to come from, as my husband gets sent home from work earlier and earlier every night because it’s the slow season for movie trailers (and he is hourly, so an early night means…you got it, less pay). I contemplate going back to work every three or four days, but then spend an entire day working out the expenses that would be involved in doing that (daycare for the kids, extra commuting cost for me, and so on), and THAT doesn’t make any sense, so then I go back to worrying and trying to find any fucking sale price ground beef and ham steaks I can buy in bulk and freeze just to make myself feel like our finances are getting back on track, once and for all.

This is where I’m at right now. Swimming in debt is NOT cool, but I wish it were.

 

 

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The Holidays Are Coming, So I’ve Prepared a Wish List

I actually don’t want anything for the holidays. I never do.

There are things that I need. But want? I stopped wanting things around the time I stopped getting things that I wanted.

Did that make sense? Either I’m a really spoiled brat, or – more accurately – I’m an adult. Somewhere between the birthday I got a Caboodle filled with my very first set of makeup, and now, holidays, birthdays, and special occasions became very much about necessity, not frivolous crap.

I’m saying that I lost all the joy of a reckless purchase or a careless request for an expensive bag.

Now when someone asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I reply with the typical 30-something responses:

Money for bills…

My annual supply of Bath and Body Works Winter Collection, without which I would smell like peanut butter, a mom’s life, and questionable choices…

Something we need for the house…

Underpants, because all mine have holes in them…

And in fact, when people give me things that I don’t actually need, I feel awkward about it. Super awkward, almost irresponsible.

There’s also this whole thing with my husband that has made me stop asking for things I want too.

You see, blog followers, I’m married to a younger, thinner, harrier version of…well…Homer Simpson. This is for a lot of reasons, but for right now we’ll pretend it’s just because of that one time Marge almost had an affair with a French bowler.

There’s an episode of The Simpsons pretty early on, where the whole family goes out to dinner for Marge’s birthday. Bart has bought her some ridiculously terrible-smelling perfume, Lisa made her something memorable…but Homer had forgotten, so had run out at the last minute and instead of getting her what she actually needed or wanted, he ended up seeing something he wanted, so got that instead.

It was a bowling ball with his name engraved in it.

Figuring Marge would just give it to him as she always does with his flopped gifts, she surprises him by taking the ball and going to bowl. There, she meets Jacques and he teaches her to bowl and they almost have an affair, but don’t…blah blah, watch the episode if you want to hear the rest.

My younger, thinner, harrier Homer Simpson of a husband has a little bit of a history with this. Of course he’ll come home from work tomorrow morning extremely offended that I said this, and I’m sure his intentions have all been good.

But… Soda Stream? I drink one Diet Coke a day, no more no less. I don’t drink mineral water, I don’t drink flavory sugary sodas, I don’t drink teas or lemonade drinks…

And by one Diet Coke, I mean one Diet Coke. Not Diet Pepsi. Not Diet Tab. Not Diet Soda Stream Brand Cola.

Diet. Coke.

Nonetheless, one year my husband got me a Soda Stream for Christmas, another year he said he was going to take me on a cruise even though I hate boats, don’t know how to swim, and had told him several times I had no interest, wish, or plans to board one of those Norovirus Death Traps.

He was the only one to ever use the Soda Stream. We never went on a cruise.

So anyway, back to the original point: I am an adult and as an adult, holidays and birthdays are used as an opportunity to acquire need-based things.

Here is my list:

A Gift Certificate for a Pedicure

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In all seriousness: if I don’t get one soon, my feet will rival Gollum’s.

Money for Bills

Because we have a lot. And more than that, my student loans aren’t paying themselves. As lovely as all those degrees are, I don’t even have them on the wall because my student loans have rendered professional framing of them an impossibility.

At this rate, we’ll have my student loans paid off 6 years after I die, so yeah money for bills would be the greatest gift this gal could ever get.

A Butter Churn With Butter Molding Shapes

I saw an article recently about how you can buy a more modern butter churn for someone, and well I lost my shit and immediately texted it to my husband over and over again until he stopped working long enough to acknowledge that he, in fact, received my request for a butter churn.

He won’t get me a butter churn, because you know he’ll get me a moonshine maker or some other shit I have never even heard of, and will never use, but I really want a butter churn.

Rather I need a butter churn.

Here are the reasons why:

I have started making my own butter at home. I’ve gone that hipster – yes it is intolerable, yes I talk about it at parties. I flavor it too: raspberry, blackberry with honey, ginger, garlic and herb…makes you want some of my homemade butters, huh?

The whole thing would be made so much better if I (a) had a churn and (b) had little shapes and molds to use to make that shit Butter Maker Pro Level 10.

It would also cut a lot of time out of the process, and a Stay At Home Mom always needs more hours in the day.

So you see this is a need, not a want. I need it. Someone get it for me.

My Annual Supply of the Bath and Body Works Winter Collection

See aforementioned comment about how without which I would smell like peanut butter, a mom’s life, and questionable choices.

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A New Short Robe

I just discovered that my short robe (I have a short robe and a long robe) has a large hole in it in a place I’m not sure I’m comfortable with.

The thing about my robe is that I don’t just wear it – like – over my pajamas, or exclusively in my bedroom. After I shower, I walk around in that thing for like two hours. I go outside. Make dinner. Take out the dog. Get the mail. Talk to the neighbors.

I. Am. Not. Kidding.

I’m that lady. Only now, I’m that lady whose robe has a gaping hole in it, rendering my short robe X-rated.

I like dark colors for my short robes. Makes my activities in it that much more confusing.

The Amazon Echo

This is a bit of a stretch to call it a need, but let me try anyway.

For one, I spend a lot of time stopping everything that I’m doing to go to the computer and look something up. I mean several times per day, amounting to probably hours, cumulatively. Hours, because I go to the computer, get distracted by an email, get even more distracted by Facebook, go on Pinterest for a while, forget why I came to the computer anyway, go on Twitter until I remember, look the thing up, then…check Facebook one more time.

Remember that thing I said about needing more time?

Additionally, my husband works nights, so the ability to get those attachments that hook up to your lights and then allow you to say “turn on the lights” – or whatever this attachment does – sounds brilliant. It’s scary being at home alone with children at night in my short robe with the only thing standing between me and that gaping hole causing a problem is my Gollum feet.

See how this is a need?

There’s also the whole thing about how I’m a Stay At Home Mom, I have very VERY little interaction with the world outside, and my husband is gone for about 15-18 hours a day (at work). The film industry is his real wife, and so I’m left with no one to really talk to other than the children, and you know they get my humor but 95% of the time I have to censor it, or talk about things like Barbies and Fashion Story video games.

I need to not censor myself, and I need someone to talk to. Even if it’s just a little black stick sitting on my counter.

Also, Siri is starting to seem annoyed with me talking so much…

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So you all see where we’re at here, right? My list seems basic. I return the favor by only giving others things they need as well – I always have, actually. Kids need more exercise, this year I got them bikes. Kids need clothes that actually fit them, instead of items that are two sizes too small – so small I’ve actually just cut the footies off the pajamas? They’re also getting clothes, including new pajamas.

Same goes for my husband, everything I got him was needs-based; but I can’t say what because you know he’ll read this blog and come home really mad at me for that Homer Simpson thing I said before, which leads me to the last thing I need for Christmas this year, but will probably not get it- now, or ever:

A Filter

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