Saturday, July 24, 2010


Yesterday, I sat down and made a list of expenditures and a budget for the next few months. When I finished, I realized I was going to have to wipe out my savings account to cover first month's rent + deposit.

One of my biggest problems with myself is how terrible I am with money. I have trouble planning long-term with my money and I have no system of monitoring it, other than calling and checking my balance here and there. It's something I have made occasional half-hearted efforts to control (keeping a balance, making a budget, etc.) but I inevitably never stick it out. It's one of the reasons I put "Write down all purchases for 1 month and look at where I can cut expenses" on my 101 in 1001 list. I'd like to get in that habit. I have a savings account, but I don't contribute very much to it (about $60 a month) and it doesn't take much to talk myself into taking $50 out here and there. That said, I always like to have at least $200 in there, otherwise it seems like a pointless venture.

The flip side of this is that I hate hate HATE asking anyone for money, especially my parents. I'll sometimes ask Ravi for money here and there, trying to take care to pay him back (even if it's in a haphazard way, like buying him things), but I'll generally just pull it out of savings if I need it. I could have covered all my expenses in the next two weeks (biggies being rent, deposit, car insurance, loan payments), but it would have taken completely draining both my checking and savings accounts. I've known this for a little while, without sitting down and running the numbers. I've had that vague "I-don't-want-to-check-and-see-if-this-is-actually-true" knowledge that either I was going to be flat broke or I was going to have to ask for money. So, I put it off and proceeded to stress out so badly about it that I started averaging 3 and 4 hours of sleep a night, swilling coffee like water, furiously developing every single one of my nervous tics and came to a point where I felt like clawing my own face off and jumping off of the roof (yes, this is the image I keep in my head when I become enormously stressed). Also, on a more vain but also potentially worrying level, I noticed my hair was shedding at an accelerated rate, making me wonder if I was going to have another Summer Of The Great Bald Spot.

So. Yesterday, I sat down and confronted all of it, because ignoring it was making me crazy and seeing all those numbers there, daunting as they were, calmed my mind. There's something about making a list, methodically figuring and crossing off and doing (even in such a non-active way) that puts me at ease. When I finished, I came up with a number, in the very low four-figures, that would allow me to keep some money in checking and not touch my savings account (it's hobbling along as is). A number that is more than I've ever asked anyone, save a lending company, for in my life. Then I texted my mom and said, "I need to talk to ya'll about borrowing some money." She wrote back, "ok, how much?"

When I told her I wanted to pay the money back, we argued a bit. We finally agreed that I would pay back half of the money, starting as soon as I get my next paycheck. While I'm upset that I had to ask for the money at all, I'm so thankful that I have parents who are willing to help me out, who are able to help me out. I also finally slept more than 5 hours last night.

Next step: job.

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