Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oops I Did It Again

When I go to New York City, I spend money, lots of it. Between dining at the finest chicken spots on the corner of E 219 St and White Plains Road, the small boutique on 135th Street between 7th and 8th, and cover charges and drinks (that I don't partake in) at the club on 54th between 2nd and 3rd, my money drains from my account faster than I can keep track of. Knowing this, I prepare for the spending spree. I make sure all of my bills are paid, then I designate a few hundred to my weekend excursion and hope there's just enough left over to get me to my next check without dipping into my savings account. I'm all about fiscal responsibility. Yes, I will spend and then spend some more, however I will not spend money that I do not have. At least not so far from my next check.
After the last time I threw my bank account into chaos, I promised myself that I would be more diligent about tracking my finances. I balanced my checkbook regularly, paid off all of my credit card debt, cancelled unused accounts, and budgeted my money. I even increased my investment capital, hiding a large percent of my liquid assets in untouchable savings vehicles. I was being responsible with my money and felt perfectly fine with my financial situation when I embarked on my Labor Day journey to the happiest place on Earth. I had a good amount of money to spend on my usual pursuits and felt perfectly capable of staying within my budget.
Five days later, I am once again wondering how my bank account will recover. Oh why did I hide my money from myself? Maybe because I knew I would spend it if I didn't. It started with "necessary" cell phone equipment that I still can't figure out how to use and probably doesn't work anyways. Then there was the unexpected five hour hotel stay (I was by myself so get your mind out the gutter), which really wasn't that expensive, but still cost money I didn't have. Now, most people would make adjustments when emergency expenses happen. Cut back here and there to make up for it. Not, I. I go shopping and purchase a $250 shirt and justify it by passing it off as a dress ($250 for a dress is definitely reasonable). Spending $250 on one item was more than I could handle, so I decided to spend $400 in total on three items to make myself feel like a saavy shopper. I knew I was going over the edge when I stood at the check out counter at my favorite store trying to convince Capital One to give me the account number for the credit card I cut up so I could purchase a $350 snakeskin purse that perfectly matched a reasonably priced wrap dress that was only worth purchasing if the purse was part of the transaction. Thank God, Capital One told me no. The weekend could've gotten very ugly.
I'm back home now and my account is obliterated. Decisions I made several weeks ago are making it difficult to cover my ass while each transaction materializes and gets deducted. I don't get paid for over a week and I have nada to get me through to the next cycle. At least I'm not in debt. That's the only good thing I can hold on to. I could live with no dinners, movies, and shopping trips. And I do have some amazing clothes in my possession (which I will wear everyday and twice on Sunday to get my money's worth). But my stomach is grumbling and I have no groceries and no money to buy them. Too bad I can't eat my new shirt/not quite dress.


Buffy said...

I always use the dress justification clause as an excuse for overspending. Used it twice this weekend. Seriously, if you find out how to do New York on any kind of reasonable budget, let me know. I always blow big time.

I'm an accountant's nightmare.

Anonymous said...

HA!!! That's what you get!!!

Folks, let me tell you about Liz: now normally when you go out to dinner with friends and you all order about the same stuff, sample each other's meals, and split the check evenly when it comes time to pay the tab, right? But let's say you all do decide to just do the math and pay for what each of you ordered, the tax and tip still gets split evenly, correct? NOT SO with ya girl. With Liz, it's like a competition to see who can purchase the cheapest meal!

Liz has been known to order ONE appetizer and a water with lemon wedges, then spend half the time picking off YOUR entree and side items because she CLEARLY didn't get enough to eat. Still, when the check comes, not only does she put up the EXACT change for her meal, she'll actually calculate her portion of the tax/tip, too!! Now, how does such a CHEAP person justify spending $650 on clothing in ONE weekend???

SELFISHNESS, I tell ya!!!

Anonymous said...

I mean damn, can we see it?

Anonymous said...

Chesty you are so right! She is CRAZY cheap...except when it comes to clothing and shoes. Now, $250 for a shirt, not quite dress??? Thats just insane.

Diane Mandy said...

You were in New York over Labor Day? Me too! I wish I had know, would have loved to met you.

BlondieBlueDF said...

wow. parallel lives. as soon as I think i have a hold on nyc, there it goes - leaving me hungry and broke again. but yet, tomorrow I am getting my hair cut and highlighted and am going shopping for clothes for my high school reunion (screech!) it's going to be another expensive weekend in new york.

Anonymous said...

If you lived here you probably wouldn't have a savings acct. :)

K said...

Man, I am ALWAYS blowing my money and have no idea where it goes.

But hell, a new dress is always nice.

Elizabeth Krecker said...

OMG, I can so relate! My financial strategy is almost identical to yours, stashing all my money in places where I can't reach it!

But I all too often outwit myself. I went to a conference this week, got bored and skipped half the seminars to shop. Thank heavens this season's colors (white, grey, black and brown, don't flatter me, because that, my dear, was the ONLY thing that kept me from financial ruin!

Sangindiva said...

First of all let me say i LOVE your new picture (on your profile) !! You look fabulous!
I also know exactly what you mean-
I love shopping so much!! I had a hungry stomach a
few days ago myself- but danmit if I didn't KILL EM'
in my new outfit (shoes and purse included) on Saturday!! *sigh* beauty knows no pain, girl :)

Citygirl said...

The money thing really can be tough for some folks, me included, so don't feel so bad. I'm 31 and have dipped into my savings so much to pay bills (because of unnecessary spending) that I have only $60 left. Pay day never comes fast enough. Thank God I there's a tax penalty for digging into the 401k, or I'd have nothing at all!

Just get back on track. It's like with exercising or eating right, you'll slip sometimes, but as long as you commit to NOT SPENDING $250 ON A SHIRT you'll be ok eventually.

JLANE said...

I have to piggy back off of rebelioness:

Liz is a cheap motherfucker full stop. ( that's the British in me)

Always ordering some damn water and lemon wedges. Grow up and by a damn drink!

But I feel you homie. I'm broke as a joke. I stay check to check. Even my collections are in collections. Na'mean.

But we live and learn....hopefully we get a lil wiser as we get older.