I'll return to one of my original themes of this blog: my debt. These last few months have been especially difficult for me financially. Like, retired dad bailout bad. Of course, I'm not alone, with the country being in a recession and all, but having company in my misery doesn't really make me want to do a jig. Financial life sucks for pretty much everyone. I get it. This is just what I have to say about it.
I've been writing down everything I spend like a crazy person for months. Months. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I record all of it from a coffee at Starbucks to my student loan payments. Its truly exhausting to keep such an extensive record of my cash flow. I come home each night with my receipts and type away in those little judgmental cells, until I see what a douche I was and curse myself for allowing myself a $5 footlong from Subway that was actually my lunch and dinner. I tend to send myself into a tailspin when I forget to add in the 75 cents I spent on peanut M&Ms from the office vending machine. And then, suddenly, I'm $20 short for my cable bill and I feel like a complete failure as an adult.
Could I move to a less expensive city and get a job and live happily ever after? Probably. I often wonder why I'm still here when in a more normal place (read: median rent for a one-bedroom apartment less than $2K a month) I could be on my way to owning something. People I know are buying houses. My stepbrother, four years my junior, is house-hunting.
Yesterday my father asked me about the will I was supposed to have made out months ago. I asked him if he thought he should get my laptop, my Oscar de la Renta coat, my book collection or my unfinished novel. Because, sadly, I have nothing else. ("I'll take the novel," he joked.) If I had to moved to, say, Philadelphia, a five years ago instead of the if-I-can-make-it-here... capital of the world, I'd probably at least be able to will my dad a car or something. But I live in (and, unfortunately, still kind of love) New York. And, the city is only partially responsible for my debt problem. A love of eating out (why would I try to cook my own pad thai when someone who knows something about it can?) and an obsession with beauty products did play a small part, too. Having said that pad thai and lipstick are more expensive here than most other places, so, really, F you, New York. City that I love to hate, but won't leave.
The stress of living on a to-the-dollar budget has manifested itself in the form of near-constant pain in my left shoulder. I wish the government was giving bailouts that included free massages.