Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh, Summer

Okay, I've figured out the summer spending thing: half the problem is that when I leave work, it doesn't feel like the day is over. It's light and beautiful outside, and I find myself wanting to take walks, go to movies, get drinks with friends, drink iced know, money-costing things. I am heartily disinclined to just head home to make dinner and curl up with a book.

With that in might, I think I might be able to begin planning for that--there's a big difference between going for a walk, having a packed picnic with a friend, and getting a drink and eating an impromptu dinner out and then paying $11.50 (!) for a movie ticket. Not that I'm going to stop seeing movies entirely, of course, but if I acknowledge this not-going-home-after-work-in-the-summer preference and try to work with it, I may be able to save some money without negatively influencing my enjoyment & social life.

One thing I think is going to be important is packing a couple of afternoon snacks--that way, I won't have to buy food out if I just want to take a walk or sit around Union Square for a bit. I had a Clif Nectar bar yesterday that I tried out on a whim from my new local supermarket, and really liked it--carrying around a couple, plus maybe an apple and a hardboiled egg (obviously can't just leave that in my bag like a bar, but still) should get me pretty far.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Mental Math (Just a note to myself...)

So, my current credit card bill: $707. I just transfered $350 over there from checking ($200 from my last slush pile freelance check, $150 that should be budgeted, for a nutritionist session). K owes me $210 from our Ikea run. I'm returning two pairs of shoes and a dress. Covered.

Now the trick is hoping I haven't done too much damage to the checking account itself...I've been eating out a lot.



I'm getting to the point where I dread rebooting my financial system after the move and a lengthy period of computer outage. It really is different when you're not checking in every day--scarier, more confusing, and thus, somehow, far easier to go, "Oh, maybe I haven't really spent too much--buying this CD is fine."

That means to me that it's time to reboot promptly, which means spending the money to get myself a new laptop battery and charger. Ugh. But I'm sure it'll be a win in the long term, because a girl could run herself into the ground like this. I hate to put yet another hundred bucks on my credit card bill--this month has surely been my highest ever--but I'm pretty sure it'll be worth it in the long run.

This urge to bury my head in the sand is strong, and it makes me queasy. For me, every day I go without getting back on track makes it a little harder, a little more overwhelming to finally do so. So the sooner the better. I'm taking my laptop in tomorrow.

Wish me luck.


Monday, June 16, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Management Company of My Old Apartment,

Yes, I am going to call every day until I get an inspection scheduled, because I am working under the theory that you are not going to release my security deposit until said inspection takes place. Yes, I have called seven or eight times already. Yes, I do plan on making an unflaggingly polite nuisance of myself. Yes, I am willing to be on a first-name basis with everyone in your office. Yes, I am also willing to show up in person if need be. You owe me upwards of $1,800, and I am going to get it back, so don't count on me forgetting and going away anytime soon.

English Major


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everyone is leaving or moving. I feel like I am standing still, even though I am moving too. We put the beautiful old oak table my mother gave us up on casters. It's perfect. My sister is in Cameroon, trying to learn the local dialect, drinking beer in the square, working with the fifty wives of the local chief. My parents are in Madrid for a few days before they head on to Italy, where they'll be through the summer. I am in my office. One friend's email offers her room for sublet (she is moving to Israel), another friend's email announces she has moved from Washington Heights to the Upper East Side (we are out of touch; I wonder if she's making lots more money, suddenly). I am in my office. Yesterday I could not help buying fruit; a pound of cherries and a pound and a half of grapes cost $9; the cherries were gone before we reached home. There is a brightness to the sweet of fruit that is never cloying. It is summer. I bought sundresses and open-toed flats. Should we go to IKEA this weekend or wait until the Red Hook one opens next week? My intern asked me what my secret talent is; I said that I don't have one. (This was a lie, so I mumbled about writing things.) (I could never say, I am a writer. I am not working on a novel. I am not working on anything, except work, sort of. I think I am stagnating.) (Please, don't let me stagnate.) Two or three nights ago, I emerged from the train station just as the heat-breaking rain was ending, and a cool breeze came down Eastern Parkway, and all the people coming up from underground sighed together in pleasure.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just Pick Up and Keep Going

My life is really full right now, and I apologize for the lax posting schedule. I'm skipping the end-of-May update and will just update at the end of this month. That's usually my strategy for these kinds of things, when possible: don't try to get caught up, lest you get overwhelmed and fall further behind. Just pick up and keep going.

I'm in a similar position with my actual finances, mostly because my computer is giving me no end of trouble. The battery is dead, and the charger is dubious--I think I just need to suck it up and have them replaced, in the same vein as the previous item: don't keep pretending that you're going to live with an obstacle that's clearly proving a deterrent to getting the things you need to do done. Just change what needs to be changed and move on. I'm getting the battery replaced tomorrow, and then I'm going home and updating my finances. I think I'm still within the right spending range, but it's tight, definitely.

(For me, the real cost of moving has been food. Because I've had so little kitchen access, and no pots and pans and dishes until two days ago, I've been buying every meal out, and we all know how expensive that can be. I'm going grocery shopping today. I'm happy to eat omelets and chickpea salad for dinner for the next week. I actually kind of think that would be delightful.)

In a similar vein, I'm setting myself a deadline: if I haven't listed the four pairs of shoes, one dress, one blazer, and one pair of jeans I've earmarked for eBay sales by the end of this weekend, I'm taking them to iSoldIt! on Monday. Period. End of story.

In a blog news update, you'll notice I dropped Google's text ads (the second I got to the payout amount) and picked up BlogHer (definitely prettier, and pays per impression rather than per click). We'll see how it goes.