This post could have many other titles, such as:
The night I ate Ramen
My trip home
I had one more surprise visit home this past weekend. My sister is in the Air Force and was home for the first time since November and it was the only time all year our whole family would be together. It was great to have lots of quality family time and get out of the brutal city for a while. I have pictures but I'll make that another post because right now I have bigger fish to fry.
One of the most eye opening parts of being home was the cost of living. My dad and I went to Perkins one morning for breakfast. My platter of bacon, eggs and a belgin waffle cost $4.99. My jaw dropped to the ground. In New York my orange juice alone would cost $4.99 if not more. As my dad pointed out, I'm living in a Mercedes world when I can barely afford my old '95 Saturn. He's very right.
It crossed my mind in the past 24 hours that I could drop everything and by the end of the month move home. I could stop living out of my means and work to pay off some debt, build some savings and be in a much better financial situation with my parents support. It's been stressful to say the least.
Originally I thought I would be here for a year lease starting Sept. 1 and then I would move on since I know New York is not for me. At this point though, I will completely drown in a year. I will be so far in debt I doubt I could work my way out and I wouldn't have much to show for it. So after a few long talks with the parents and deciding that giving up at the end of the month would be a little too harsh, I'm giving it 6 more months.
It wont be an easy 6 months, I know that going into it. But I'm not finished with my New York adventure and I owe it to myself to try. This blog will definitely benefit from the next 6 months as far as content goes because of my serious need to save money.
Starting tonight, August 2, 2011, I have $15 in my checking account, $17 cash and $1000.88 in savings. I have almost all of my September bills paid/accounted for except for part of one student loan. Not super but if I try hard I can make it. Tomorrow, M and I are going to start constructing a newer, cheaper lifestyle and plan for the next 6 months. We are going to start trying to find an apartment that's in our price range or maybe we'll find a third roommate to make it cheaper. That $1000 in savings is being saved for the deposit of wherever we find. I'm going to do some research to find another job, maybe something I can do online in the evenings so I can work it around my waitressing job. I have plenty of time just hanging out so I might as well be productive with it. I'm going to be smarter about my meals, grocery shopping and any purchases I might need (which really shouldn't be much, I have more than I think I do. There is a big difference between want and need and I'm still learning). I'm going to work hard, take advantage of what income I can get and just learn to live with less.
Today my flight arrived around 1pm (long story) and I went straight to work. Instead of buying lunch on the way I finished the bag of chips I had brought on the plane and I luckily found a tray of leftover breakfast pastries and swiped half a muffin. I was meeting with M tonight to discuss my financial situation. We typically would meet for dinner but we couldn't spend money so we made dinner at her house. I brought a pack of Ramen (another long story for a new post soon) I happened to have at my desk and she made eggs and we had a good productive conversation. It's nice having someone in a similar boat, as you as much as I dont wish financial stress to anyone.
When I got home tonight I used only what I had in my cupboards. I had some spaghetti left and ingredients to make a new batch of meat sauce so I took the time to whip that up. I am pleased with myself for working with what I have and just learning to do without. Tomorrow I will not get Dunkin Donuts, in fact I wont get it all week again. It's a want, not a need and I can/will survive without it.
I get paid on Friday and I want to have a game plan of what to do with my extra $189 for spending money. I want to stretch it to really get the most out of it without feeling deprived. I want to save some, get enough groceries, be somewhat social and most of all not be completely broke at the end of the two weeks. That amount needs to become routine and I need to learn how.
As a side note, M found out she owes taxes (file taxes online people!) so she will be doing a guest post soon since she is starting to see what it's like to be financially stressed and learning how to be frugal. She says her main goal is to be funny and I know she won't disappoint.