Saturday, October 29, 2011

the state of my things

Y'all, I am so poor.

Somehow this summer became the most expensive summer other than the wedding.
I had some two cavities filled (I'm on the husband's insurance, which covered more than half),
I bought some much-needed shoes (three pairs, for work and not),
I bought several train tickets and air tickets for work (which is reimbursed but after I pay the credit card bill),
I got new glasses (I hadn't gotten new frames in SEVEN YEARS, and the whole thing was under $150; I also got new contacts which were covered by insurance),
I spent a lot on our vacation (but the husband spent even more),
I bought clothes at the outlet mall (I now have two new pairs of jeans: I've had the same two pairs for 4 and 7 years, so I think some new ones are well-deserved).

I haven't been able to catch up on my credit card bills--I pay a big chunk, and then somehow I end up charging almost the same amount again. This happened when I first moved to NYC (except even more), and it took a year to get clear of that and get my expenses under control. And that was with an actual salary!

A couple weeks ago was my one-year anniversary at my job. Which is great--I love the people that I work with, the work is interesting and varied. However, I do not have a salary--I'm an hourly consultant, which means I have to pay my own taxes. I'm clearing less than $2000 a month (many months far less)--less than what I made per paycheck that first year teaching. If I were living in NYC by myself on this money...well, I couldn't and I would have moved back to Washington.

Happily, the husband makes real money and we split our shared expenses by percentage rather than by dollar amount. Which leaves some money for my own expenses...which keep outpacing the incoming dollars.

The other day I suddenly thought to myself--wait a minute, I'm making less than $30,000 a year, I'll get a huge refund! I can use that to help pay for an incredible trip I found out about! All my problems will be solved! Then I crashed down to earth and remembered that we're married filing jointly, so my paltry pittance is added to the boy's relatively giant pile of cash. So the government doesn't care how poor I am and they'll be keeping all my tax money after all. I started feeling panicky and seriously depressed about my situation. So far I've just been trying not to think too much about it, and maybe I haven't been strict enough in restraining spending.

Sigh. It sucks. Especially because I wanted to finally get some framing done on things that have been waiting for years. Getting things professionally framed is a very expensive, grown-up thing to do. Hence, I've never done it! I have a beautiful print from Prague (FIVE YEARS AGO) that needs framing, an Aboriginal Australian painting (from four years ago), and we got a little painting in Greece earlier this year too. These have been sitting in corners for YEARS and for pete's sake, it's time to get them up on the walls already! And I was ready to suck it up and just get them done! But holy crap, there's just no money for it after all.

One thing that I am proud of is the clutter-busting. A week or two (or more? I've lost track) I got more work done clearing out some piles. That means, of course, those piles have become giveaway piles, so they're sitting somewhere else. But it's on its way out! I promise!

There is still a lot of work to do. At least decluttering is free.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Sounds like a great time to have a kid! HA HA. Major write-off...
But seriously, I feel your pain. It takes forever to catch up. Why don't you file married but separate? Have you run the numbers? Because of the kids, it didn't pay for us to do that but since you don't have any, you might have better luck.