Money

June figures out where all her $ went

Of late, I’ve been better about money. I pay all the bills, have cash left over, contribute to my four oh wonk. But man, somehow I screwed up this pay period. Yesterday I had $17 to my name. I got paid today, thank heavens, so I’m flush again. I’m rolling on a floor covered in $50 bills as we speak.

But yesterday when I had my $17, I was out of everything. I was 100% totally for sure out of cat food. Like, there was no faking it with a little dry food and some tuna. No. Out.

I was also out of water, and I know this is ridic, but drinking from the faucet now makes me heave. I have been doing it the past few days because no choice, but heave. And the filter on my fridge has put on its red light, like Roxanne, so I couldn’t drink from that, either. (How the hell do you change your fridge filter?)

Also food. I was foodless Joe Jackson. I had some spinach and some frozen fruit and popcorn to my name. That seemed not adequate, unless there’s a Chef Tell out there who can whip something up from that and I’m just stupid.

So I minced to the store nervously last night, hoping to add up grocery prices IN MY MIND, with my MATHS, and not go over $17. I got six cans of cat food (one can each for dinner, one can each for breakfast). I got a large bottle of water. And I got a delicious Lean Cuisine. I brought everything up to the checkout clerk I like, this guy who wears false eyelashes and has pointy fake nails that are always an absurd color.

“How you doin’, honey?”

I told the clerk my story, as I am wont to do. The clerk had mostly sage-green fingernails with one silvery-gold glitter one this time.

“Ten dollars, honey!”

“Wooooo!” we both said. Fortunately I now grocery shop sort of in the hood, and I see people paying with their food stamps, and I’ve seen people put in their debit card and not have enough and put all the food away and just get the beer. At my OLD grocery store where everyone was so snobby and, you know, employable and everything, and that never, ever happened.

Anyway at this store it’s perfectly acceptable that I’d have $17 before payday.

My point of all this is that macaroni and cheese Lean Cuisine and a spinach salad isn’t very delicious for dinner, and also that I was curious about WHERE THE HELL my money went this time, so I looked it up.

The first thing I did when I got paid way back on March 15, the Ides of March, was to set aside $350 so I can pay the woman who’s recovering my chair.

Dear Woman Who’s Recovering My Chair:
I had to …dip into savings. Please don’t finish that chair yet. Love, June

I have all my bills set up for auto payments with the exception of the water bill, which refuses to let you do that because it’s 1952 over at the water company. I’m always horrified I’ll forget to pay it and come home to unresponsive faucets.

The first of the month my mortgage comes out, and on the 15th, all the other bills are paid. So the stupid gas bill gets paid, and I don’t even WANT gas.

The Duke Energy bill gets paid, and I’m always out of energy, so why I gotta pay that? Also? When you call there? The recording is this very professional-sounding woman who then says, “Thank you for calling Duke Innergy.” People in the South really don’t hear the difference between “e” sounds and “i.”

I also have the payments for my internet and phone taken out. And that pesky car and pesky auto insurance.

This month I also had to pay my lawn guy extra because we’d done nothing all winter and there was bush trimming to do (not a euphemism) and edging to do (not a euphemism) and then I bought flowers to plant in the yard now that spring is here.

Total for all my bills and lawn stuff? $888.

Then also too I had two doctor bills. I found out THE HARD WAY that my copay at my new, not-dead, not-quitting so far, not-banning-me doctor (if you just got here? I have trouble keeping doctors) is A HUNDRED DOLLARS A VISIT.

And? AND? I have to pay the chiropractor $55 a visit. Fortunately we’re at the end of our rainbow and I won’t have to go so much anymore.

Total for those two things? $265.

I believe we’re starting to see our problem, here.

Also? I’m supposed to be on this diet, and every morning I’m drinking smoothies–hence the having spinach and frozen fruit part of this scenario–and then making salads and cooking a damn chicken breast and so on, but MAN did I eat a lot of takeout this month. I went to Jimmy John’s–and I don’t even LIKE Jimmy John’s, but on days I’m really busy I order it to come to work, and once it’s delivered, I take it and scream home and eat it while I let the dog out.

I went to Panera. Three times. I went to WENDY’s. I ordered PIZZA.

Say, why hasn’t this diet worked?

Then when Marianne was here, I bought a vintage lavender cardigan for $18, and on that same day I apparently also spent $20 at some other vintage store and I can’t for the life of me recall what I bought. I doubt a robber stole my identity and bought something at a vintage store for $20 and stopped. Although that’s the kind of robber I’d be.

Finally, I had my monthly filling up the car with gas for $29, and I know you abhor me for having to get gas once a month but you too could live in a marginal neighborhood and have a six-minute commute. Save on gas and be conveniently located to meth!

So there we go. There it is. I guess the only thing I can do is avoid doing shit to my lawn and having doctor visits in the same pay period. I could just eat the grass and stay healthy and kill two birds.

Thank you for joining me on this trip through my checkbook.

Flushly,
June

P.S. I know the last time we talked about growing out my gray. I know you aren’t going to believe me–I don’t quite believe it myself. But I got my roots done three weeks ago tomorrow and I just got a ruler and measured my roots: My hair has grown half an inch in three weeks. HALF AN INCH of roots already! So I’ll start growing it out for reals. See what happens.

42 thoughts on “June figures out where all her $ went

  1. Oh how you make me laugh. Paying less for a short commute AND being close to meth is hilarious and well said!

    We never changed our fridge filter and lived her for like 9 years. Then redid the kitchen and got new appliances. That’s one fricking pricey way to avoid a filter change.

    Also I would have a hard time recalling what $20 I spent on clothes somewhere too.

    By the way, my groceries this morning were $285 for our family of 8 people. I told the bagger I must have forgotten some stuff because I usually spend closer to $350. Of course he thought I was nuts because he had just filled 2 carts with our vitals for the week.

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  2. Many of us, including me, are in the same financial stress boat. That feeling of not being able to pay for one’s groceries at the store is a well-known feeling and sucks. Remember, Pieps, that it happens to most normal people and cashiers are not remotely mad at you but rather because it means they have to do something complicated at the register and usually don’t know how, so they are frustrated with the machine and the process of dealing with the machine. I don’t believe they give a second thought to us, I think we just feel like they probably do.
    I too am astonished at how much money goes to groceries. Jesus.

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  3. I am not so sure that what you say about the refrig filter is correct. Just like with a Brita – a dirty filter might just give you more junk if you continue to drink from it. So, if you cannot change it, don’t drink from it either.
    However – probably nothing wrong with it for a while is you live alone as you are not using it so much like a big family.The filters expire by a timer- not by their condition. 🙂

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  4. I’m OK for now and there is life insurance coming but only enough to last for a year, and I need several things right off the bat, like eyeglasses, a new bed, (the old one broke befire he died), and vet trips x 3. I can get widow survivor benefits in October when I turn 60. Ima sell the house and figure out where to go, with a sister and their families or a cheap geezer village. So many decisions.

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  5. Oh man, I remember the poor days after the Great Recession of 2008. I’d bring a calculator to the grocery store with me and add up everything on my list. There were so many times I’d have to choose between something like toilet paper and a whole chicken. Many months where we’d have to decide if we wanted TV/internet/phone or gas/water or electricity because we couldn’t afford to pay the bills for each utility. And yes, each utility was shut off at one time or another. We cut the lock off our water meter when we found out it would only be a $35 penalty. I drove a banged up car for over a year because it took that long to save up the $500 deductible to get it fixed.

    I always saved our loose change and there were plenty of times that loose change would be enough to pay for something to make a decent meal with leftovers.

    There’s a subreddit on Reddit called /r/EatCheapAndHealthy Lots of good recipes and tips.

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  6. Takeout is amazing for blowing food budgets. Lentils are basically the opposite. (if you eat them, that is; if they sit, sadly, in your cupboard, not so much. But: fiber! protein! other nutrients! cheap! – but they do need help in the form of a bit of salt, a bit of acidic something [tomato? vinegar? lemon juice?] or spice/herbs or curry or whatever, and a bit of fat, because otherwise you stop eating them because they are boring little brown blobs and then the whole sadly-in-the-cupboard thing happens.)

    I’m absurdly excited to see what your hair does when you stop coloring it – I suspect good things, because your hair texture is already amaaaazing.

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  7. I hate looking to see where all of my money goes. It’s to walmart. I think it would be cheaper to eat out everyday.
    But when I go to walmart I always buy something that I probably won’t cook but I will have just in case I don’t feel like cooking a meal. Like a frozen lasagna or pizza. That way I might be hungry but there is something, I won’t starve. I hate paying bills, I can do so much more with that money, possibly take it to the casino and double it, shop for shit I don’t need, buy puppy toys that he doesn’t need. Unfortunately the Bill’s never end. Even without a house note the Bill’s keep coming.
    Also, $100.00 for a copay seems like a lot, is that until your deductible is met?

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  8. Hi June, I have a feeling that your hair will look lovely grown out to natural gray. You can always color it again later on if gray isn’t your thing.

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  9. Money shortage is the worst stress ever, it ranks right up there with health issue problems. It stressed me when you were doing the math and you said you got six cans of cat food, I was thinking that’s $6 right there! Then the water and other items. Oh my goodness. If we didn’t have to eat? We would have sooo much more money and time. AND we would be so slim. I have discovered that Aldi has fresh vegetables and fruits and their bagged salads (yes, I’m super lazy) are much fresher and cheaper than other grocery stores. The fruits and vegetables aren’t the problem when I shop, it’s all the goodies I discover at Aldi. The chocolate is the FIRST item when you enter the door, who can resist that when your buggy (grocery cart) is empty. That’s why I’m chubby. Since I’ve never colored my hair, other than once, I have no idea what it cost to have that done, I’m guessing that will help the budget, a lot and free up the time it takes to keep up with the color.
    Tee

    P.S. The refrigerator filter is not that critical, the only concern, if it clogs, because the filter is so full of whatever it filters out of the water, that it overflows. That is my only concern, mainly because I have hardwood floors in my kitchen.

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    1. I am not so sure that what you say about the refrig filter is correct. Just like with a Brita – a dirty filter might just give you more junk if you continue to drink from it. So, if you cannot change it, don’t drink from it either.
      However – probably nothing wrong with it for a while is you live alone as you are not using it so much like a big family.The filters expire by a timer- not by their condition. 🙂

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  10. I feel like I’m at the point where I spend too much at the grocery store. Like, I shouldn’t get the bean salad off the salad bar, I should put it together myself for half the cost and maybe I should figure out all the stuff the cool vegetarians say you get get so cheap at ALDI. I don’t think I am eating out much, but I think I am just getting the eating out stuff at the grocery store. I am an accountant. I don’t work in personal finance, but I LOVE budget talk!

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    1. Sam’s has these salads in a bag that are right under 3.00 and they have kale. They are delicious, I don’t even notice that I’m eating kale.

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  11. The fridge filter (at least on mine) is pretty easy to change. In the upper right hand corner in the back there’s a round thing you just unscrew. I order generic ones on Amazon that are about a third less than the brand name ones.
    Also, the grow out on the gray thing is pretty awful, but you’ll be happy once it’s done! Mine grows quickly, too but it still took forever.

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    1. The filter for my fridge is in front at the very bottom. And I buy my filters off of Amazon for a fraction of the cost if I bought them at a regular store.

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  12. Nice record keeping, June. I’m impressed. It is so hard not to be madly jealous of people who have things handed to them like some ex-people. Remembering those days of worrying that the cashier will call out an amount that my cash cannot meet makes my stomach scrinch up into the teeniest tiniest ball and my hands begin to sweat. That memory never goes away.

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  13. I’m so jealous that you filled up your gas tank for $29. When I do that, it’s $50ish, and that’s for two weeksish.

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    1. I always resented Ned’s giant salary PLUS a free car PLUS free insurance PLUS free gas, but really as things go, I get off easy on the gas front in this life.

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  14. I was nervous just reading about that trip to the grocery store! About a month ago, I went to the store later than usual. As I was standing in line, I remembered I hadn’t moved money to my checking account. I did it on my phone and a message popped up telling me transfers after 9 pm will deposit the next day. I told the cashier the transaction might not go through. It didn’t. I had to call my husband to ask if he had cash, drive home (5 minutes thank goodness) and get cash to take back to the store. I was so embarrassed and now I’m a nervous wreck every time I buy groceries. I swear that cashier is not as friendly as he used to be. Last week, my card initially didn’t work. I panicked even though I knew I had money. It went through the second time, but I was still embarrassed and sweaty.

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  15. I decided to stop coloring and go gray to save money and avoid the chemicals. My “stylist” (he has a hissy if you call him anything else) had a hissy about that (“you won’t have pretty gray like your mom’s was”) but I insisted. So he finally said okay but wanted to do highlights to blend it in. So I am going gray, with blonde highlights, but it costs the same and I still have the chemicals. Of course now he likes it and almost thinks it was his idea.

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  16. I think the filter red light is a scam. I let the refrigerator water filter light stay red for 5 years and the water was just fine. When I finally googled “how to change the filter” it was so easy I was embarrassed that I drank red-light water for five years. But on the other hand, no ill effects.

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  17. Money with it’s need for the maths is a huge PITA. I thought I lost $300.00 cash the other day and I was furious with myself, came home after the bank to search for it. I suddenly realized that I had owed $290.00 to the cremation service place for his portion urn , $100.00, (two thirds of a cup of his ashes didn’t fit in the funky kind of cool antique paint pot he’d chosen to rest in). My fingerprint teardrop sterling silver neckace was in too and I owed $190.00 for that . His brother and his wife had given me money in a card at the memorial service to buy it. So there it was. There is something they call widow brain and it gives you brain fog. Money is a huge concern and I had to know I’m not just throwing it away. A lottery win, even just a million, would be so helpful. HA.

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  18. Looking at the checking account transactions is like looking at your call history after a night of drinking…. I find I spend way too much at the grocery store and coffee shop.

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    1. Yes! I was shocked at how much goes to food, and then I’m all, Why so fat. I also am all, Oh, healthy food costs so much. Okay, Junie John’s.

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      1. There is something so wrong that healthy food is so much more expensive. Why can’t we eat $1 cheeseburgers so we can be healthy and rich at the same time?

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      2. I’m so foggy this morning that I thought your “kill two birds” was a scheme to replace the cost of that chicken breast you’re supposed to be cooking every night. This is gonna be a long day . . .

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      3. This is exactly my thought process also. I will balk at paying $3 for a pint of strawberries but if I find Oreos for $3 I do a happy dance and buy 2 packages. It makes no sense.

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        1. It makes sense because you feel like you are getting more Oreos for your buck than strawberries. $3 of strawberries is like 4 strawberries but $3 in Oreos is a lot of Oreos.

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