Monday, December 15, 2008

In A One-Horse Runaway Sleigh!

The gifts are half-bought, the bills are mostly paid, and the financial well has run dry. This last paycheck was nice and hefty (relatively), but all of it went to the wolves at the door. It's not going to be a skimpy Christmas at the ol' Keiser house, but it's not going to be bountiful by any stretch. The kids are pretty well taken care of with only one or two (rather important) odds and ends to get, but I usually get Sonya something huge on her list every year. I've usually sold one of my instruments or used quartet gig money to get it, but I've been so busy, I haven't had time to hustle up a buyer or eBay any of the remaining, dwindling orchestra in my shed. As for quartet gigs, most of what we've done latley have been freebies. We have a paying gig this weekend, but that money's slated to fix the heat in my car, as is the unexpected money for the use of my picture of my French Fry costume from Flicker (see previous post).

This means tightening my financial belt and putting a padlock on my wallet until the next big paycheck comes in...Christmas Eve. Let me make this very plain - I HATE BUDGETS!!!! I don't go hog wild or make any big purchases. I do, however, nickle-and-dime myself to death. Between fast-food meals going from job-to-job, morning coffee, and the evil cigarettes, I can easily go through $50 a week in pretty damned unnecessary expenses without even thinking about it. This week, I have put my bank card in the dark recesses of my wallet (necessitating thoughtful, rather than reflexive use of it). This usually makes a BIG difference, as the additional 2 seconds it would take me to dig it out usually slay the "gotta have it" demons.

I don't spend recklessly. I buy clothes at Steve & Barry's and other purveyors of cheaply made, foreign crap, I compare price-per-ounce prices at the grocery store, I drool over impulse buys and walk on buy, I dig through clearance racks, and I usually only buy clothes of the barest function when absolutely necessary.

I do have a weakness for bottles of Diet Coke and comics, though. I usually "treat"myself to about $20 in comics a month and a Diet Coke in the car. I don't "treat myself" to things like iPhones, techno gadgets, new shoes or even a fance ice-scraper for the car. Still, these days, I have to watch every penny. Sonya is big on that and I often resent her when she suggests I reighn in my discretionary spending, as I don't think I do much. Thinking about it, though, the nickle-and-dime stuff has been addin up a lot.

So, my pre-New Year's resolution is to watch myself more (mostly out of sheer necessity). The bank card stays in the dark corner on my wallet, work on cash only whenever possible, and pause before adding wnything to my shopping cart.

God, I hate budgets...

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