As unemployment numbers continue to inch toward double-digit, I thought I’d talk about money again. I can’t help it. I’m consumed by it. I’m a little brainwashed because I work for a reputable bank–a bank that cares about its customers more than anything else. We have a vision and values handbook that employees are supposed to read. Our business is centered around doing what’s right for the customer.
I got into a heated debate with someone the other day. I insisted that people need to keep their spending in check. Don’t buy it if you don’t have the money. Exactly like the SNL skit. Her retort? Don’t loan to people who can’t afford to pay it back. That’s sort of true, but seriously, people need to take some accountability for their actions. That’s like telling a grocery clerk not to sell food to a fat person. Come on, people! Have some self control. A lot of people are in trouble now because they lied about their jobs, their income. They lived beyond their means.
I’m not in financial straits. I’m not going to lose my job. I will get my bonus. My salary will increase. Yet still…
I do not go to Starbucks. If I go to Starbucks, it’s because someone invites me and I think, “Sure, it’ll be cool to walk down together and catch up.” I drink a tiny kid’s pack of chocolate soy milk every morning. It’s from Costco. It probably costs 50 cents. That’s my breakfast! I should add that I also drink a lot of tea until lunch time. Celestial Seasonings white tea. The kind that comes 20 to a pack.
I eat Lean Cuisines for lunch and dinner. I just returned from Lucky’s and pretty much bought out their supply. My cart was full of them.
The guy standing next to me in line sighed, “You know, gas is cheaper, but food is now so much more expensive.”
I lit up, “No! Not these. These Lean Cuisines are only $1.99. Lunch and dinner. They’re great!”
He laughed, “Well you’re quite the chef, huh?”
My Lean Cuisines have gotten cheaper. On sale, they used to be $2.50. They’re now $2! I stuffed my freezer full of them when I came back from Luckys. Then I took out the two packs of ice I have in there and counted how many more I can stuff in there. I counted 10. So I’m going back to Lucky’s to buy another 10. I know, call me crazy, but that’s $2 for a good meal.
Every day, I’ll get a bag of chips or a chocolate chip cookie. $1.
As an offset, I’ll admit, there are some things I can’t resist. I do go out for happy hour, drinks, brunches, and dinner with friends. I tell myself that I’d be totally rich if I didn’t drink. And, I like to buy really nice things: clothes, jewelry, dresses in particular.
I collect and use all my coupons from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Everyone needs to check this place out. The one in San Francisco recently started selling toiletries. They take all coupons–multiple ones at a time–even if they’re expired!
I take the bus to work every day.
My mortgage is $2,000. My HOAs are $100. I have a washer/dryer. I have parking. I get a huge refund every year because of my place. But I also pay almost $6,000 a year in property taxes 🙁
My car insurance through Geico is super cheap. My company is taking on my phone bill and transferring it to my work Blackberry. That’s $60-70 I’m going to save every month! I do not dry clean my clothes. Every dry cleaning item goes through Dryel in my dryer. I splurge on a subscription to Rhapsody for all my music needs at $12 a month. I try to put every expense possible on my credit card to accumulate the points for cash back.
This guy I dated in sales is not doing well financially because of the economy. In his words, “You can’t get fired when you aren’t getting paid.” I think about his membership at all these exclusive clubs in the city, the places he likes to eat out, the fact that he likes to pay for himself as well as the group, the car he drives, the suits he wears, the vacations. That is all going to end.
It should be that way. People all need to learn how to save.