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14 July 2006 @ 08:40 pm
There are times when I am impressed with what I can do. This is not one of them.  
The Great Expenditure Study of 2006 hit a rock early this morning. It appears that the online system only saves transaction history up to a point, so because I relied on that and did not keep paper records or a personal file in addition, I only have two full months of data to work with. Despite that, I went forward with the project and I can conclude that I am way too close to the edge.

June was barely within budget if by "budget" you mean spending less than you bring in, but May was over by three dollars. Three dollars may not seem like much, but the truly troublesome thing about these figures is that I do not currently pay for my cell phone, insurance, internet access, phone line, or domain. If I were, I'd be completely screwed. The fact that I've hit the edge without covering these major components is of great concern.

I wanted to save money so badly, so how did I manage not to!? I have long considered myself fairly frugal though I am prone to impulse, and with a father as miserly as mine is, it is almost hard to believe that I am spending beyond my means. But there the fact is. I must identify areas of spending that must be eliminated or reduced. There's a small voice in the back of my head that says to me, "But Anne, compared to what some people do ..." But I cannot be comforted by that, for compared to what I bring in, this is not going to fly.

Perhaps it was innocence. Ten dollars seemed so big at first, double digits to a person who had only seen minimum wage given for her efforts. Now it seems as though my income is insufficient to support the lifestyle to which I am accustomed. Funny, isn't it, how eating little other than bagels, carrots, cereal, and one-dollar microwave dinners can add up to over $200 a month? There is naught to do but cut corners at the moment. To the library instead of the bookstore! I intend to visit Second City for the Wildwood excursion at the end of this month, but after that ... the once-a-month trips are a significant drain on my account. Anyone want to visit New City for a change? Bueller? Bueller? No new games or DVDs, not even the ten dollar ones at the grocery store. No visits to JoAnn's unless absolutely necessary to finish something. Visit Panera Bread only once a month. Bring water with you from home while out and about. Dump the coffee habit. At least the summer's weddings are over for me, so I will no longer have to step into clothing or shoes stores and be tempted to look girly. Be satisfied with shabby. Also, no being stupid and using this as an excuse to regress in nutritional matters.

I am pretty angry with myself for having refused to look at this for so long, and disgusted that an income which once seemed to promise freedom is in fact just shy of. I feel like an idiot. I should not be so upset, as any damage I have done is minimal and soon fixed, and at least I finally opened my eyes rather than continuing as I was. But damn, Anne, you were supposed to be so smart.

A Couple Major Lessons Learned:
1. You cannot trust anyone to keep your records for you.
2. To think of ten dollars as a minute amount is a grave error when dealing with a paycheck of this scale.
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: "Sorrowful Bravery," Magna Carta: Crimson Stigmata