This austerity plan is kinda hard (she says, whining). While the Greeks march, I sit at home wondering how to have fun on zero budget. It's actually not all that bad, yet.
I've spent the last month or so looking at my budget every which way possible and have cut lots of things out and reduced others and I've already said no to a variety of activities that would've normally been in my 'fun' budget. While cutting away, feeling groovy and a little too sure of myself and my goal to reduce half of my debt by 2013, I, of course, got shot down a couple of notches by crap that I have really no control over. I got my January mortgage bill in the mail the other day and for no reason I can see, Bank of America is tacking on $10 a month to my escrow payment. Why for, I ask? I was going to give them a jingle but figure that will be a colossal waste of time. I think it's because they believe my taxes are going to increase in 2012. Whatever, there's not a damn thing I can do about it.
The other setback is that I've desperately needed a new bed for at least a year now. I've been sleeping on an almost 20-year-old mattress left over from my last relationship. I think even my dog Cadence was over it as he's been sleeping on the love seat in my bedroom instead of in his rightful place next to my head. After a bit of research, I purchased the cheapest but highest quality bed I could afford and will be making interest-free payments of $65 a month for all of 2012. Fuck. I am sleeping better but still - fuck. It's not like I can buy a used bed - ewwww.
One way I save money is to buy Groupon or Living Social coupons for things I already would be buying. I saved a bunch on Christmas gifts, have saved on food, a massage, entry into the Denver Zoo for me and my junior partner, etc. I use these social buying coupons like I do pretty much everything else - if I need it, I'll buy it, look at it or pursue it. Otherwise, I'm not all that interested. I don't go to the library unless I'm in need of a specific book, I don't troll the Internet unless I'm looking for something in particular - the definition of a particular word or phrase, where something is or how old someone is, Ryan Gosling, for example. (I will say that since I've discovered Pinterest I am trolling a bit more but I'm still looking for stuff - ways to make something cool, ideas for work, etc.)
Since the advent of the cell phone I've heard various people complain about 'not having time' to deal with whatever piece of technology is being talked about. I recently heard this about Groupon when I mentioned a great deal to someone at work. This person said they didn't have time to deal with Groupon, 'it's too much work.' You get the idea. I've always been annoyed by this statement in regards to technology - or anything for that matter. It's not like someone is holding a gun to your head telling you to buy an iPhone, download iTunes and buy the latest Beyonce record. Like most things in life (at least for now), using technology is a choice. If it doesn't fit into my life and somehow make it better, I'm not doing it. YOU TOO, have this choice! Really, it's just laziness. I can say this because I've been this person - slow to sign up and check out something new because I'm afraid I won't understand how it works. This is valid but really no excuse nowadays. You can figure pretty much anything out as long as you have access to an Internet connection - library anyone?
Happy New Year!
(Sidenote - today, I'm writing this from a local coffee shop where some old dude sitting across from me talked to himself for about an hour as he read the paper. He got ready to leave, put the paper aside and proceeded to zip up his pants and buckle his belt which had been undone the entire time. Weird.)