Debts

Through being Cool.

You are so Cool.

At least thats what you want everyone else to believe. That everything that you snicker and make snide comments about make you superior to every species on the planet. Because its your opinion that matters over every one else’s. We all want to be better than everyone else. Degrade the masses with subliminal messages. Show everyone just what we are all made of. Made up of materialistic every day things, that will make us better than everyone else. We go out of our way to find these special things just to prove we had it first. Being cool means you have everything and know everything, because that’s what makes you special.

Of course you’re special, you’re so cool.

Its the shoes that we buy that make us who we are. Its the clothes we wear that shape our self esteem. Its the cars we drive, the homes we live in, and our lifestyles that set us apart from everyone else. Because we are the cool ones that show off our material things that makes us so cool. We are whats new and great in the world and it makes us better than everyone else.  Its our status symbols upon status symbols that prove that we have truly made it. All materialism is just stuff that makes us feel superior to everyone else. Sure you find the coolest bands, the coolest clothes, know all the coolest places, but that just makes you in the know that doesn’t make you any cooler. We are a generation of needing to be somebodies when we are really complete nobodies.

But I need the hottest shoes, the dopest bag, and to drive the sickest car. I need a lifetime of “I am so cool” to make me an ounce of fucking cool. I need to find the newest “it” bag, hear the next best thing, watch the cool as fuck video. I NEED these things because having these things makes me better than everyone else. Knowing all theses things proves I am just as fucking cool as the next person. Just as cool as everyone else. Isn’t that what we all want? To be just like everyone else? We all want these things in our cool-as-fuck world that makes us into completely different people. Because being someone else is better than what we show to the world. I wish I was cool. Cool enough to wear the coolest dopest shit you’ve ever seen. Cool enough to share with the world all my pretty shiny things. Every thing I love everyone else hates. Everything I like is different, unusual, and boring. Every thing I want for myself is kept privately for fear of being shunned by the world. Because no matter how much money I make, it’s never enough. For every dope thing thats “dope” to me, people don’t seem to care about anyway. Every thing I have is just my attempts at being cool, which makes me fail miserably. We are not school children trying to one up one another in the school yard. We are not roaming the halls of our imaginative high school. We’re grown ups, who are still growing up. We’re human beings trying to live. More importantly we are not children anymore showing off whats cool in front of the masses at show and tell. What does it matter what I like that you don’t like? What does it matter if the mainstream is more fun then the underground? What makes cool so fucking cool anyway?

You reach that point in your life when growing up is inevitable. Everything that you once held dear to your heart all finds a way to disappear. All the things you once loved starts becoming childish and juvenile. I am through being cool. Through pretending that everything that I like is suppose to be what everyone else likes. Through spending money to impress complete nobodies into believing I am a somebody. Through wishing for material things in my attempt to impress you. New shoes doesn’t change who I am because even wearing new shoes doesn’t change the numbers in my bank account. Material things don’t make me cool because the more we try being cool, makes us less than fucking cool. I don’t need a closet of beautiful things to make me special. I don’t need to drive the coolest car to make me a somebody. Because reality is we are all complete nobodies. Who are we to make people believe that having these things makes us better than everyone else? All the things we love are made by people who have nothing. Some days I wish I had nothing just so I can appreciate everything I have surrounding me.

I am done pretending because reality is I am not cool. Not even an ounce of cool, not even a smidgen of cool. I am just me. I can live with that, why can’t you?

 

Food vs. Debt.

The moment you believe you have everything all figured out is the moment you realize you don’t. For the most part I have my debt under control. However, Debt is always that dark cloud that looms over me. Debt is a funny word with horrible consequences. Who would have ever thought that a word so innocent looking could hurt so much. Its like a bad relationship you can’t escape from. No matter where  you turn, your Debt is right behind you. Taunting you, ridiculing you, and overall just proving to you that you can never get over them.

DEBT in all it’s magnificent, no mercy glory.

I personally hate being in debt. Well lets be really honest, who honestly likes being in debt? Any which way I can pinch a few pennies to reclaim my balance in my life, I just about do. While I have drastically cut out a lot of unnecessary spending, I keep finding myself missing a few hundred dollars. Where exactly does my money go to? I have stopped excess shopping. I have stopped purchasing countless clothes, accessories, shoes, and beauty supplies. I have even stopped purchasing books, notebooks, and supplies. Where else could my money be going? Every dollar is accounted for. I have budgeted all of my expenses and narrowed them down to all the necessities. But what on Earth can be taking a few hundred dollars. While I do put some money into savings, where does the rest of my money go? Thats when it really donned on me.

Food.

I have had problems with food for as long as I can remember and I am no stranger to talking about it on this blog. However, while I have my food problems under control, I cannot manage to control my stress eating. A majority of my recent weight gain is all due primary because of stress. When I have anxiety or if my depression hits an all time low, I eat. Somewhere in my crazy mind, eating relaxes me. I love to eat just as much as the next person. On top of that, it has taken me a long time to be okay with eating. The truth of the matter is, I don’t just eat, I binge. If I am having a crappy day, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy countless things, primarily junk food. Most days I can calm the nerves but once my anxiety hits it’s back to the bottom. It doesn’t stop there, it’s the eating out, its the drinking, its the fancy coffee here and there. It’s not just once a week. Most times its 5 times in one week. Then the next week comes and it starts all over again. While my savings shows me that I am saving money, my bank account shows that I cannot control my spending urges when food is involved.

Depending on season, time of day, and even weather, on average I spend about 100 dollars a week on food. This including the sit down meals, fast food, trips to the grocery store for snacks, coffee from coffee shops, etc. This doesn’t including the tips and gas. On average 100 dollars a week is why I cannot have nice things. I am losing money all for the sake of a good time and my sanity. Instead of finding creative ways to curb my anxiety, I turn to the one thing that always comforts me, food. Food to me is this huge comfy security blanket that I count for everything. If I am having a bad day, it makes it all go away. It makes the feelings of self doubt disappear into the feeling of no self control. I can’t control the urges. As much as I think I have everything under control, I find myself like clockwork holding on to the things I shouldn’t have. It’s easy to say that I can stop at any time. That I can easy calm my nerves and find ways to use all this crazy energy for other things. Just when I am at my weakest moments, I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. While I applaud myself for my efforts in saving money, its the little vices I can’t help but do. A $100 dollars a week does eventually add up. It shows that while I have stopped purchasing things I don’t need, I still can’t stop the urge to shop for something.

In a way I have transferred my need for things into my need for food. Just as clothes and accessories were excuses for temporary happiness, now food has become that way. Everything is a work in progress and while I am happy that my love for food has returned, I still can’t help but use food as another crutch. I am not saving money if I am still buying unnecessary things. I am not being healthy if I continue to use food as my stress reliever. Lately I have found myself avoiding grocery stores when I am feeling down. I have to second guess my need to get fast food, and limited my coffee drinks to at least once a week. While I still have my urges to buy snacks, its not as drastic as it was months prior. While I still have problems dealing with anxiety and depression, I have to find creative ways to get this energy out. At least I know where my money is going.

Food 0
Debt $400

UGH.

Blonde Ambition.

There comes a moment in your life where you need a change. Something to go from invisible to visible. The years of playing the disappearing act and wanting that need to reappear. Better, different, someone other than how people remember you. You change your clothes, you change your attitude and if you’re drastic enough you change your hair color. I am all for every aspect of change, including in the hair department. When you change your hair, you change different aspects of yourself.

New beginnings and this constant need for change. If you change your insides you want your outsides to match. Finding myself shedding my skin from one extreme to another. Adapting these different versions of how I want to be and how I want to conduct myself. I want the change because it’s the change thats making me feel this way. When you spend these moments disappearing, all you want is that moment to reappear. The disappearing act you made of your life, now is the time for your comeback. I have done everything humanly possible to my hair all in the name of “new beginnings”. I have chopped it in different variations of layers, cuts and trims. I have dyed it every color imaginable, and yet I’ve always kept it safe. I’ve always stuck to highlights, honey glows, and if I’m feeling adventurous reds and pinks just for fun. At times you become influenced by your surroundings, you feel a peer pressure from your friends. In the name of growing up and feeling different, you take the advice of various different people.

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There is a whole process that goes into a hair transformation. There’s the “Should I?”, “Can I pull it off?” and then the “Screw it”. I have seen my fair share of “Screw it” with drastic conclusions. Anything then the ordinary, anything then what you see before you. Different, dramatic, drastic. When I decided to go blonde, I jumped off the bridge and did it. At the time I was going through a lot of different emotions and in the in-between stages of growing up and acting grown up. I had a new job, I had moved back home for what seemed like the 100th time, I just wanted something to show for all my new things. On top of everything, I had money. Money saved, money in the back, and more importantly brand new shiny credit cards to take care of everything. I loved it. I still wasn’t grasping the concept of being an adult but still I had money to take me to the next level. It’s amazing what you do in the name of new beginnings and it’s amazing the bullshit things you put up with once people know you have money.

When I went blonde, I thought a new change in hair color was what I needed to be an adult. I had seen countless of my peers go through drastic hair changes and watched their careers change. I watched their lives change from ordinary to extraordinary. I wanted that. I didn’t care how much it cost, I just wanted to see if my insides would mirror image my outsides. If I did all these things, would it change me.  What they don’t tell you in the magazines is how much maintenance goes into a hair change. They don’t tell you how your scalp is going to feel, they don’t tell you how your hair would feel, and more importantly they don’t tell you how you will feel in the end. I had people telling me it was a great choice and just what I needed to grow. Deep down I hated it. I know it was just hair, but even with a bad haircut I couldn’t just grow out a bad dye job. It is just hair and complaining about it is first world problems. This was my hair, this was my comfort zone of emotions. This was my security blanket of protected emotions. I spent more time obsessing over my hair then changing anything with my life. I spent money on every type of shampoo, conditioner, treatment, product to make my hair feel normal. I didn’t feel like a grown up. If anything I felt like a child hiding from a bad mistake. I watch the new beginning feelings I had tarnish then disappear. While I was more visible to the world, I myself felt invisible. Nobody saw me, they saw a big blob of platinum blonde hair before they even knew who I was. I craved the attention but hated the reactions.

hair

Sometimes in life you have to file things under “Great Idea at the time”. Eventually the going back and forth to get my hair touched up was costing me a fortune. The countless products to make my hair feel like hair again, were putting me in debt. Instead of feeling visible, I found myself disappearing. I put myself into a depression because of how unhappy I was. All the money I had went into making my hair feel like myself again. Everything I was feeling on the inside, wound up making it’s way to my outsides. It wasn’t just the hair, it was this need to appear to be someone I wasn’t. I was so severely unhappy with myself that becoming someone else wasn’t helping either. I needed to fix that. Equipped with a 5 dollar bottle of box dye, I did just that. In a matter of minutes I watched the months of unhappiness, darken into happiness.

While everything I was feeling was deeply rooted by my past, I knew it was a journey to make myself happy again. A hair color wasn’t going to magically change my life for me. I was haunted by the demons of my life that was only handicapping my happiness. All these “new beginnings”, I wanted were never going to work until I changed myself. No haircut, hair color, change of clothes was going to change that. I had to work on myself on the inside and watch it work itself to the outside. Money wasn’t going to solve everything. While the 5 dollar bottle of box dye saved me from myself, it wasn’t a miracle worker. I still had a ways to go, but at that moment I felt okay. That’s all I wanted to feel.

I’m okay, I promise.

Six Hour session from Black Brown to Platinum Blonde:  $235  (not including tip)
Touch up roots, every month: $150 (not including tip)
Shampoo to maintain color: $29.99
Conditioner: $15.99
Deep Conditioning Treatment: $11.99
Blonde Spray Wax: $14.99
Blonde Wax: $9.99
Gas to get to appointments: $40 (appointments were out of town with a professional hair stylist)

 

 

It’s all about the price tag.

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There is no word more frightening to person dealing with debt then the word “SALE”.  While “sale” to the average person means saving a buck or two, to a person with debt it means throwing money away on unnecessary items. I would know, I have fallen victim to the sale trap on multiple occasions. Actually to be completely honest, I have once again fallen victim to the trap! How can anyone say no to 50% off? How can anyone say no to promo codes and coupons? I know very well, I don’t need the items, but I want them.

There we go.

I don’t “need” the items but I “want” them. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The problem with sales isn’t in the saving of money, its in this uncontrollable urge to have everything. There is no knowledge of self control when a sale is involved. Think I am lying? When was the last time you walked into a store that was having a sale and didn’t see people walk out with shopping bags full of items? Yup, NO SELF CONTROL. I obviously do not believe in self control. I don’t. If I see an item that is regularly priced for X amount of money, I don’t purchase it (SEE! I am getting better!). However, if I see the same item 50% off, I purchase it. I mean at half the price, they’re practically giving it away right?

Wrong.

For every 50% off, I end up paying more then my fair share. While the illusion is to save money on multiple items, the reality is I am spending money on everything. I do know my limits in regards to items I could purchase. However, if I am seeing that I am saving money, I will spend the money. Which defeats the purpose of saving money. I want to save money. I need to pay off debts, but with all these annual, semi-annual, blockbuster sales, they are not helping the cause. I know it’s great to reward and indulge every once in a while but it’s a revolving door of unwanted purchases. All of which I don’t need. I have a hard time coming to the conclusion of not needing the items. Somewhere deep inside comes the need to have them. I need them. I need them because I can’t live without them. When you throw a temporary price cut on top of that, that’s when the problems happen.

Truth is I am doing very well with handling my finances. It’s these tiny temptations that come in all shapes and sizes. While I have stopped emotional spending, I just can’t get over the “sale” hurdle. I know very well I don’t need these items. I know that. I have even gone as far as getting rid of a majority of things in my closet. I just can’t bring myself to let go of a “good” deal. These deals that seem too good to be true. I find myself trapped between sale prices and free shipping. That I am actually saving money because I didn’t leave my house to purchase these items. It’s an ongoing dilemma that while I have rid myself of all the things I don’t need, I need to purchase things to make up for it. Sure they don’t cost as much as all the original items I had, but here’s 4 more at the fraction of the cost. It’s got to stop.

I told myself I would be strong. That I would stop purchasing things I didn’t need and focus on the mountains of things I do have. The whole point of being financial stable is to come to a point in your life that you don’t need those items. Sure an item here or there is fine, but every other week? It’s time to finally put the wallet away. Time to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. More importantly, stop throwing away my money on things I believe are a “good” deal.

Simplify.

If only that was easy.

Ellie – 1
Sales – 25

SOBS.

Unsubscribe.

In this whole journey of purging unnecessary things, I never realized how many things I kept. OKAY LIES. I have realized how many things I’ve kept, my closet and room are true testaments of that notion.  Materialistically, I keep everything. Anything you can see with the naked eye. However upon going through some old email accounts (yes I have various email accounts), I never realized how much crap I keep electronically. It’s amazing what you can do with unlimited storage space! It’s one thing to go through 1908 emails of junk mail but 2000 emails of the past? It’s time to move on.

They say to move on you have to reevaluate why you kept these things to begin with. It’s easy to put an emotion behind an article of clothing, or a lifetime of moments. Its the memories that wrap around the items, but what emotion can you bring forth with an email? After going through my email accounts the past year, I realized I was holding on to everything. I don’t just mean old Who What Wear emails, I literally mean everything. I’ve kept mean emails, sad emails, photos that I didn’t have the heart to show anyone let alone delete, receipts for just about anything you can think of. I’ve used my email as a scrapbook of bullshit. If my closets were a scrapbook of my debts, my emails were a scrapbook of my life on the web. I could just easily delete everything. Delete every malicious thing I have ever read about myself but something keeps me holding on to it. It’s like the constant emails I get from every store I’ve shopped at. Some of these stores I haven’t set foot in for years but their emails still fill my inbox. I don’t shop there. I can’t remember the last item of whatever clothing I wore from there but something keeps me subscribed. This weird psychological bullshit feeling that I need this. Holding on to these things will make me stronger.

We all know how that ends.

I didn’t need the clothes to make me happy. I didn’t need the debts that accumulated after all those purchases. I sure as hell don’t need an email from a person telling me what a fuck up I am. Besides, I am awesome, I don’t need an old email to tell me differently.

With that stated. Goodbye old emails. Goodbye old chats. Goodbye old photographs that only make me more upset. Goodbye old stores I haven’t shopped at since the early 2000. Goodbye to you for wasting all my time. Goodbye to all that.

Hit unsubscribe.

Then send.

 

I’m on my own hustle.

Another day, Another dollar.

Every new day that approaches is just another day to keep myself financially afloat. Finding creative ways to save money and even more creative ways to make money. Being in debt isn’t easy. You’re constantly trying to control every aspect of your finances and budgeting ways to make even the simplest things happen.  Basically if you read the fine print about my life, being in debt majorly sucks (along with a million other psychological scars). Weeding out a lot of the wants and focusing on only what I need, is one of the main factors of my budgeting. For the most part I have been doing well with taking care of my finances. I’ve stopped living paycheck to paycheck. I haven’t overdrafted my account in months. I have even managed to save money to pay a good chunk of my debt, as well as splurge on much needed fun vacations. While I am on my own hustle, I am completely aware that everyone else is on their own personal hustle. I get it. Times are rough. People need that extra chump change to pay for expenses. My personal dilemma is that I am a sucker for sob stories. If you tell me you don’t have any money, I believe you. If you tell me that your life is rough, I believe you. Which therefore makes me the biggest target.

People are natural born salesmen. They have the eyes and the ears to prey on human emotion. I know mainly because I have in my youth manipulated situations to get my way (who hasn’t). In this day and age people are becoming desperate in their attempts to make money. There are thousands of get rich scams born every day and some more obvious than the rest. I am just here to tell you that I get it. You don’t have to sell me on product. You don’t have to tell me how so and so product is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You don’t have to tell me that the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on product, your one product can do is less than 10 minutes. I GET IT. What gets me and absolutely breaks my heart are the sob stories that follow. The over all theme of every hustle is “I am broke, please buy my product”. What do I do? I buy the product. Told you I was a sucker.

Let me just get one thing straight, I am all for the hustle. Times are rough and making money at times isn’t as easy as going out and getting a job. We all want this lifestyle of never having to worry about money. Never having to pinch pennies to make ends meet. As I have stated times are rough, we all find ways to make up those extra expenses. We work longer hours to get our overtime pay. We take up extra responsibilities and at times take up an extra job or two. Sometimes that isn’t enough. We’ve already sacrificed many of our favorite things to make up for our expenses. Because of our expenses we turn to these get rich scams to help us out of a situations. We turn to the Mary Kay/Avon/Party Lite/ Tupperware parties to be our salvation for our needs. Like the sucker that I am, I fall into the trap. I fall for the “You don’t have to pay anything” pretense of the party, the allure of the appetizers, and sell of a great story. While I have been told multiple times, I don’t have to buy anything, I can’t help but buy. For every party that I have attended, if you sell me on a product more than likely I will buy it. If you tell me the wax doesn’t burn, I will believe you. If you tell me I’m spending too much money a basic lipstick and your formula is better for cheaper, I will believe you. I am being sold on an idea that this is the best product and all I am really seeing is that you need my help.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the next great product. However, I have drawers full of the next great product. Literally drawers full of varieties of makeup, shampoos, supplies, and all housed in their individual Tupperware container. One of my main problems with my debt is my inability to say “No”. When you invite me to your parties, I go to support you. While I know there is no obligations to purchase, I can’t help myself. I want to help you, I want you to be successful in your hustle. Sometimes helping your hustle is draining my own. As much I want to give you all the tools you need to succeed, I can’t help but fail myself in my own needs. I hate to be the bad guy and no matter what I say, I’m going to be the bad guy.  Truth of the matter is I do not have the money to spend.  To be completely blunt and honest, I don’t need whatever you are selling me. Unless it’s a magical eraser that will completely erase my debt, that is the only thing that I truly need. If I can’t spend money on myself, I’m sorry but I can’t help you in your hustle. Trust me when I say, I want to help you. Trust me when I say, I truly understand.

You have to understand where I am coming from. I have spent every last cent of my own money to help people out. I just don’t have it in my heart to keep saying yes, unfortunately I need to be realistic and start saying NO.  It’s not that I don’t believe in you, I do. Just out of respect for my own wallet and my own sanity, I have to politely decline. Please do not invite me to your hustle parties. Please do not try and sell me on the next great product. Please for whatever reason do not sell me on your sob story. I will support you in all that you do. I will pass out a catalog, and drop your name and the product you are selling to everyone. I will be more than happy to share your listings and your posts, but please do not pressure me to purchase. Debt is a 4 letter word that has consumed my life and I must focus on my own hustle before I can focus on yours. While I wish you luck in all your many pursuits, I just respect that you keep me out of them.

Thank you.

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.

The very next day you gave it away.

And now the rest of you have that song in your head.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Alright, I came here for a purpose. At the moment I currently have 6 tabs open. Tabs consisting of Amazon, Sephora, Target, Old Navy, and of course Gmail (to track my purchases), it’s that time of year again folks. Aw yes, the holidays.

The holidays in all its mass commercial consumption of never ending spending glory. As of 10:40am on this 12th of December, I have not finished my shopping. To be honest, I don’t believe I was fully prepared for the holidays. I mean who is really prepared for them? The holiday decorations started as early as late August and as of now are in full effect. They were coming whether I liked it or not, and I was going to have to deal with it.

I’ll be honest. I love the holidays. Who doesn’t love an excuse to spread holiday cheer? Not to mention shower the people you care about with items that remind you of them. Holidays are basically the time to go absolutely overboard all for the sake of being jolly. You see it everywhere. In the over abundance of lights, decorations, and yes the festive gluttony of food. Oh, how we love our precious time together. While our bank accounts plummet, we manage to still enjoy this joyous time of year. After all it is the holidays, we’re allowed to over indulge during this time.  Spending time with the people that we love, enjoying every minute of the holidays.

Spend, spend, spend.

Every holiday season, I give myself a budget. After budgeting out my personal expenses (bills, necessities, etc.), I line out an idea of what I plan to spend. This of course is just a general idea. None of which actually works. Often times I over spend, over buy, and put myself in a little holiday debt. With the parties, you’re already factoring out the costs of what you’re bringing, bringing for the host and if you’re me, what you’re wearing to the party. Then comes the December birthdays, the birthdays that don’t associate themselves with the holidays but rather are a holiday in themselves. On top of that you have the mountains of holiday cards with accompanied stamps. Then comes the gifts, equipped with wrapping paper, cards, and more holiday cheer. By the end of the season, after the overwhelming allure of the holiday, you are absolutely wiped out. I am wiped out just by reading this. My bank account has come to a standstill. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. If I were a millionaire, I would spend every last cent to make people happy. Sadly, I am not a millionaire, therefore I am working through this holiday very slowly.

Over the years, I have over spent. The power of the holiday has compelled me to over spend! I buy way too many things, I buy too much wrapping paper and on top of it all, I over spend on myself. Sure the holiday is all about giving rather than receiving but shit, I need some things too! Which comes to my own personal dilemma. When does the spending ever really stop? As much as I want to erase my mountain of debt, I can’t help but add to it. When it comes to the holidays, who is going to stop me for buying things for people that I care about? Well of course the bill collectors are but still. It’s this cycle that can’t be stopped. You save this money for months, then in an instant it’s gone. That’s what I’ve always done. I saved to the point that I can’t save anymore. Then December hits and it’s gone.

Paycheck, savings, gone.

The only person I can really blame is myself. I do it because of this need to give. This desire to spend and not ask for anything in return. Mainly I do it because at the end of the day, it truly does make me happy to see people happy. Even if it’s just to see myself happy after months of not spending money. I of all people know I shouldn’t be spending money. Somewhere between the countless Christmas songs, the twinkling lights and the nostalgia, I just can’t seem to help myself. Who can really? It’s just one month of non-stop spending and come January we wash our debt slate clean. Just one rigorous cycle of spending and then the cycle of saving starts all over again.

Holidays are harder when you’re in debt. You have to over think every purchase, go over everything you really want to get, and more importantly only focus on getting the things you need. Gone are the days of spontaneous spending. Gone are the day of over indulgence. Gone are the days of drained bank accounts and patiently awaiting the next paycheck. This holiday season will be different. I have limits to my spending. Budgets are placed for a reason, whether I like it or not. More importantly as much as I want to over indulge for the people that I love, I just can’t. Sometimes our own person sacrifices come with a price. My price is the need to stop spending. Becoming creative with my spending and finding ways to save money. I wish it were easy. I wish I could just take my whole savings and spend every last cent of it. Sadly I can’t. Trust me, there are so many awesome, beautiful, sparkly things that I want. I just can’t have them. Not right now. Not at this time. I started this holiday season out differently. Planning, budgeting, and even going over the shopping cart item by item. Finding the promo codes, taking advantage of the free shipping, and saving items for another time. Removing items from my basket and just getting only the things I need. It’s a harder process but I know my bank account will thank me for it.

There it is, all of it. Last Christmas, I gave you my heart and now I’m left with a mountain of debt. Here’s to a holiday of being more creative and frugal with my spending. Wish me luck, guys!

 

Everybody comes to Hollywood..

Bright lights, shooting stars and all that.

I can’t even remember what the grand appeal was to live in LA. Maybe it was the sense that it was far enough from home without leaving the state. It was a large enough city to get completely lost in while a 6 hour car ride back to reality. A majority of my childhood was spent dreaming of LA. While there were endless trips to the Bay Area, it was LA that was always the most glamorous city. Needless to say every dream I ever had was to pack all of my belongings and make it big under the big marquees and the shiny lights of Hollywood. When you’re a dreamer, you spend your nights just waiting for that chance to pick up everything and walk out with nothing. That’s exactly what I did.

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Its weird how vividly I remember that move. The sights, the sounds, and most of all just finally packing everything to let my life go. For so long I believed that what I was doing was making a new start. I was picking up the broken pieces and finding a new place to put them back together. Up until the day that I moved I was constantly going back and forth telling myself that this was the right choice. I had been heartbroken for so long and it was time to finally be happy. There’s always that part inside of me that thinks maybe all of this is a bad idea. Regardless of doubts and negative influences, I left. Maybe I could finally let go of everything I was feeling and maybe for once I would finally feel better. It had been a year since I was dumped, a year since I had started my stage of never ending self destruction and here I was opening the doors to a new beginning. I needed this, I wanted this change. More importantly I needed this to work. My first weeks in LA were complete blur. A majority of them just adjusting to a new lifestyle, a new life, and moving in with someone other than my parents. Sure I had lived with a roommate before but this was different. I was finally at an age that I could be a REAL adult. However, being a REAL adult meant a majority of different factors I never really grasped the concept of. Sure I paid every one of my bills on time, but I hadn’t lived on my own in a long time. Not to mention the money I had saved for the move was slowly becoming non-existent with in the first weeks of moving in.

Was I being financially irresponsible? Of course I was.

Life moves rather fast in a bigger city. LA was no exception. Instead of being responsible for my lack of income I had coming in, I spent it. ALL OF IT. This is where I could blame a lot of factors. I will still hooking up with a guy that was in a relationship (the same guy that dumped me), I was still going back to my old destructive ways and more importantly I just felt really alone. When I moved, I didn’t tell anybody. In the span of a year after my break-up, I told 5 people I was moving. I was exceptionally dramatic, I just wanted to disappear and see how many people would actually notice. I said my final goodbyes and packed up all my belongings and left. Not before hooking up with the person who dumped me out of revenge for the whole situation. At that point, I just didn’t care. I was leaving and everyone else was staying behind while I was moving forward.

Under the Urban Lights. One of the few things I miss about my time in LA

Under the Urban Lights. One of the few things I miss about my time in LA

When you move you always have to factor in these different scenarios:

Will I find work right away?

Do I have a place to stay?

How much money, do I need to support myself?

Can I honestly afford to move out?

That right there. The above. “Can I honestly afford to move out?”.  That should have been the question I asked myself over and over, instead I took my last check of work and never looked back.

It didn’t take too long to adjust to the LA lifestyle. The moving, the shaking and the great deal of partying. I was partying for a life I couldn’t afford before I even had a job. In some ways I was partying all of my feelings, my doubts, and even all of my own personal demons all for the sake of a good time. I knew the party couldn’t last forever and within weeks the party stopped. My roommate always told me she would be a huge advocate of helping me find a good job. A good paying job, like the one she was accustom to having. While I am not one to wait for everything, I started job hunting and found a job working as a receptionist in a Lending Company. It wasn’t ideal. I wasn’t making much money but at least it was a steady income to get my life on track. Within weeks of working and trying to adjust to life, the guy I was hooking up with dumped me for second time. If it wasn’t bad the first time, it was ten times worst the second. I just couldn’t catch a break. Right around the time I was adjusting to my new life, my brother moved in. After that it became a never ending cycle of bullshit. Everyone knows I don’t get a long with my sibling. To even saying his name makes me boil with anger. I was never like that before. Sure he annoyed me as all siblings do, but the day that he moved in to the apartment on the pretense of moving in with his friends changed everything. Right around the time that I was given the boot from my “relationship”, my brother was heartbroken about a relationship of his own.  Where I saw an out with my roommate, my brother saw an out with me. While he swore he was only going to stay for a handful of weeks until his friends moved to LA, I believed him. It wasn’t that I was being selfish but I had my own life to lead. I had my own life, struggles and demons to conquer, moving to LA was my dream and here I was playing babysitter to someone else’s. Things changed rather quickly once my brother moved in. I couldn’t necessarily talk freely about any of my problems, I couldn’t even bring my problems up. I was hiding every ounce of emotion I felt and that ended up being my downfall amongst other things.

No matter how many hours I’ve worked, how many times I thought I was making it. I wasn’t doing shit. The true honest factor where I thought I was finally coming together with something, something else would fall apart. I couldn’t afford rent. I couldn’t afford to live in LA. My new life was slowly becoming a harsh reality. I wasn’t paying rent because I wasn’t making any sort of money and therefore my roommate took the blunt end of the spectrum. I should have been more financially responsible but the truth was something inside of me snapped. Of course I want to blame every factor of my feelings but reality was I wasn’t being much of an adult. Instead of calling home and asking for money, I continued to spend whatever money I had. Every week I had 100 dollars to my name and every weekend I spent everything. How my roommate didn’t kick me out within the first few weeks, I’ll never understand. Instead she was too busy being the adult. Helping my brother get work (the same work she promised she would help me find), helping out with the finances, and importantly being the sister to my brother that I couldn’t be. Did that bother me? Absolutely. When I absolutely lost it was around the time I tried to be civil with my brother. He had lived in the apartment well over his few weeks mark and still wasn’t saying much to me. He would bicker about everything, argue about bullshit and more importantly just be so ungrateful about everything. I GET IT, he was having a hard time. WHAT ABOUT ME? Wasn’t I not dumped a few weeks prior? Did I know nothing about heartbreak? If my roommate invited him out, he would go. If I invited him out, he was busy or tired. I didn’t think it was fair. Here I was doing him a favor and he wouldn’t speak to me. It wasn’t until he told me that my roommate just understood him. “She’s going through a lot of heartbreak, she understands where I am coming from?”.

WOW.

Really?

I begin to wonder what was I actually doing in LA anymore. I couldn’t afford to live there. I couldn’t even pay rent. More importantly I wasn’t communicating with anyone.  What in the fuck was I doing?

Once again the cycle of destruction started all over again. When you harbor all of that negativity inside, its so easy to attract the darkness. Week after week it was another thing. First it was breaking my hand after being dumped (one $150 visit to Urgent care, then to County ER $75 a visit later), then needing an emergency root canal ($1500 plus procedure). It was one thing after another. I missed work because of these problems and lost money because I was missing work.

What did I do? I drank, smoked and shopped.

How did I feel? Absolutely miserable.

It was just one unlucky break after another. I was miserable and most of all I was extremely lonely. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I always confided in my roommate with my problems but she was too busy confiding in my brother. Every one else lived too far and any one that lived close didn’t understand. I felt alone because I was alone, I started doing everything to make the sadness disappear but it only made things worse.

The Rent breakdown

$1050 /a month for Rent (RENT $2100)
$450 /a month for utilities (mind you this is roughly an estimate)
$300 /a month for extra expenses

TOTAL: $1800 a month.

My Income

$1170 /a month ($12 an hour, paid weekly)

My expenses
$100 / a week groceries
$65 / a month (phone bill)
$75 / a month credit card bill Wells Fargo
$75 /a month credit card bill B of A
$75/ medical expense
$129/ dental expense
$40 / GAS

TOTAL $759

Miscellaneous Expenses

$411 / a month on bullshit (drinking, dining, shopping, etc)

Monthly earnings

$0

I absolutely just couldn’t catch a break. More importantly this new beginning was an absolute nightmare. I fought all the time with my roommate. I hated the cards that were dealt before me. Once again I continued to get the shit end of the stick and everyone was okay with that. When you’re broken you will do anything to continue to be in the darkness. I did just that. However on the other side my brother was doing great. He was making good money, he was excelling at work, and while he was still heartbroken, his life was coming together. Of course I was jealous of that. That was suppose to be me. That was suppose to be my life. I was the one that was suppose to be going somewhere. Instead I was stuck. He was being praised left and right and I was just a silly sob story. My parents constantly told me that if it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t be excelling. All I could think about was, why hadn’t anyone else done the same for me? Why didn’t anyone ask me how the fuck I was doing? Once again I was the savior in someone else’s life, but they only used me as a tiny blurb in their story.

Again the cycle continued. The drinking, the partying, the spending, the fighting, until one day it all stopped.

My roommate just about couldn’t take it anymore. Honestly I don’t blame her. I was a horrible person. Where I was once so hopeful for a new life, I became vile, vindictive and down right rotten. The only person I had to blame was myself. Honestly would you want to live with a person like that? There are so many things that went on in that apartment, all of which I don’t care to discuss anymore. When my roommate asked me to leave, I lost it. Not because I failed but because I was exactly how I felt. I was a loser. I was doing no better than if I stayed in my hometown.  She had every right to ask me to leave. I see that now, however at the time I was so angry and heartbroken I blamed her for everything. More importantly where I thought I had an ally in my brother, he took my roommate’s side in everything. After all she got him the job in his new life, she allowed him to continue living with her. And while I left with my usual dramatics, my brother took my place. To this day I have never forgiven my brother for that. Even though I can say I am over it, I am not. He took a life that wasn’t his to begin with. Where I continued to struggle in all aspects of my life, once again he had a hand out to make his life better. Every day I asked myself why. Why it was so easy for people like him that everyone made things happen for?  I wish I had the answer for everything.

I moved back home heartbroken, defeated and worst of all more broken the first time I left. I failed and instead of picking up the pieces, I left them piling up on the floor. I was angry and worst of all I was angry that my brother continued to live in MY apartment and taking over MY life. My brother and I don’t speak anymore. It took a year after I left for me to get the courage to even be civil to him. I was so angry with everything that went on in that apartment that I was still blaming him for everything. It’s been years since I’ve spoken to my roommate. It’s been years since a lot of things. I put all my eggs in the basket of living in LA, that I never once wondered the consequences. LA was suppose to be my new everything. What I failed to see was that LA was my complete downfall. I bit off more than I could chew and I was choking to death. Moving to LA just opened a new wave of bullshit. Instead of seeing my problems for what they were, I was running away from them. When you run away from your problems, they eventually catch up to you when you least expect them to. That’s exactly what happened with me. Maybe it was my Karma back for everything in my past. The lying, the secrecy, the dramatics, everything came back to haunt me. I was driving myself absolutely insane with my internal problems that I refused to see what I was doing to myself. I wasn’t myself when I was in LA, I was just another empty hollow shell. I drank too much, I threw up all my food, I took too many pills, I smoked too much, and every day it was the same thing. It didn’t matter what I did to hide my problems, they were always there staring back at me. I was no different than an addict, I was no different than a junkie, I  was just better at hiding everything I felt.  The only people I should be ashamed of is myself. I should have asked for help instead of crying for it but I didn’t. Instead I blamed everyone for all of my misfortunes.

This photo pretty much portrays my time in LA. Completely empty and hollow.

This photo pretty much portrays my time in LA. Completely empty and hollow.

It’s been 6 years since I’ve lived in LA. Every year I unravel a new revelation about that time period. I knew better. I wasn’t ready to move without fully being okay with my own personal demons. Never should I have left without being financially responsible for myself. I should have never offered a hand to help when I needed help to begin with. I also should never have moved into an apartment that was way beyond my means. So on, so forth. The point of growing up is finally coming to terms with the past. My life in LA was never going to work out, I know that now. While the appeal and allure of the shiny façade of LA will always intrigue me, it was never for me. I can play a million “what if” scenarios but the truth of the matter was, I wasn’t cut out for that life. A lot can happen in a year or two but after 6 years of analyzing I realized I have to stop looking back. Everything had a reason for happening and everything had to fall apart in order to find a place in my life. I didn’t understand it then but as the years progress, I start to understand it a little more. I am still not on speaking terms with my brother and who knows if I ever will be. Until I can fully put that whole time period behind me, only then I can truly heal that relationship. If there is anyone that I have to truly apologize for being so horrible is to my roommate because honestly she didn’t deserve any of that. While I may not have agreed with the tactics that happened after I left the apartment, I was never ungrateful for anything she did for me. At the end of the day she made life possible for my brother in ways I couldn’t. While she may have considered me a lost cause because of all of my problems at least she could help someone else. In a way she wasn’t the enemy, I just wished things had worked out different. Maybe in another life. Who knows.

I know things are not where I want them to be now, but one day everything will change for the better. It has to right?

Everything in it’s right place.

 

 

 

The struggle is real.

Let me be honest.

Okay, seriously. All I am doing is being honest.

Saving money, paying off debts, you know BEING RESPONSIBLE is not the business. Sure being responsible is all about your ability to function as an adult. Sometimes being a responsible adult is not all it’s cracked up to be. All you want to really do is be reckless and spend money. Those new kicks, you want them. Rolex watch, you want one. Alexander McQueen scarf, you want 2 of them. Trip to the south of France, you want to go to there. The truth is everything that requires having fun costs money. As much as every single media outlet can say you don’t need money to have a good time, most of the time they are lying. Who wants to go outside and chill at the park? Be outside, be one with nature? Please…. I have allergies and find great joy in the confides of my indoor spaces.

Why is it whenever there’s things that I enjoy or want to do, everything costs money? Baseball games, movies, shopping, food… everything costs money! Everything is taunting me and everything is asking for me to have a good time. For every dollar I save, there’s a sale at my favorite store. For every day that I don’t get coffee, I am 1 star away from a free drink. How is any of this fair? It’s not fair! It’s fair to the people who have the money saved and can afford to splurge. However to the millions of us in debt, it’s nothing more than a huge temptation that we can’t help but dive into. For the past couple of months I have cut my spending in half. I stopped buying clothes, accessories, and focused on everything I really needed. I literally went through my closet and pulled out everything with price tags and anything I haven’t worn in over a year. Just my way of truly cleansing my life. HOWEVER just because I cut expenses doesn’t mean I stop spending. The misconception of  budgeting is sometimes you spend money before you can truly save money. While I have cut a majority of my spending, I still find myself reliving my old vices which causes me to spend money.

This problem goes back to emotional spending. The spending of money because I’m having a moment. It doesn’t really matter the moment, good or bad the spending happens. Instead of going to the store and buying myself something nice, I’ll buy myself a nice lunch. Sometimes even splurge and get my nails done. Something. Anything that will curb that need to over spend. How ever what I am not thinking about is that everything adds up. The whole point of budgeting is to cut costs on unnecessary items. In the course of the past couple of months I have managed to save over $800 dollars by cutting costs on everything. However in those same past couple of months I have also managed to blow through the $800 dollars I have saved. Whether it be psychological or emotional or just someone voodooing me, I just cannot save money. For every $100 dollars I manage to save, I find 100 different ways to spend it. For every $250 dollars I put toward my debt, I find a way to spend the money. I am not sure whether its the notion that I think I am not spending any money but reality is I am still being careless with my spending.

My problem is I have a problem saying NO. Its easy to say No to things I don’t care for, things I don’t want to do. Yet how do I say No to the things I want to do. If a friend invites me out and it’s something I want to do, how do I say NO to that? How do I say No to Life? <-Okay that’s my problem. That right there. I don’t have the money to live the life. Which in turn makes the struggle real. Of course I want to do the things I love. However I don’t have the money to spend to live the life I am accustomed too. Honestly I never could afford to live the life I am accustomed to which is the reason I am in debt. NO BRAINER. I get it.

The Breakdown of my spending goes as follows:

I make roughly $16/hr. Which makes my paycheck around $530 (after taxes).

A breakdown of my current weekly expenses:

Gas: $50-$60
Mom (paying off debts guys!!): $100
WellsFargo: $150
Savings: $100
TOTAL:  $400 a week

A breakdown of unnecessary expenses:

Lunch: $10 a day (5 times a week)
Coffee: $5 a day (6 days a week)
Random Dinners: $25 (at least once a week)
TOTAL: $105 (a week)

Breakdown Totals:

$400 expenses
$104 unnecessary expenses
TOTAL:  $503 (a week)

Grand Totals:

$530 Check
-$503 Expenses
TOTAL Left over:  $27       <-This is why I can’t have nice things

Somewhere in my warped mind, I believe that food is not an expense. Food to me is a necessity, we need it to survive. Yes, I need that $5 dollar coffee to live my life. I also need the $2 dollar croissant, that’s made with real butter as well.   Seeing that my food is there a minute and gone the next (since I have no self control and tend to scarf my meals down), I don’t consider it an expense. While the only thing to even showcase the evidence of my food spending is the countless napkins lining the passenger side of my car (I should really work on that).  Not to mention my bank account drained because of my lack of self control. The main problem of my spending and not being able to save money is for every $100 I put toward a debt, I spend it. The $5 dollar coffee that I consider a necessity, adds up.  For every $100 dollars I save, I use my card for my expenses. Every time I use my card, I’m spending more than my fair share of money on that card. Since I spend the money on that card, I put what I have in savings toward that card. Which in turn drains my savings and therefore, I’m right back where I have started from.

No money, still problems.

Truth of the matter is all of that is an unnecessary expense. Do I really need to be eating out everyday? Do I really need a coffee every day and it’s delicious buttery croissant? Of course not. I don’t need it. I want it, but I don’t need it. If I could be really honest, I am just lazy. Lazy to make a lunch every day, lazy to make a coffee every day, lazy to function. My laziness is making me broke. My laziness is why I am in this mess in the first place. While I do applaud myself for finding alternative methods to deal with emotion, I’m still finding ways to spend money. The point of not spending money is to do just that. DON’T SPEND MONEY. I understand that’s the whole point of being an adult is being responsible for your well being. Seeing your mistakes and growing from them. Just on some occasions being an adult doesn’t really cut it, you grow restless and become reckless. I get it. I’ve done it. Now I’m just at the point where, “Man I’d just like to see my money”. Its like everyone says, we all gotta start somewhere. Shoot even Brian McKnight started “Back at one” right? So these are my pitfalls, reasons, and honest accounts of why I do not have money. This is also the reason why I can’t hang. Budgeting money is not easy. Being responsible is also not easy nor is it any fun. However to come up on top, you gotta struggle, you gotta fall, and then eventually everything will work out in the end. Everything in it’s right place.

But for real though this struggle is as real as you and me.

*SOBS*