Huh. Out of a hole? How does one, literally, dig oneself out of a hole anyway?
I mean, I can see how you can dig someone else out of a hole --- mainly by putting dirt into the hole. But I don't really get the logic of how one can do that when already inside the hole.
Especially if it is a big hole, like this, the first one I found on my google image search:
I'm sure you can already see my biggest problem: distraction. That and being tired of sitting in holes. The good news is I finally have a nice-paying job. (*what follows is totally #firstworldproblems and you might want to look elsewhere if this post is going to annoy you*) I looked at my take-home pay (when I am actually allowed to take it home; see here for story.) and looked at all my credit card debt and after a little gasping and gagging, figured out I could pretty much pay it off in about 10 months.
That totally sucks.
I mean, on the one level it's very easy. On another level, it's just like going on a diet, and usually I gain my most weight immediately after deciding to go on a diet. I know it's weird, but there's something about the mental decision making and planning that makes me feel like eating something, as if all that thinking and effort should equal time passing. It's like I'm thinking I'm living through a sports film montage, when really only 30 seconds of the film have gone by.
I bet I could lose all the weight I need to in 9 or 10 months too ---- but the sheer willpower of choosing not to do something (eat, spend) for almost a year is soooo exhausting! It's not like deciding to take a class or go on a hike --- it's deciding to be good a zillion times a day, starting over again every minute! Ugh.
A few days ago many people on my facebook feed were reposting this article about scarcity mindset and how people slide back in to poverty even when they are given means to get on top of things for a while. Some of those people were relating it to the sad death-of-an-adjunct story that has been trending everywhere, but I had a more blackly humorous view and immediately thought of the last words of the Misfit in Flannery O'Connor's story: "she would have been a good woman if someone was there to shoot her every moment of her life." Wouldn't we all?
Thing is, I am living a new life in a new place, and I really want some new toys to go along with it. I also want to do up my apartment all shiny and fancy, or at least replace the empty boxes that are serving as furniture in some places. (And what about decorating the office with wall art???) I have been intermittently on a "no-buying diet" for most of the three years I was on my postdoc, trying to dig, if not out of my previous debt, at least manage it as much as possible.
Making a game of "how many days can I go without collecting a receipt" helps keep the expenses for a month to an absolute minimum, but the down side of not buying or replacing anything is that stuff gets old and worn out. I killed all my jeans on the way over here. I'm due for new, non-holey underwear (underwear! FFS! Who wants to spend money on that!?!?! Work-appropriate underwear that nobody sees, I mean). I tossed all my scuffed and dying sandals before I moved. Since arriving here my frying pan and a couple spoons have died (the plastic handles are splitting and warping off the silverware set I bought at --- Bed Bath and Beyond? --- back in 1994 as part of my going away to college). If I don't plan for some replacement stuff and at least a couple new toys, I am going to fall right off my budget plan and end up on a binge. If I do plan to let myself replace and add things, my budget plan is going to take a lot longer than 10 months.
And this isn't even taking into account anything like emergency savings or my student loans or extra savings for retirement and whatnot.
Now the bad news. You did see the "good news" phrase come up at the top of the post, right?
One of those old and getting older purchases is my car.
At 11 years old, we are right about due for major expensive repairs or replacing the car. That wouldn't be cheap either. (and what $ do I have for any sort of downpayment?) I just went in for my oil change and the major inspection thingy is almost due, and when the mechanic looked at everything he found cracked fuel lines and a bunch of other things. He estimated about 1200. Oy. I at least managed to reschedule for a couple weeks after October starts so that I can throw money at the card before loading it up again. I can't wait too long, though, since my cousin is coming out to visit (that is, he will be Way Over There which is as close to here as you'll ever get on a random trip, so we are going to split the difference and meet up in Cool Scenic Park and run up his expense report.) That means I need the car to be working and reliable before then, so, tons of money it is.
Ok, now that hole is feeling like this.
You see where this is going, right? Saving money at the end of the year is as bad as dieting --- a mini-vacation here, then everyone in my family has a birthday, then Thanksgiving and Christmas, and foop! I have been spending all sorts of money and eating all sorts of holiday-themed things! To say nothing of the fact that I have no concept of patience or time and am now ready to be rich and thin, having contemplated the hardships of willpower for a whole thirty minutes!
Yecch. I guess I gotta keep pluggin' away, find some new games to keep me motivated, and ask around about summer teaching work.
You know, if it actually were a literal hole I was stuck in, not spending my money and not overeating would be much easier! I mean, so would starving to death, but who's counting?