Is the money that I have. All the money that I have.
And as I sit here, sipping the finest Rwandan* coffee that Costco can supply in bulk, I realize that not even caffeine can help me.
I used to get paid biweekly; now I get paid monthly. My Fella also gets paid monthly, at the same time I do. Which means that we have all our money at the beginning at the month and none of it at the end. This month, because we had to travel to attend a wedding and I had to pay my tuition bill, we’re broke earlier than usual.
It shouldn’t make a difference, since most of our funds, individual and collective, are earmarked for specific purposes before they’re even dispensed: taxes, mortgage payments, utilities, credit card balance, transportation, food, retirement savings, etc., but it does, somehow.
It’s not a total disaster, but it will certainly make the next couple of weeks…challenging.
In Our Favor —
Food security: 1.) Thank goodness for our informal chicken-and-cat-sitting exchange with the neighbors (starting Saturday evening, we’ll have extra eggs and garden vegetables for a week!); 2.) purchasing a CSA share takes a bite upfront, but completely saves our @$$3$ in the long-run because most of what we eat is paid for in advance; 3.) We’ve been smrt with our cooking lately, giving us lots of leftovers.
Lifestyle: Without ever having made a conscious decision to do so, we live like my mother’s Mennonite cousins** — we go out basically never; we purchase very little; we reuse everything we can; we compost; we barter; we make things ourselves if there are significant cost savings and/or compelling moral reasons to do so; we own one older but fuel-efficient vehicle yet rely primarily on public transportation; we walk whenever and wherever we can, and so on.
Inexpensive Vices: Everyone has theirs. Fortunately neither of us has ruinously expensive habits (e.g. online gambling, cocaine, designer shoes): mine is either bowl of popcorn plus an e-galley OR a really, really long bath; My Fella’s is the Internet. In the interest of full disclosure, we also have a caffeine addiction in common, and — this may or may not count — share a passion for terrible sci-fi and horror films.
Not In Our Favor —
Crops: This is the time I should be prepping the fall/winter gardens, and I can’t do that until MONEY happens.
Pets: Apparently, we’ve decided to save ALL THE KITTENS, plus one Boxhound. Also, some tiny dinosaur descendants. I wouldn’t trade our menagerie for anything, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out that keeping them fed and in good health costs a pretty penny.
Birthday Season: I swear, November should be declared National Abstinence Month, if only to save me from this month’s birthday barrage. I’ve already got two siblings born in August*** and, very soon, I’ll have two nephews with August birthdays as well. And then there are the others, too numerous to mention here.
Logistics aside, though, I think the most challenging part of being broke is not being able to talk about it. I mean, obviously (since I’m posting this) no one is preventing me, but still…admitting I don’t have money (at the moment!) makes me feel as though I suddenly have to defend all my life choices. (See?) Like, “Why do you have pets?” or “Should you really be taking a class to gain work-related knowledge and skills?” or “Well, you did choose to be a librarian. Maybe if you’d gone into turf management, you wouldn’t be having this problem!”****
And sure, maybe some decisions aren’t optimal in terms of increasing wealth, but nobody ALWAYS does the thing that makes the most financial sense, right?*****