Sunday, October 11, 2009

Severe Budgeting.

Interesting fact: As I started writing this entry, "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails came on the radio. The beginning lines of this song:

God money, I'll do anything for you.
God money, just tell me what you want me to.
God money, nail me up against the wall.
The god of money don't want everything he wants it all.

I actually just looked that up, and there are conflicting sources of whether the line is "God money" or "Got money". I always thought it was "Got Money" but oh well. It's still about money. As is this entry.

The past months have been hard for me. My monthly housing payment has increased significantly, since I own my place now rather than rent. This was expected, so it isn't a huge deal.

But, on top of that, I owe a family member some money because they helped me with money for a down payment. I'm working hard to get this paid off as soon as possible, but it's hard! I was paying $500 a month toward this debt at first, but I was beginning to struggle a bit to have anything left at the end of the month. This month I knocked this amount down to $300, and am still struggling a little!

I decided to put myself on a stricter budget to make my dollarz last longer throughout the month. What's been happening is that I get paid once a month. I pay all my bills, buy things I've been wanting for a long time, get groceries, whatever. Then, as the month nears the end, I don't have anything left and I'm scrounging through my babysitting money and anxiously awaiting my mileage check from work.

This month I decided to do something. I took the money that was left in my checking account after paying several bills and buying some clothes (about $60 worth) and divided it by four. I also did some rounding. This amount ended up being about $180.

The first week I did great. It was hard, but I did great. This week, however, it is not working. I haven't even really been buying too much "frivolous shit."

Week One's expenses involved the following:

Gas: $12.70
Cold Care Tea, Dayquil, Cat Litter $11.90
Nyquil, Gummi Vitamins: $18.59
The rest are estimates, as I lost my records, but here's what I can remember.
Groceries at Whole Foods: ~22
Vintage Mixer at Rummage Sale: $10
Butternut Squash at Farmer's Market $1.75
Coffee Drink: $4
Manicure: $15
Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients @ PCC: ~8
Dental Bill: ~$20
Acupuncture and Herbs: %59

I'm at a loss for where the rest went, and regretting that I lost my records. Sometimes I forget how important that stuff is! The loyal readers of Ruling at Life are anxiously waiting!

This week has been worse. I did some babysitting and tried to save part of that money, but am going to have to spend some of it. This week my records are rounded. I do not want to do that next week. Here's what I have:

Special Eczema Wash for my feet: ~$25
Vitamins from ~$19
Tons of veggies and some bags of beans: ~$17
Soda at Lunchtime (I brought my own lunch!): ~$2
Soda at Billy McHales (socializing with coworkers): ~$3
Paying the Tailor to alter my trench coat so that it is way better: $28
Gas: $19.23
Food to make dinner @ PCC: ~$8
White Coffee Drink: $4
Groceries at Trader Joe's (including Food, Snacks, Shampoo, Probiotic Vitamins): ~$37
Money set aside for Acupuncture: $60

So far that adds up to about $163. But I know I'm missing something, because I added some babysitting into that, and I'm still coming up short. This is what I get for keeping shitty records. I will be better this next week.

I also found some $20 socks for $6. These are special socks because they help with the eczema on my feet. I am going to buy these.

Anyway, by looking at this data I have figured out many things. But, the thing that sticks out the most is that I have to spend a TON of money for health conditions. This sucks. But is necessary if I want to get better.

For example, I do NOT like spending money at bougie grocery stores such as PCC and Whole Foods. But because of my allergies, it's sometimes necessary for me to do so. For example, at Whole Foods I bought some Soy Free Earth Balance. Needed, as the only other butter that is free of butter, soy and coconut tastes pretty bad.

The money spent at PCC was on chocolate chips and chocolate bars that are soy and dairy free. (Hard to find, believe me!) This might be a little frivolous, but a girl needs her chocolate sometimes. With the chocolate chips and soy free earth balance I can make my own cookies, which is better than spending $5 on a package of Newman's Own cookies that taste like health food. (Newman's Own are the only allergen free ones I can find.)

The vitamins that I bought are Oregon Grape capsules. Those help with inflammation, which is good for my feet. It will be cheaper to take the capsules than to take the tincture, which I have been doing.

And acupuncture and the chinese herbs I have been taking are necessary for my eczema. I've tried to skip out on those and notice a very significant difference in how I feel and how my skin acts.

So, that's how it is. I am hoping that all this money spent on this stuff is an investment to help to cure my health issues, but we'll see. It certainly makes me feel better right now.

Now that I'm done, this is one novel of an entry. I'll check back in next week on how the budgeting is doing. Another important note: I am trying to do a lot of this with cash, which is helpful to make everything a little more tangible.

And now I leave you with a picture of Trent Reznor, from

"God money's not looking for the cure.
God money's not concerned about the sick among the pure.
God money let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
The god of money's not one to choose"

Please note his dreamy "hurt" look and his hott scarf.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Bought nearly 24 pounds of produce/food today at MacPherson's produce stand. Cost me $17.05.

Celery, butternut squash, four apples, two pears, tomatoes on the vine, broccoli, cabbage, onions, potatoes, a yam, an avocado...

I will be set for a while.

I've been doing really well improvising dinner on what I have here. Usually mix a grain (rice, barley, quinoa) with a ton of veggies and some kind of protein (usually beans or lentils.)

I have a ton of food allergies, so anything with cheese has been out of the picture lately. And meat's just too damn expensive. It's been good.

This week's meals have included:

Vegetables and Chicken Curry in Rice Milk

Half bag of frozen vegetables, some curry paste whisked into rice milk, and a chicken breast dumped into the crock pot. (You could definitely do this with coconut milk, too, but I'm allergic to coconut as well.)

Pasta, pasta sauce and garbanzo beans with a ton of veggies. I know that garbanzo beans are weird in pasta, but I needed protein and didn't want to have to use meat. I used to use TVP, but am allergic to soy. FML. When cooking for one sometimes a whole jar of pasta sauce is too much, so I use half and freeze the rest for next time. I should start making my own pasta sauce, though, as that's even cheaper, I think.

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup
Butternut squash cut up into cubes, red lentils, two tablespoons of ketchup (sub for tomato paste, haha, didn't want to go shopping!), cinnamon and cumin, and a cube of chicken bouillion and some water. A squirt of lime juice. Dumped into the crock pot, cooked. Really, really good.

Beans and Rice

Made rice last night, but didn't get a chance to do anything with it. Hot-soaked some pinto beans this morning, cooked them tonight. While they were cooking I simmered some tomatoes from the produce stand with some onions and seasoned the shit out of them. Also used some leftover taco seasoning that I found while cleaning out my cupboards. Added the rice and some spinach. I like spinach in everything, slightly wilted. It's good for you.

Also did some red beans and quinoa last week. Threw in a can of tomatoes. Turned out nice.

All these allergies as well as some budget restrictions (read: I haz a mortgage) are forcing me to be thriftier, more creative, and more healthy. Win win win. I like it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Taming the American Apparel Addiction

Or, maybe not taming it. Mine isn't that bad, I guess. But it's pricey, even though it's not bad.

American Apparel. Have you heard of them? They are a company that is "sweatshop free." They pride themselves on having sweat-shop free, well fitting, nicely colored, hip clothes. They also pride themselves on being run by a sleazy man in underwear. Or so I've heard.

Sleazy man in underwear aside, I really enjoy their clothes. In the winter I live in their leggings. And cardigans. I love their t-shirts, and have been drooling over some of their stuff for months now.

Why not buy it? Because it's expensive. I mean, it may not be expensive by normal person standards, but for me it is. I hate dropping $50 to $70 on just one or two things. Too much.

After a year though, my precious black leggings have started to develop a hole in the crotch. It happens when you wear them almost every day. It's understandable. But it's just not wearable anymore. I dreaded having to go into the store and drop $26 on one pair of leggings. But, they do last quite some time. And they fit perfectly. And they're the perfect length. So, FML, I needed to go get some.

Of course, I'm an idiot and forgot about the wonders of Ebay. Until last night. I got on Ebay and looked that up hard. And what did I find? For the normal price of one pair ($26) you can get two pairs shipped right to your house.

And I did just that. One black pair and one white pair. Satisfaction. (So far, at least. We'll see what happens when I get them. Maybe they'll be awful knockoffs? But I doubt it.)

Of course, I couldn't stop there. I've been after their seersucker skirt for months, too. Price: $38. For a skirt that I could sew myself, if I could sew. This is why I have been putting off this purchase.

A quick Ebay search revealed that I could get this skirt for $28.99. So you know what? I did. It was payday, and I've been thinking about it for a long time. Plus, it's just the right length to wear over leggings with boots.

In the store, these clothing pieces would have cost me a total of $97.20 approximately.

On Ebay, these things cost me approximately $55.

Oh, thank you Ebay. Now, if only you had that damn white button up shirt that I want from good old Overpriced Apparel. But, with all the money I have saved, maybe I can afford it.

Besides, I kinda like going into the store and hitting on the hipsters, even though they are far, far too cool for me.



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