Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Save Me

I am poor. Except of course I'm not. Not really. At most I'm First World Poor. At best, I have a minor credit card debt that could be paid off with a few months of frugal living I don't particularly care to undertake and a complete lack of savings that troubles me only when I think about it at 2am in the morning.

Either way, I don't have as much money as I like and it sucks. Spending money is a delight and although I don't think of myself as insanely acquisitive I do like to buy things. Dresses, obviously. Expensive coffees, sure. Drinks and dinners and tickets to fun things, most definitely. These are the things that, to me, make life worth living at best and bearable at worst.

The prospect of tightening my belt - a process which has begun unpromisingly with the purchase of a 'new' (albeit secondhand) dress - makes the world around me seem grey and grim. I am mildly depressed with the process before it has properly begun. So far the only real concession I have made is to stop buying my lunch and that's bad enough. These days I eat the same toasted cheese sandwich, cooked in the machine at work, every day. Sometimes I add tomato. It's wild.

It's a funny thing, though, deciding what bits of your life you can live without and what you can't. I find I can live without bought lunches just fine. I like cheese. I like bread. I like toasted cheese and bread.

I can live without buying coffee every day: so far I'm down to about 3 a week, which feels like progress.

I can live with buying fewer things... probably. I don't need new dresses, given I have a lot. I don't require many new books, which I already have plenty I've never quite got around to reading.

I'm not sure I can live without my dinners and drinks and entertainment, though. That's the one thing I've not made any attempt to cut back on, when in theory I really probably should. I eat out a lot. I see a lot of movies and shows and plays and things. I pay for a lot of wine in a lot of bars and restaurants.

But I baulk when the prospect of Doing Without these things comes up. I don't want to do it and it's not just that I'm lazy and selfish and The Absolute Worst, it's that some part of me thinks that if I give up on those things - the ability to catch up over wine in the sun without feeling guilty, or splash out on a nice dinner with friends - I'll be not living so much as existing. And that would suck even more than my pseudo poverty does right now.

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