Friday, June 15, 2007

mathematics reality check

goodbye Room & Board steel frame daybed--$449

hello ikea bed (same one i had in seattle when i was living on $800/month)--$49

so i started with a budget on May 15. $300 for clothing for the next three months. within a month, not only did i meet that budget, i went over.

A.P.C. military dress--$245
Tucker dress--$180
Eliza Gran dress--$170

that's nearly $300 over my budget. in one month. this is ridiculous. and last night i was contemplating buying a $300 sweater. in june. in boston.

reading that the interest rates are going up, which spells trouble for adjustable rate mortgages (like mine), really doesn't put one in the mood to add to burgeoning credit card balances. i need to practice some tough love on myself. i just cut up all of my credit cards except for one (not an easy thing to do with blunt scissors), which is now locked away in a drawer for traveling expenses.

the gas rebate (all of $2 a month) isn't worth it because some stations charge a credit card fee
low APR balance transfers are only worth it if you don't add to the balance
rewards points (bloomingdales gift cards) aren't worth it because you end up spending more
easy credit is great in some situations, but someone making $25,000 a year shouldn't have $36,000 worth of credit. the banks are making a killing of people like me who are incapable of setting realistic goals and sticking to them.

no wonder this country is in such a mess. i remember reading in the NYTimes about John Edwards' war on poverty and his claim that the middle class is disappearing. another editorial included the rebuttal that no, the middle class is still here, it's just more heavily in debt. i'm sorry, if being middle class means $15,000-30,000 in credit card balances (not including educational loans and mortgages), then the middle class has mutated into an entirely different beast. constantly struggling to pay off debt (and high finance charges) while making a decent salary ($45,000-80,000) but having zero savings, feeling dissatisfied with financial burdens and going on shopping sprees at expensive, tasteful stores, and then having to shoulder even more debt, is hardly middle-class. unemployment or rising interest rates can be just as financially devastating to this supposed middle-class as it is to families and individuals making less than $40,000.

i am feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed. not to mention unhappy.

on a lighter note, i now have 4 potential baby names. i'm quite pleased with the results of many years' hard work. oh, and my wallet is much much thinner (minus credit cards and cash, all i have left are student i.d.s, receipts, and frequent-buyer stamp cards).


Ten Thousand Only said...

that ikea bedframe is awesome. used it for 4 years until i finally moved cities earlier this year. i built it without the black bars. p.s. budget schmudget. when it comes to clothes, that is.

MrsEm said...

Hi E,

In my "real life" I am a personal finance expert. If you want to talk about your debt situation, I'd be glad to help. :)