Friday, August 01, 2008

Spending blog starts now now

During the past year I've been waging an aggressive campaign against my credit card balances. I've gone from several thousand dollars in debt to debt free in about eight months. Hooray! Hooray! In the bitterest of ironies, however, my war had unintended consequences. I was so aggressive in paying off my debt that I spent more than I earned several months in a row, devouring my financial checking account cushion. And now, in the bitterest of ironies I'm back in debt. Last month I got hit with a plane ticket (unexpected holiday travel bargain), car trouble and some big celebrations (planned and extemporaneous) thus rendering me unable to pay off this month's balance.

So in an effort to get my finances under control I am going to chart every expense this month. I figure one of two things happen:

1. I spend as usual and then get humiliated at the end of the month when I see what I've bought and change drastically come September.

2. Knowing that I'm a subject of an experiment I behave differently under observation.

Ultimately, I expect outcome 2.

Without further ado today's grand total was $19. We took our summer intern, Sasha (who is headed to Oberlin. Hooray for Sasha) out to lunch at Kokomo Cafe, the shooting site for the new Peach Pit on the new Beverly Hills 90210. I ordered the excellent fried catfish and eggs breakfast. The menu cost was $10.95 (I think) and I didn't order a drink. But with tax and tip and covering my share of our intern's lunch, the tab rose. Overall, a reasonable expense given that my weekend plans call for zero recreational spending, just groceries and house stuff (paper towels).

My friend Robbie said that he charts his expenses every month by color-coding them—one color for gas, another for food, etc. When fuschia shows up too much, he knows it's been a bad month.

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