Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's a malady

The culling of materiel has begun. Moving always sucks (there is no thesaurus entry for sucks with this meaning) and it's very important to rid yourself of everything unnecessary before you move. Going through the boxes stored in the basement, I found all my important papers from 1990-1995. I don't know why I still have this box, I had stored a few at my dad's house when I moved to Canada, and I guess he sent them to me subsequently. Anyway, it's so strange to see my writing and lists from so long ago. Writing in codes that I don't understand anymore. Who was this person who saved every scrap of financial paper? And I found my budget books. For years I wrote down every penny I made and spent on a daily basis. (I was a waiter.) At the end of each month, I added up the columns to find what had consumed the most resources, and then tried to adjust my spending habits based on the information.

It's why I drink tap water and cut coupons.

Though I don't do the budget book anymore, the self training has ultimately been a good thing.

I just wish I could let myself splurge sometimes.


Lemuel said...

Until you compute the advantages of what bills to mail in and when, when postage is going up 2 cents, so that you do not lose more in interest in your account by paying now as opposed to later (as my co-worker actually did [and does]), you are a piker. (***grin***)

Actually it sounds like you were just trying to survive financially and sensibly (like the rest of us). I'm sure it has been a good thing. I keep track of all we spend (and all we have coming in) - but not anally so - so that we know when we can splurge without endangering what we have.

toobusyliving said...

I could have done well to have developed some "responsible" spending habits a long time ago....splurging has never been a problem for me.

GayProf said...

I used to religiously keep track of every penny in and out, yet I also ended up in crushing debt regardless. Apparently learning from all that data didn’t quite take for me.

Splurging is relative. If you aren’t the type of guy who gets excited by a $4,000 computer or a $900 suit, then what good would it do to spend money for those types of things? On the other hand, if you consider it a big treat to buy yourself that $5 book you have been eyeing in the local shop, that’s what counts, no?

St. Dickeybird said...

The self-training is definately good, but do let yourself splurge.

I think financial training like that is why poor people often have better money-management skills than wealthier types. In my opinion.

Ed said...

A guy on the View yesterday said we should never drink tap water or even water out of a plastic bottle. He said we should only drink water out of a glass bottle. Okay, so I watch the View does that mean I'm Gay? Here's what I do because I need to splurge or die. I put money in a Christmas Account. It is extra money so I don't feel guilty wasting it. I love shopping and Flea Markets and Festivals, okay, okay I'm Gay!

Timmy said...

Peter and I are in the same boat. I could teach you a thing or two about self indulgence.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Ahh, it will get better--3 months tops. But I know how you feel. Yesterday I felt tempted to just stay in a nice hotel for a couple of nights--no real reason, just to be somewhere else without really going anywhere. But no cash or credit. So we deal. I like what you wrote about the verb "suck"--I guess stink comes close, but no, it isn't the same. Some words in the English language are irreplaceable.

dirk.mancuso said...

I used to do the exact same thing. Every once in a while, I will run across old receipts from 1989 for a vcr or 1995 for a paperback book.

And I was a coupon clipper, too. I still get a lil buzz when I see "BUY 2 -- THE THIRD IS FREE!" in the Sunday paper.

Rebekah said...


Moving does really suck. And you know what a pack rat I am.

Although I'm more spendy than you (not saying much, everyone is more spendy than you), the other day I was in Macy's and realized I won't even look, let alone try on, any clothes that aren't on sale. And they need to be more than a chintzy 15% off. I'm talking mark down after mark down.

A quirk, if you will.

vuboq said...

Budgets ROCK!!! People who keep budgets ROCK!! The greatest thing about budgeting is -every now and then- budgeting some extra money to buy yourself a little something fun! Like a fifth of Sapphire Gin. Not that that's what I do or anything ...

Vila H. said...

I clip coupons too! As for water, I recommend a Brita filter, which makes water both tasty and cost-effective! And it counts as splurging... :-)

normlr said...

I was horrible at money management until Q came into the picture. Now I'm getting better, but still have a long way to go.

Here's a few tips to help you move:

1. If you don't know what's in that box that's remained sealed for years, it's not important so get rid of it.

2. If you haven't used or worn it in a year, get rid of it.

3.If you're keeping something completely useless solely for nostalgia's sake, and it's collecting dust in a shoebox in the corner of the closet, you should probably get rid of that too. Just because you throw out doesn't mean you don't care.

JoeL said...

Ain't it fun!

You are finally finishing the appartment and will move out of it soon.

To a new house where work will start and stop like this one right now. lol

I feel like at different times of the year. I'll be super safe and clip coupons for a while, then things seem to go well, oups where did the budget go?!

Like norml said. If the box was not opened in a year or more, just throw it. As for sentimental reasons, you gotta see if you're ready to let go.

Good luck Torn!?
Patience to both of you!?

Em said...

Hey! Now you can rescue my sock! You know, the one? sigh. Okay, it is off white and thick and it will be the only single sock down in the basement. I want that sock!

Patricia said...

i'm going against the grain here and suggesting you keep one nostalgic box. a box filled with old letters, journals, notes, silly cards, whatever.

i have such a box and i grin when i look through it from time to time and i read what i was thinking at various points of my life. sometimes i weed through it and sometimes i add to it. it's a fluid, flexible conglomeration of what’s important to me, what’s touched my heart. and the thought of having some of this stuff to look through when i’m 80 and can’t remember any of it is comforting.

The Persian said...

I just moved about 8 months ago from a house to a condo, the things I had to throw away made me want to cry. I had to empty the house completely. The industrial sized dumpster was overflowing.

I was more sad than anything.

teh l4m3 said...

"I just wish I could let myself splurge sometimes."

You think you do, but you don't!

Doug said...

My high school math teacher wouldn't let us say "sucks," so we said, "sips" instead. It wasn't quite as satisfying.

You could setup a rule for yourself to determine when you can splurge. If you have more than a certain amount in your bank account, or take a certain percentage of your monthly balance. Something that is structured but still lets you spend money on yourself. Just a thought.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I have a theory that your inner wild man views containment and boundaries, such as budgetary restraint, as love. And perhaps not just the budgetary kind.

David said...

We were separated at birth. I have been living hand to mouth since I graduated from college. I can't say I have a formal budget, I simply don't buy things. Like Rebekah, I won't buy clothes unless they are at least 25% off. If I walk into a clothing store, I head for the sales rack. If there is nothing there that I want, I walk back out again.

I also recommend the Brita filter.

I tried cutting coupons but I would never remember to bring them with me. I just look for advertised discounts and don't buy fancy brands. Store brand butter is fine with me.

I have a friend who is an accountant and he told me the basic rules for how far back you save financial records. So every Jan 1st, I toss out the oldest year's records and put in the new completed year's.

I have moved so many times that my possessions have been culled down to a bare minimum. They all fit in the back of rental van.

To me, splurging is ordering a drink with dinner. Unless it's a necessity (or damn good porn) I don't buy it. And I don't feel my life is lacking one bit.

Mark in DC said...

I have always found the "culling of material" to be liberating. At least once or twice a year I go through my closet and pull out the items I haven't worn in at least a year. Things that never quite fit right, colors/styles that are 'out' now, etc. I donate the clothes to a charity. It feels good to me to free up that space in my closet and to know that I am just a little less encumberred than before.

Less frequently but still routinely I do the same in my basement. A few times I've saved the no longer needed items for a yard sale, other times I've simply dontated them. Recently (check my blog) I put ads on Craigslist and made $300. (US) selling stuff I didn't use or need.

It always makes me feel good to rid myself of baggage like this. Somehow it makes me feel not stale.

Jason said...

I love purging boxes of old stuff that I'll never use. Hate clutter.

But I refuse to part with my elementary school yearbooks and report cards.