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a round-up of thrift, february 2024.

Verily I say unto you, I think these posts are going to suck. As I’ve mentioned again and again, I’ve not been good with money lately, and all my thrift and frugality usually comes after all my money is gone. If I have money, I’ll spend it. But that’s exactly why I don’t have any left come mid-month – and my salary comes in monthly. Then comes the amount that I make as a landlord. It’s a small amount for the property even for where I live. It’s gone quickly too.

All that to say is, more often than not my financial situation around 20th and beyond is ‘I’ve got food at home, so that’s good’.

But I don’t have money for a cab home. Which sounds fancy, but seeing as I’m a night shift worker, it’s a necessity. There’s no public transport circulating when I get off work, and it’s not safe to walk one hour in the dark. Rental scooters exist, but they’re about as safe as walking, and about as expensive as a cab.

And I’ve been an idiot (newsflash). My car was stagnant all winter because I couldn’t drive in the snow with summer tyres (the entire tyre – I’m a poet and I didn’t know it – the tyre shabang is a story for another day) – so yes, my car’s been stationery, so when I went to start it earlier this week, of course it didn’t start. I hope it’s just the battery.

Anyway, back on track – these posts are going to suck. Which is exactly why I need ’em. If you’re frugal, these roundups are going to horrify you. I feel you. I’ve been frugal, you know. But a combination of mental illness and stupidity (mostly the former, really) got me where I am today. Neck-deep in debt, still making one bad choice after the other. It’s a little better than it was three months ago, where I couldn’t keep up with the vast majority of my bills, but I don’t know for how long it’s going to stay that way. I hope I will be lucid enough to make good financial decisions. It won’t turn my life around in a month, but I hope it will help to at least keep the debt at neck level for now. Then maybe we’ll get it to shoulder level. Chest, waist, knees. And, heaven allow, I hope I get it down to my ankles, and then shake that off as well.

But it’s a long way in the making.

For now, these posts are going to suck. They will be therapeutic for me, maybe hilariously horrifying for you.

Also, please! I encourage comments, but I am not looking for advice. I KNOW how to save money, I just don’t DO it for reasons briefly disclosed above.

So this month:

I cancelled my HBO and Crunchyroll subscriptions. (Not a voluntary action, might I add. I need my entertainment to keep the ruckus away.)

I decided against resubscribing to Epidemic Sound. If I continue posting vlogs, I will eventually choose to subscribe, but I will try to do it a year in advance, because the savings are significant.

Switched cab class from comfort to economy whenever it made sense. (Y’all, I know how this sounds, bear with me.) I order my cabs through an app, and since I’m a paid subscriber of Yandex (for $2 a month the benefits are really good), I get a 10% discount on Comfort rides most of the time. Which technically pays for the app in about 2 rides. With 10% discount most of the time the difference between Economy and Comfort is negligible enough to ignore, but I have to keep in mind that in my situation no savings is small enough. So I’ve been switching to Economy and riding Comfort only when no Economy is available or I’m in a rush and need the fastest class (which is comfort most days).

Hey, at least I’m not riding Comfort+.

…. 99% of the time. …

Anyway, moving on.

I drank coffee at work instead of getting my fix at a local bakery. Coffee at work sucks most of the time, because no one bothers to clean the machine. But I’m trying.

I bought breakfast brioches and other baked goods from the supermarket.

If I was really jonesing for the bakery fix, I’d go an hour before closing time to get 30% off. (Not much is left at that time, but eh.)

I kept instant oats and couscous at work for whenever I’d be too overwhelmed to pack my lunch. This and the bakery are probably the biggest savings this month.

Three times I stopped myself from going into the cosmetic shop and buying random shit.

Washed laundry on cold setting when appropriate.

Used the fast wash when appropriate.

Took generic medication instead of branded one. I can’t use this for everything, as some branded meds really do work better than off-brand – my migraine can tell the difference, trust me – but I’ve been in this rodeo long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. That alone, too, is savings, because I don’t end up buying pills that I know won’t work the way they should.

Drank boiled water instead of filtered or bottled. Water is safe here to drink from the tap, but I live in an older building, and these pipes keep me concerned, okay. I can smell the raw water is off. So whenever I can’t afford to replace the filter in my pitcher or have big jugs delivered, I drink boiled water.

Wondered what would be cheaper – boiling water on gas stove or continuing to use my electric kettle. I got overwhelmed by data and variables, but it looks like using gas is cheaper, especially if you use gas to heat your home – and I do. So it might be time to shelf the electric kettle for a while. I’m really trying to bring that electric bill down.

Charged my phone and small electronics at work so I don’t have to charge it at home. That alone will not pay my debt off, but every bit counts.

This one is questionable, and is more on the miserly side than anything else, but hey, I couldn’t afford it. By ‘it’ I mean toilet paper. So I took a few rolls from work. I’m trying to analyse my emotions and thoughts about it, and I find that I don’t feel bad about doing it per se, but I do feel shitty when I think of all the things that led up to a point of me not being able to afford toilet paper on a good motherfucking salary. Then again, when I was initially hired, I was promised quarterly performance-based raises (and my performance is doing work of 2.5 people, ok) and year-end bonuses. As it is, I don’t even get a pizza party every last Friday of the month, two slices per person, thank you very much. So I’ll be getting my performance-based raises in toilet paper, then.

Related: I printed out a textbook at work. No regrets.

Related-related: I did not buy soap and air freshener with my own money for the office. I used to do it, but I no longer will. If we all want to be smelling shit and washing our hands with Fairy, then so be it. I’ll just have to use heavy-duty hand cream.

Chewed one gum instead of my usual two.

At home, I opted for weaker coffee. I usually use two Nespresso capsules per cup. I started using one, and just making my coffee overall smaller, so it’s not terribly watered down.

I’ve been measuring out my peanut butter. Another thing that would not help me buy a house, but maybe it will be better for my waistline.

Bought a discounted veggie burger with sell-by date the next day.

(For full transparency I have to mention that one of the patties did go bad because I had no energy to cook it. The other one was delicious, though. Best veggie burger I’ve had so far.)

Bought tuna in oil instead of brine. I don’t know why, but the oil one is cheaper.

Bought sardines and other fish instead of tuna. Tuna is a favourite of mine and cats, but meh.

Bought the cheapest apples. One did go bad, though.

Opted for the longest and therefore cheapest passport renewal option.

Still I did not make it to the end of the month with money in my pocket. I had to borrow $15 (for cab rides), but my bank wiped out my account for scheduled debt payment before I could get to the ATM to take the money off. Thankfully I had around $3 left in change so I’m using that money for trolley rides home for the remainder of the month. Which means I have to stay at work 3.5 hours after my shift ends. So that’s 12.5 hour work days, because I don’t lounge around. My ethics are shitty overall, but I’m a chronic workaholic, so if I’m at work, I work. And that leaves me exhausted. So I come home and rot. I don’t cook, I don’t clean. I don’t do laundry. It’s currently third or fourth work day in a row where I’m eating those instant oats and couscous I mentioned above, because I can’t find the strength to boil water for some rice and beans or pasta with jar sauce.

I’d like to end this on a cheerful note, but this month has been difficult. I’ve got some medical shit come up, and most of my anxiety is medical related. I had to up my dosage of all the meds that I take, and I had to spend some good money on some imaging out of pocket, because there’s no way in hell I’ll be waiting for 6 months to get it done. I’m glad I was able to find that money, but it did mean more debt. And then I spent more money for a psych consultation, because yeah.

Yeah.

The horrors persist, but so do I. I will try to look at the good things. Like this being the end of the month, so the salary will come in tomorrow.

I just need to ensure that I stick to the plan and don’t go on a spending binge to keep the ruckus away.

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