Friday, March 30, 2012

First-world money problems

I've been trying a horrible new plan lately called living within my means. It's quite barbarous; I only buy goods or services if I have the money in my checking account. Not if I'll get the money next week, or if it's in savings, or if I can put it on a credit card.*

It's all part of my master plan to pay off my credit cards, but it sucks. I need a haircut, but I don't have the money. (No way can I afford a new dye job, too.) I'm even feeling too broke to do real grocery shopping.

Now, I know this is only a tough moment. It's part of the incredible suckitude of being paid every two weeks. I hate being paid biweekly. Bills don't come that way; they arrive monthly, which is not the same as every two paychecks. You can only avoid temporary shortfalls by having a considerable cushion in checking. People like me, who tend to spend what we have, don't leave cushions.

So, for example, my most recent paycheck went to rent. Which meant the one before it had to go to my April bills. Oh, the money is technically still in checking, but it has a big old target painted on it. In two weeks I'll get another paycheck, and it will look like whee-it's-Christmas money, but it isn't.

It shouldn't be like this. With my income, no kids or dependents, and no insane bills**, I shouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck. But the only way to stop living like that is, ironically, to really commit to it for a time so I can get ahead. 

*Naturally, there are (thus far theoretical) exceptions for actual emergencies. I'm not going to die for a balanced budget.
**Yes, I have credit cards. But I don't have unbelievable amounts of student debt or heavy medical bills.

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