Christmas and January has caught up with me. I'm not tired from all the festivities and day-to-day living, but my bank account is. Seriously.
I typically don't live beyond my means. I'm good at reining it in, tying the pursestrings tight and putting my credit card in the freezer (don't laugh, I've done it). Not to mention, I've been watching back-to-back episodes of "From Debt to Us Part." If you've even contemplated buying a Starbucks grande latte AND a sugar cookie, don't watch this show. You'll only be sad of all the things you can't do when you owe a little too much to the Credit Card Fairy.
January was tight. I had unexpected expenses and a rash of vet bills trying to bring Bella (my soccer ball cat - RIP Bellalicious) up to optimum health only to have her depart in the end (and I had to pay for it!). I passed on the cremation and the paw-print ceramic and chose the utilitarian option. No fringe, no pomp and circumstance and still, it cost almost $200 to say goodbye.
And, I was still recovering from Christmas, overspending on some gifts by as much as $40 to $50 per person because I know the gift rocked. Now I'm rocking myself in a corner wondering what I will have to cut back to make ends meet.
I'm not broke. Don't get me wrong. I'm just not as comfortable as I think I should be. I have a mortgage, townhouse maintenance fees and all the bills and whistles that go along with home ownership. It adds up, and in a time when expenses are rising and my income is not, then something has to give.
So, here I am, looking over expenses and seeing what I can cut. Whether it's for now or forever, something has got to give and it will be giving back to my fiscal bottom line. As of Friday, I will no longer have a home phone. Since I use my cell 99 per cent of the time and the only person to call me on the home line is my mother, it was an easy choice, a $50 choice.
Also on the hit list: bowling night. At least for now. I was getting annoyed with it anyway. I was paying $18 per week to a bowling alley that takes 20 minutes and two reminders to fix a defunct lane. Two weeks in a row, we were beside two very large parties, one a stag (on Monday night of all nights!).
Art class will be put on hold for a month or two as well. I have two weeks left of the present course, which was paid in full. I will enjoy the rest of my time immensely and instead use the canvases I already have in some home-based art time.
Will there by other cuts? Probably. A return to the drawing board is in order until I can increase my income. While I have not had any concrete hits to-date, I remain optimistic. Until then, it's skint city. And some creative accounting.