Your Bill Comes to $125

zara's picture

My mom has taught me some pretty useful things over the years. I've learned the basics of proper grammar, developed a love of literature and ended up finding confidence in my writing all because of my mother. There are also some not so lovely things that I've learned from my mom.

For example, money is a mystery to me.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that you need to make more money than you spend. I know that you need to get off your ass every morning and go to work on time if you have any plans on making any money. I've also learned better than my mother what the value of a bargain is. She's an odd Virgo who doesn't seem to understand that if you just wait until the weekend, that dress is most likely going to be on sale.

I must confess one thing: I soothe myself with money. More specifically, plastic money.

A friend of mine used to refer to it in the non-politically correct way of "living nigger rich." If I get an unexpected windfall, a large tax return, etc... I will spend that money on a bunch of shit that I don't "need." I will spend that money even though I really want to move out of my parent's house. I will buy my friends lunch, get a bunch of toys for Midget that she's just going to end up breaking in a couple of months and I will watch movies in the theater for full price.

The last couple of days have been confusing ones to me. On one hand, I got a surprise deposit in my checking account on Thursday morning. Apparently I was given a raise (my company has been petitioning for rate increases on the services we provide and they've come through) and that raise was retroactive from July of last year. So when I checked my balance I had more than double what I would have normally found in there.

Which pretty much rocked because otherwise I would have been tighter than a flea's asshole until my next pay period. Midget's last tuition payment was this month and the best that I had to look forward to was supposed to be a month away when I didn't have to fork over another $500. With the combined payment for my efforts over at (second quarter pays at the end of June... gotta love getting paid for watching movie, eh?), I was starting to feel less pressure.

Then I get the extra money. Which is good. I had also applied for a Visa card (while thinking about that flea's asshole) and hadn't heard back for quite some time.

So imagine my surprise, after having a shitty Friday in which I was told that I wasn't a good friend for being the only friend that I know how to be and waking up Saturday morning feeling like ass because my sinuses are fucked again, when I opened the mail this afternoon and a shiny Visa card popped out of one of my letters.

Along with a VERY healthy credit limit.

I never watched my mother pay bills when I was a little kid. I knew they had them because I would overhear her bitching to my dad about not having enough money. I also got used to seeing those little postcards that the bank would send when something was overdrawn. For a couple who made over 100K a year, I never understood how my parents never had enough money. That always seemed like more than enough to me.

But that was because I didn't understand my mother's spending problems. All I ever witnessed was her pulling out a credit card at a department store or writing a check for an expensive pizza order.

I will give my mother some daughterly credit though. She would at least pay her bills.

I didn't see that. I grew up thinking that plastic equaled free money. You use the plastic until it's filled up and then you pay them a little bit so they don't get mad at you. When I moved out of my parent's home, I was making good money as a commission salesperson. I had no bills aside from car insurance and gas (my car was paid for with my portion of the money my grandfather left to me when he died - and this was my paternal *step*grandfather who really owed me nothing) and ended up paying my bills in full when they would arrive at my mom and dad's house.

When I moved out on my own, I had cards at every location in town. I'd opened so many accounts based on getting a discount here or there and I used them to help fill up my new apartment. Dishes, silverware, pots and pans. Sheets, blankets, towels. You name it, I charged it.

Then I had to find out the hard way that rent isn't the only bill you have when you move out.

You have gas, electricity and phone bills. You have a cable bill, something that you have to share the payment in even if you don't watch TV if you have a roommate that does. You have to spend more money on food and deal with coming home to discover that your roommate ate it all and didn't put anything in its place.

And the fucking toilet paper!!! Dammit, it still fucking bugs me to no end that we need to spend money to buy something to wipe our asses with. We don't even get to enjoy it. And women use far more than men do. Another gender injustice.

When I would get extra money, I spent it on shit that would make me happy instead of paying down my bills. I already gave everything I made over to them, and it depressed me to not have anything left over for myself.

Needless to say, I had over 15K in credit card debt (mainly late charges and finance charges by that point) when I was 25. And nothing of any value to show for it.

So I declared bankruptcy and moved on. I moved on to having Midget debt free.

However, it meant that I couldn't buy shit just "because". I didn't have the credit to get anything and needed to learn to pay for everything in cash. I couldn't get cute outfits for my baby just because I wanted to. I learned the value of money. Sort of. I remembered to always pay rent first. Somehow I managed to find help with the other shit if I really needed it.

Cut forward to today. I have a shitty day yesterday and today based on stupid crap that shouldn't bother me. I get a brand new credit card in the mail which I had promised myself I would use only for when I didn't have any cash to pay for shit. I actually have cash in the bank to pay for shit because of that pay raise.

So what do I do?

I go out to the mall and rack up $125 worth of clothing and jewelry for Midget and myself. I could have paid for that out of my bank account, but I charged it on the Visa instead. Granted, if I pay the bill in full next month when it comes, I won't have any finance charges. I doubt I will, but there is that remote possibility that I might try. I have the best intentions.

And hell, I can always pacify myself with the thought that if it had been my mother, she would have spent more than that in ONE store. I'm a sucker for a clearance rack. At least I made that $125 fucking stretch.

But if anyone of you fuckers makes me sad in the future, I'm making YOU foot the bill.


What throws me for a loop is

What throws me for a loop is not having enough credit. Fucking credit fuckers.

kiki's picture

fuck money

I was told by a close friend today that I'm a horrible mooch.

I bought her pop, popcorn and movie ticket today.

But still, she says I'm a mooch, and that I need to knock it off.

She has been feed everything from her parents. Nearly everything. Don't let my frustration cloud this. They bought her first car, pay her rent, pay for her food, pay for her schooling, etc.

I can't remember the last time my mom bought me anything...I think it was in high school.

I hate money. I hate how it corrupts friendships, and people.

I almost wish I lived in a communist society.

I wish I had 125 bucks. Damn.

Budo7's picture

I love money

I worked my ass off to make money, so I enjoy it when I can. I must agree with you that folks who have it spoon feed to them can be a real pain in the ass.
One of my friends comes into more money each month then he can spend, he is one of the most giving guys in the world, only problem is folks tend to take advantage of him. We have talked to him about that, but his reply is why do I care? I can't spend it all any way. Lucky bastard.

mistylou69's picture

What a wonderful friend...

I'm sorry, but I, in no way, would ever tell any of my friends that they aren't a good friend, unless of course I was completely breaking ties with them. So, that so-called friend is an asshole for telling you that. You know me...I forgive and forget too much, but that's one thing that I wont tolerate. I often warn people that I'm getting close with that I have a demanding job and a forgetful not to expect too much out of me and to be happy when I have the time and the strength to pay attention to them, yannow? My friends understand that and they are thrilled to see me when I can make it their way and it makes our visits that much better and more interesting catching up because I haven't seen them in a few weeks or whatever.

Okay...I'm get the point.

As for the retail therapy...I think we'd all go nuts if it weren't for shopping. I'm not one that likes to get out and be in the crowd at stores or malls much, but sometimes...I just need to shop a little. I usually do it by catalog or the internet, but that's hard when you don't have a credit the exercize couldn't hurt me any walking around the mall, huh? I haven't been shopping...not even to like 4 months. I'm way past due!

As long as you pay off that $125 and save the rest for that'll be doing okay...just remember that bankruptcy and all the calls and notes in the mail...and all the finance charges and late fees...that alone would keep me from making the same mistake again. :)


Budo7's picture

Live a little

Live a little, nothing wrong with charging 125, you had to break the plastic in to make sure it worked. Now put it away and pay it off, plus it helps your credit rating.
As for the "friend" piss on that person, not a real friend, if they expect you to respond a certain way. Accepting someone as a friend, means just that, you take the whole person, you don't get to pick which part you like and which part you don't.

My ex-wife had a plastic fetish, sadly it was the same type you are talking about. :)

sole's picture

Aaaaargh!!!! Retail Therapy!!!

There is nothing more soothing after a shitty week than to spend a little money (or a lot) on some new shoes or a shopping bag full of cute new tops and t-shirts, makeup, accessories, music, movies - I better stop, I'm getting goosebumps.

When I got married eight years ago, I vowed to be careful with my spending. I didn't have much of a choice, given that my husband at the time was not employed and whatever money he managed to hustle up on the street, he spent on drugs. I would get paid and I would take my paycheck to the bank, cash it, and purchase money orders for the rent and bills. If I wrote checks instead and waited for them to clear, my then husband would take my money and the checks would bounce. I learned discipline the hard way and it was rough. If I ever treated myself to a little bit of clothes or shoes, it was at the indoor swapmeet, and usually with birthday or Christmas money from my parents. I ended up getting a couple of credit cards for emergencies, which my husband in turn maxed out by purchasing stereo equipment (which he later sold for drugs). I couldn't pay for it and filed for bankruptcy. I haven't purchased anything on credit in almost ten years and have no debt. Strangely, what I considered a tragedy at the time turned out to have a positive outcome.

Of course, this doesn't mean I don't shop anymore. I buy everything cash. During the past year, having Daniel around (and roommates) has left some extra room in my paycheck every pay period. Instead of putting it aside into savings, my dumb ass would spend it the day I got paid. I couldn't help it. After being so restricted with money for so long, I would see some money and my heart rate would literally speed up. I have wish lists on like ten online retailers and I would chip away at those wish lists while adding more items to them. Now I'm faced with having to quit my job and dedicate myself entirely to school. I'm saving up to buy a car, and I've been putting away every other paycheck into savings for the past few months. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and it's not going to get easier from here, given that I have a few more years of school left. I guess this is my ultimate test - to conquer my materialistic wants.


jomadd's picture

Wow Sole that is an amazing

Wow Sole that is an amazing story. I have so many questions. Good luck with school!! Education is always the best way....

jomadd's picture

We are the plastic

We are the plastic generation. I myself had just over $17,000 in credit card debt. I paid it off a few years ago by using consumer credit counceling services. I didnt realize there was a problem until the payments got to be $400 a month and the debt would only go down $25.
It is a hard lesson to learn, but one that will serve you well. Pay that $125 off and be done with it.

Be the kind of friend you want your friends to be. If it isnt good enough then they can find new friends that are what they want. There is nothing wrong with trimming the friend tree.....

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