Sunday, January 30, 2011

No Income? No Problem!



Rita MacNeil has won our hearts like food has won her stomach
I have made it through a month without any income (Whoohoo)! How great is that? I do have to admit though that reflecting back on this month; it has not been as easy as I would have thought. I have been sick twice which makes me believe that the stress of not having any cash did take its toll on me. Being sick does have its advantages though, you get to sit around watch Rita MacNeil Christmas specials and not spend anything! There were a few curveballs thrown at me that made things really no different than any other month. For starters, I had lots of social engagements that I was invited to (I know, I know - Mr. Popular is bragging again) which I felt extra obligated to attend because it was one of my friend’s last time here for over 8 months (because he’s travelling the world – that lucky ba$tard – read his blog here)! I always put friends and family first, so I don’t like to let something stupid like a lack of funds get in the way of having a good time!

Courtney Loves to get smashed
The second big curveball was the fact that I broke (or should I say – destroyed) the screen on my iPhone. It was more smashed than Courtney Love is every day. Those of you who have one of these things know that it is not so easy to operate without the screen and every time I did use it, I had glass shards penetrating my fingers.  This came with a hefty price tag to have it fixed ($100 – holy smokes) which left me with the temptation to use my upgrade and get a whole new phone – which would have meant having to use my credit to pay for it! Then there’s the whole buying a month’s worth of food and paying all the normal bills. How the heck did I make it through the month with all this financial temptation and so much free credit to remedy it – I’ll tell you, quit being so impatient – or just read the end as if this were a high school reading project.

Let’s start with the bills. Lucky for me, I have 3 roommates which makes my power and internet bills only ¼ of what I would normally have to pay. My hydro bill is less that $10 per month, which is pretty effing sweet. All my other bills are included in my incredibly cheap rent so that certainly helped me keep the budget down. The groceries part was really easy. I ate lots of leftovers and plenty of pasta, but this was mostly doable because I have a fantastic partner who stepped up to the (dinner) plate and kept my belly full of delicious and nutritious food! How many people with no money can say they ate salmon this month? I realize that not all of us have someone in out lives to buy us food, so here are some quick tips on keeping your food bill cheap:

  • rice, pasta, and bags of fruits and vegetables are dirt cheap - take advantage;
  • scan your flyer for deals – it was dollar days at my grocery store this month;
  •  leftovers can be gross, but they are less gross if you reheat them in the stove instead of the microwave – if you can add cheese to the leftovers, do it;
  •  cook things in bulk; lasagna, roasts, stir-frys, can make multiple meals and you can freeze portions for later (I don’t recommend cheese on a stir-fry);
  • potlucks enable you to make something for cheap and get to taste lots of delicious foods from other people – and if you host, you get to keep the leftovers;
  • dust off the crock pot - a great tool for making delicious and effortless dishes for cheap;
  • Did you know the internet has recipes on it now; even some that are specifically designed with cheap eats in mind? And you thought the internet was only for porn!


My iPhone had more cracks than Rita's butt
Now that the basics were taken care of, I was faced with the new dilemma of fixing my phucking iPhone. A little back story for you; I was taking care of my friend’s dog for a week and she was taking her time looking for a place to take her morning dump which made me have to rush off to work that morning. I had started to wear mittens so that picking up her dumps would be less gross. It turns out that my mittens make it more difficult to hold onto my phone, so it should come as no surprise to my readers that the phone slipped out of my mittened hand and landed face-down on the concrete as soon as I stepped out the door to go to work. Coincidentally, my friend who owns the dog broke her iPhone that same day after a snake almost bit her bum by the pool.  I was now faced with the problem of getting the screen fixed. Who knew that a piece of glass would cost $100 to fix!? I was extra tempted to get a new phone because I now have a $200 credit toward a new one, however I did a bit of research and my friend Miguel (happy birthday!) found a do-it-yourself fix-it kit online for $12.95! So much cheaper than $100! Gail would have been so proud and handed me the check for $5000 for sure! I used a YouTube video as a guide and fixed the screen all by myself (mind you, now my speaker doesn’t work, but this is a minor detail). This just goes to show that you should hold onto things and try to fix them until it’s absolutely necessary to replace them – just don’t become a hoarder and start keeping thousands of rats in your house – did you see that episode?! That was freaking d├ęgeulasse!

Now, the biggest challenge – social engagements. I don’t like to ask for handouts and there’s nothing I hate more than owing money to friends or family – especially to pay for me to go out and get shmammered. This is where I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends in my life. My friends picked up the tab on many of my meals and hosted me to a plethora of events. Dana made delicious brunch, Nicole surprised me with a sushi platter and 3 bottles of wine, Gigi threw great parties, Caitlin spoiled me with sweets, Kate lent me some CDs to give me my music fix, and everyone helped me get through a stressful month by doing things that are dirt cheap. I won’t lie, there were times when I wanted to look for my credit card and go for some retail therapy but thanks to wonderful friends who enjoy the simple things in life – like a great conversation, going for a skate, playing a board game, this month was a lot easier to get through. If you’re in the same boat as me and you’re drowning in debt, let your friends know that you’re going to have to cut back on expenses and you’d be surprised how wonderful and supportive people can be to get you back in the black and out of the red!

Well, that’s it for this entry. I hope that January has treated you as well as it has I, and remember, if you’re every struggling with debt repayment – you’re not alone!

Xoxo

John

P.S. Did you notice that I was able to say penetrating in a blog entry without making a sex joke? I have so much restraint!

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