Sunday, November 25, 2007

Going to be broke for December

Considering I don't often buy anything (well, not anything tangible at any rate) I sometimes manage to go through a huge amount of money. Not having much of the stuff in the first place, this can lead to difficulties. Looking back through my budget/spending for the last few months I can see that for some reason which now escapes me, I didn't pay off my credit card in July. I have a card with a €500 limit (actually €1,000 but tell myself it's €500 and it usually works or did), which I use to buy certain things during the month (petrol, bus tickets and anything online) and then pay off immmediately. Not sure why I didn't do that in July and, as these things go, and as I already know they go goddammit, I've paid a few hundred every month since but then still used the card until hey presto, there's €800 back on it. This is how I got myself into trouble a few years ago and I cannot let it go on any longer. I have been continuing to clear out my room (and hence my life), it is taking much longer than I thought it would but is nearly finished and I need to make sure I don't lose track of too much while focussing on that.

It's payday next week and I've decided to just pay the full credit card off then. Together with paying rent, loan and putting money aside for bills this will mean that from 1 December I'll be on a very tight budget of about €50 for the rest of the month. I will be away for the first week and already have Swiss francs which will cover most of my expenses while over there. Am staying with my sister in France (only real expense is train ticket to/from Geneva) and will not need any money for food or accomodation. That'll be week one over and done with. I do have three lunches/dinners which I'm supposed to go to over the Christmas period and I'll decide on each one as it comes up. Attending them means using my overdraft facility, something I don't like to do. I may be able to get some overtime at the weekend for one of the partners here who always gives a small amount of cash as a thank you which would solve that problem. I'll try and get a Tupperware order or two as well, which would also generate a bit of cash. I also still haven't brought my books to the second-hand bookshop yet to sell so will try and get that done and use the proceeds to buy one or two small books or similar to bring over to the kids in France (you get a higher value for what you sell if you take a voucher for the shop rather than cash - will see how big the difference is before deciding for definite).

It's going to be difficult but I have no-one but myself to blame and I think I need to do it this way rather than tell myself I'll pay half now and half in January, which will then become February etc. etc. It's time the cupboards had a clear-out anyway and if plain pasta and rice doesn't seem too appetising, it's amazing what you can come up with when you've no choice. It'll be made slightly easier by the fact that we usually get paid a week before Christmas. Given the way Christmas is falling this year, we may not get paid till 21st but that still means only two weeks of absolutely broke and then six weeks of living on one month's salary, which should be possible.

I really need to do this as I will need to save money for moving to Germany and want to do that sooner rather than later. My boss usually gives me a present in the form of vouchers or cash at Christmas and while there are a couple of things I do need (new shoes for work are top of that list), I want to try and keep most of anything I do get for my Germany fund.

From 1 December I also plan to keep a diary of consumer spending for one year. I will not be including food spending in this diary but am curious as to how often I really do go out and buy "stuff". I also just remembered that someone owes me €50 for some translation/editing help I gave them with a paper a while back. Will follow up on that and if I can get it, hey presto, my December budget just doubled!


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how you remember about money-owed when you have no money. We too are having financial issues right now - although I have nothing to pay off, just nothing coming in. This has prompted me to finally send out my invoices for work I have done and ask friends for the money they owe me from making t-shifts. December is a hard time to be broke since everyone else seems to be spending money like water but I totally understand your desire to pay off your credit card and not have it hanging over your head. Good luck!

*melanie from

karl said...

most of my invoices wait for times like you speak of. i usually like to queue the funds from side-work for larger projects but this year it will include christmas presents.