I can admit it: I've got a few tragic flaws.
I don't do well with correspondence. I send Christmas cards late, I struggle to return calls from far-flung friends and I'm always sluggish when trading emails with someone.
Another flaw: my eternal optimism. That's right. Sometimes my overly rosy disposition gets in the way of reality - on occasion, I fail to adequately assess the situation and am disappointed when the results aren't as positive as my expectations.
The flaw that challenges me most frequently?
Feast or famine. That's the perfect description for the two weeks following payday.
It starts slowly. Sometimes I'll order out lunch on payday. Other times I might treat myself to something nice - like a new body scrub or CD. Then I enjoy a dinner out here, a night on the town there. I'm toting decent wine bottles and good cheese home from the grocery and I'm buying a few songs on iTunes.
About six days after payday I realize I've been living on the lam and that I've to to pinch pennies to make it to the next paycheck.
I knw I'm not the only American who lives this way. Lots of people live paycheck-to-paycheck. I'm just astonished with the sometimes rapid pace that I can drain my finances on chicken shit garbage of no consequence.
I think my dad was right. Subconsciously I MUST think money grows on trees.
But I know that's not true... it only grows in the bank - and that's where I need to stuff away a little nest egg.
The second half of the paycheck - that's when I don't buy lunch out. Hell, I won't even buy a Lean Cuisine if that means I can save a couple bucks. I raid my pantry and dust off old soup cans stashed behind the cereal boxes. I'll eat egg sandwiches over and over and over because eggs and bread are dirt cheap...
Sometimes I'll just not eat.
Yeah. That's not smart. But then - I certainly don't look like I'm going hungry, so perhaps I could stand to skip a meal or two. That's exactly what happens - I live high on the hog after the paycheck comes in and I tend to gain a few pounds. Then all the money's spent and I start losing what I gained after a few trips to Chipotle, the neighborhood watering hole and the grocery store.
Toiletries. I cut corners there, too. Post-paycheck I don't think twice about buying Crest's Vivid whitening toothpaste or a bottle of shampoo. But once I'm drained - and in need of a toiletry - that's when I start looking around the house for travel sizes and hotel shampoos. I remember one occasion where GHETTO ALERT I had run out of toilet paper and started using the paper towels in the kitchen (thank God I had a full supply).
It's like I am some schizophrenic spender - I can spend with the best of them after payday but then watch out all of a sudden I become the cheapest ass around.
Which I guess is a good thing - maybe I can use some of my frugal talents right after payday and help spread the cash a little further...