August 7, 2014

Writer on a Budget

R and I have recently allotted ourselves $125 per week to spend on groceries, down from the $225 we (OK, I) normally spend on food.

Since moving to California, I've had some, hrm, difficulty in finding gainful employment. My intuitive friend says this is because I'm supposed to be writing instead of job searching.

She may have a point: Before my first job interview, my front tooth fell out. While driving to the second job interview, the button popped off my shirt, revealing a lot more cleavage than is appropriate while discussing one's organizational skills. Before the third job interview, I got out of the shower and realized that Sweet P had run off to San Francisco with my blow dryer. I dashed over to my mom's house and dried my hair with time to spare-- no problem, right?

Then on the way to the interview, I took a wrong turn and somehow managed to end up in front of the exact apartment building where, when I was 13, my dad and I sat in the driveway in his El Camino, and he told me he could never be my father. I told myself he was just too wasted to know what he was talking about. Sitting in front of the apartment complex as an adult on her way to a job interview, I realized it was probably the most honest thing my dad ever said to me, and then I shook it off, undaunted, and went on to fumble my way through questions about my ability to tweet.

Whether or not my lack of employment is due to the universe's discretion, it's become clear that R and I need to make some different monetary choices. We have always loved the idea of a budget, and we've made several over the years. It's the follow-through where we fall short; how does one resist the opening night of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the requisite $50 bucket of popcorn? This time, however, I am determined.

I went to the grocery store on Monday and spent $85 on ... what? Fruit, apparently, because we still had nothing to eat for dinner. R headed back to the market Wednesday night for a few essentials (having developed a monstrous head cold, I was in desperate need cough syrup). This was our conversation as he headed out the door:

"You can't spend more than $45," I croaked from behind my pile of tissues on the couch.
"What do you mean?"
"We only have $45 left in our grocery budget this week," I explained.
He shook his head, "I don't know how to do that."

I think he meant that he didn't know how to do addition while shopping, but I'm not sure. In any case, he returned from the store having spent only $40. Unfortunately, he had to sacrifice his breakfast walnuts in order to pay for my cough syrup, and we still don't have anything for dinner. Luckily, I'm too sick to eat anything anyway. Everyone else will have to survive on raspberries and pluots for the next three days while I write about it.



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