Been studying so hard, really resenting it. Especially that stupid professor who gives us all of that extra reading to do AND a final project. Yo, lady, can’t you pick one or the other? It’s not like we have all day to work on just your stuff. We all have other classes, plus our outside “projects” — like food and laundry! It’s not like we’re 19 and can go get dinner in the dorm cafeteria. Someone’s gotta do the shopping around here.
That’s all the bitter negativity that was running through my head the other day when I was struggling to cram it all into my overloaded brain and still I wanted to have 10 minutes of a weekend to pretend I have a life.
Suddenly the grown up me had a little talk with the childish me. I said, “Are we doing this or are we not doing this? Because you do not HAVE to study this subject. You are perfectly capable of getting and keeping a low paying job for the rest of your life. Which is exactly what you will be doing if you continue to decide that it’s more important to watch some spoiled athletes run around on a field than to study your chosen subject.
You are doing this because you have been SUPPOSED to win the lottery for about 18 years now and the person pulling the numbers STILL has not gotten the message. So if you ever want a chance of owning a nice house, a boat, a pair of Christian-freakin’ Loubitans, then get your nose off that TV screen glass and back in the book.”
I made myself realize that the “evil” professor was not making me do anything. I was the one who had chosen to go back to school. In fact I really didn’t need to study all of those chapters and to put all of that effort into my final project. I really knew enough to fake it and slide by with a B. Of course my chances of landing and keeping a decent job if I did that would be lower than pulling the big six in the Megamillions (which I WILL do someday, damn it!!). No, I played that game the first time around in college and look where it got me — right back in school years later.
Once I realized that I was doing this for me, not my professor, my attitude shot right up. Let’s hope my grades follow! Because this time I am getting an education for the benefit of me – me and my future paycheck!!!
I picked up a can of that compressed air spray to clean my wireless computer keyboard. What the heck, it was $1.99, a bargain.
Got it home, couldn’t wait to spray out months worth of dust and cookie crumbs. Being a professional writer (ahem, yes I am calling myself that now!) I am particular about the tools of my trade. I always use a wireless mouse and keyboard. I find the wired models
too damned annoying too confining for my creative soul. Not cheap, but I don’t mind buying nice stuff for my work. If I were a professional skateboarder I wouldn’t buy my skateboard at Toys R Us.
Also being a professional procrastinator/snacker, I have been known to eat a cookie or five while I work. I generally go through a wireless keyboard every six to nine months. Maybe this is why.
After the spray treatment, some dust and crumbs were released. Sadly, still more now remain permanently lodged underneath my shift key, my space bar my “W” key, etc., causing them to just plain not work at all. Spraying more air only sends the gunk farther in, like a gung ho commando team. Irreparable damage and endless frustration for me as work does not get done. Only one solution —
That $1.99 bottle of air just cost me $59.99 for a new keyboard!
Get my hair done.
Sometimes I envy when men go to the barber shop. A process that is time and cost effective involving only 30 minutes and $20 for service and tip.
As for me, a trip to the hair salon involves days of planning, weeks of waiting, and months of savings.
I don’t bring my offspring. To make sure this happens, I check schedules – make sure the DH is off, my parents could be available, my sibling is a possible backup, ask friends that owe me a favor, and see if the girl down the street is still a drug-free, sex-free, church going, God-fearing teenager who loves to babysit. Once I can confirm with one of the aforementioned, I schedule an appointment, reconfirm with a caretaker and Step 1 is complete. I fuel up the car and $42.53 later I am on my way.
A woman’s hair salon is so different from a man’s barber shop. At the hair salon, different people do different jobs which means more individual tipping.
When I am done and the stylist turns me around, I look flipping fantastic! She tells me the products that were used so I can try them at home (although no matter how hard I try, it never comes out the same way). She makes me a care package and will meet me up front with my bill. My bill that does not include the following: tipping the shampoo girl, the assistant, the stylist, paying the sitter (because no one was available for free), and the fuel to get there (see $42.53 above).
A trip to the salon is a special event for me in which I save and savor every moment. With the days, weeks, and months of planning, waiting, and saving, I refer to this event as my Summer Olympics for it only takes place once every four years.
Deborah Dephicit responds:
Sometimes I envy the Amish and not just because they make a mean chicken pot pie. A bowl cut and a little lace bonnet on the head may look a little odd but it beats showing roots!
by: Jennifer Poure
Months ago, we get this huge water bill (I have a small heart attack). I remember paying the bill via the company’s website and waiting for the confirmation number. Well, that did not happen and I was afraid to click on send again because it may take out the money twice. I decided to wait until the next day to make sure that the payment went through and it did because the bank had a pending charged.
Two weeks later, I come home after picking up my kid from school and get ready to start dinner. I turn on the faucet and nothing comes out. I check the other faucets and the toilets and no water. I call the water company and ask what is going on. They inform me that my water has been turned off due to failure of payment.
I paid I PAID, I yelled. They ask for my confirmation number and I explained to them what happened. Since I have no confirmation number there is no proof.
I call DH and asked him if we paid the water bill and he said yes and the money was taken out of our (more like his) account. I call the bank and they confirm with the exact time and the code that the water company used to take out the money. I called the water bill and they told me that they will offer me a courtesy by turning on my water but I have to show them proof from the bank. In the meantime my water could be turn on somewhere within the next 24 hours.
As soon as she said that, all of a sudden, I became really thirsty. With the thirst came a sudden urge to pee. I now also longed for a bubble bath and wanted to do things like mop the floors. All of these things that are associated with me needing and wanting water.
They turned on the water exactly 36 hours later and I was pissed. I went down to the office with my proof that the bank faxed me and began to berate the company for their incompetence. I explained to them how they put me in a situation that was uncomfortable and unbearable especially since I was postpartum.
When I mentioned the word “postpartum” that got their attention. They took my information and were going to do a thorough search on what happened with the account. They called me two days later and found that there was a glitch in their system. They apologize profusely for leaving me and my family stranded in my “situation”. The manager told me she understood my condition since she was a mother herself. She asked how old was my youngest child. 2, I replied. And again more apologies for leaving a mother with her two month old child without the necessity of water. I told her fine and that my child is 2 years old. She said I thought you were postpartum.
According to Webster’s dictionary, the word postpartum means after birth. Don’t let your perception trump reality.
Deborah Dephicit responds:
I’ve been very moody lately and have all of the symptoms of being post-partum, except for actually having given birth. Maybe I’m just retaining water? (Ha ha.)
by: Deborah Dephicit
I bought a Coach bag for ONLY $39 and no it’s not a knock off and no it didn’t “fall off the back of a lorry,” as my friends in England would say. I simply used an economic formula available to women for centuries.
The original retail price of this bag was $268. Now I know what all you naysayers (MEN) are going to say, “That’s a lot of money for a bag.” First of all, as any woman will tell you, a Coach bag is an investment piece. Like a good bra but much more visible. Second it’s not like any of us are going to spend hundreds of dollars to sit outside at some sporting event when we can stay at home and not watch it on TV. So you have your outlandish whims of fancy, we’ll have ours.
So the bag was $268 but I happened to have a coupon good for 40% at the Coach store. Ladies, I can hear your gasps now (and men, your snores?). How did I come to be in possession of such a golden ticket of retail? Well, like I said before, Coach is an investment piece and they stand behind their product. (At those prices they had better!) What happened was I had another Coach bag which developed a slight defect. The nice people at the Coach store sent it to the factory to be fixed (for free, of course, didn’t even have to pay for postage). Sadly, the factory sent me back my bag saying it was unfixable. At first I was mad until I noticed what they tucked inside. The aforementioned 40 percent golden ticket. Good for 40 percent off my next purchase at the Coach store.
Now luckily for me that coupon didn’t have an expiration date on it because it took me a year an a half to be able to afford my “next” trip to Coach. It’s not like I drop in there on the way home from buying my contact lens solution and lotion at Target because they’re one dollar cheaper there.
So, on to the economics. Now Ms. Poure and I are not mathematical geniuses. We couldn’t tell a sine from a cosine even if there were a free venti iced chai involved as a reward. Neither of us will be applying for Mensa candidacy and Dennis Gaitsgory (kinda hunky professor of math at Harvard University), let’s just say your position is intact. (Link to view photo of the hunky Dennis Gaitsgory whom we found on Harvard’s website:)
But there is one area of Mathematics in which we excel – consumer math. Ms. P and I can calculate a markdown in our heads faster than you can say “calculator.” So when I saw the price of my bag I knew right away that with my coupon it would be a little over $100 off, $104 to be precise. (10 percent of 268 is 26. 26 x 4 is an easy 104!). $100 off on a Coach bag? Ladies, are you sweating? I know my heart is pounding!
Now we’re down to $164 (268-104). Not a bad price at all for a brand new Coach bag THAT’S NOT EVEN FROM THE OUTLET STORE. But wait, there’s more.
I also happened to have a $100 gift certificate from Coach! Okay, it didn’t exactly say “Coach Gift Certificate” on it, it said “Paycheck.” I got paid about $100 for a little outside tutoring job I did. I’m sorry but little jobs like that are like found money. As soon as I took on the job I knew that money was going straight into my Coach bag. As one of my colleagues pointed out the check didn’t actually say, “Pay to the Order of The Coach Store” on it. I COULD have used it to pay for something a little more practical. I’m telling you what I told her. “I’m not getting up at 7:00 on a Saturday morning to pay the cable bill!”
Okay so we’re down another hundred, bringing us to $64. Oh yeah. A bargain even if the bag had “fallen off a lorry.” But there was one final knockdown to be had. You see, earlier this fall, before that tutoring job fell into my lap, I had purchased a much less costly bag at a much less prestigious store. The bag was kind of cute. There wasn’t anything really wrong with it except IT WASN’T A COACH BAG. Like a relationship with the wrong guy, it just didn’t feel right. So not right, in fact, that I never even removed the bag from the trunk of my car after buying it. (That’s like not even texting, “We should just be friends.”) So, in comes the tutoring check and out goes the cheap bag back to the discount store. Ka-ching. Another $25 markdown on my Coach. ($25 – I told you it was cheap!)
$64- $25 equals $39. Deal of the century. Hmmmm….Dennis Gaitsgory, I wonder if Harvard is looking for any Econ professors for next semester?
P.S. Coach – please send the endorsement fee to firstname.lastname@example.org. We take gift cards.
Jennifer Poure responds:
I got a Coach bag one time for less than that. I only paid $25! It was a beautiful bag – hobo style! It was black and I used it all the time. To me it went with every outfit and it was the perfect accessory to anything in my wardrobe. One day my friend decided she wanted to borrow it. I was hesitant (no one lends out a bag of that caliber when they only have one) but decided why not share the worth. She was so ecstatic; she was holding heaven on earth. She and I examined it to make sure she returned it in the same condition she found it. Until she started looking closely at the label and rubbed of some kind of mark on the word “Coach”.
It was discovered I actually purchased a “Couch” bag instead. Damn Canal Street vendors! Like a Monet, it looks all pretty from afar but up close just a big ugly mess (don’t you just love the movie Clueless?)!
by: Jennifer Poure
This is one of the birthdays that I do not have trouble knowing what to get. DH is pretty straightforward and very easy to shop for. The problem is that DH over the years has acquired not only a wife and kids but expensive taste. Or maybe it was never expensive, I was just always employed. As events turned out that is no longer the case but his birthday arrived as scheduled.
These are the facts that I was facing:
1. I have $39 in my personal account (until unemployment decides to pay me – more on that later).
2. I have $4 in coupons.
3. My mom gave me a gift card from TJ Maxx’s for $26.19 (she could not find an original receipt and opted to take the gift card).
They say that love is in the details and this could not be more true. So I dug deep, deep, deep into that icebox that I call a heart and searched within to create the ultimate shoestring budget gift and came up with the following:
– I made a fancy gourmet dinner with whatever ingredients I had in my refrigerator and pantry. What made it fancy is that the offspring and I dressed up in our Sunday best and had dinner in our dining room (using the wedding China that has been reserved for special occasions but has been collecting dust for
6 7 6 years).
– I made a cake that cost me nothing thanks to coupons (couponersunited.blogspot.com).
– From TJ Maxx’s, I got a Phat Farm shirt and Rocawear jeans for $19.17 (including tax) and placed them in an old Christmas gift box and wrapped the box in Sunday comics (quite festive).
– I had A and B make birthday cards because DH will keep the cards made by his children and lose the one that will cost me $3.99 at Hallmark (why Hallmark when you can Facebook your greetings?).
Needless to say that DH was extremely happy with the outcome and so was I. In the past I would have spend ridiculous amounts of money for gifts to show how much my love is but to coincide with the old cliches of “less is more”, “it’s the thought that counts” and “love is in the details”, I no longer need to result to that. Having your income drastically reduce (to nothing) forces you to be one creative chick.
Deborah Dephict responds:
I really like this post. It embodies the true spirit of AOP – laughing in the face of poverty and accepting that while it is indeed a state it is only a temporary state for you. You don’t even have to change your driver’s license and car registration over. Plus who knew that T.J. Maxx sold Phat Farm? Jennifer Poure – once again making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. (Hey – how about putting in an application at Coach? I hear employees get a 30% discount!)
by: Jennifer Poure
For Christmas, we decided to get Frick and Frack a dog. DH always talked about how he grew up with pets and wanted the kids to have the same experience. I, on the other hand, was hesitant. All the chores and responsibilities that come along with a pet, and also to mention the financial burden. Yes, puppies are cute and kittens are sweet, but the training, the money, the picking up, the money, the cleaning up, the money, the headache, the money, the time, the money – it’s just not cute (shameless plug for our teen website – http://www.itsjustnotcute.com)!
We decide to adopt because
I can not even conceive the notion of paying hundreds of dollars on an animal that I am going to have to pick up their sh*t there are a lot of dogs out there that need a good home.
While DH and the kids took to caring and being responsible for the dog right away. All I thought about was how much this dog is costing this family that is negative one income.
Adoption – $100
New Crate and Bed – 120
First office visit – 34.95
Rabies virus – 15.95
Pet & Client Service – 30
Medical Waste Disposal Fee 5.00
Tapeworm Visit 150.00
Flea medicine/tablet 30.00
Puppy Food – 30.00 (because Purina Puppy Chow is not good enough; NOOOOO, DH has to go and get fancy, schmancy, organic can-only-buy-it-at-Pet Smart puppy food)
This is not a Master Card commercial where in the end I am going to say, “Seeing the joy of my children playing with their new pet – priceless”. The price for the first month of this puppy was over $500.
If you are wondering what is the name of the puppy, everyone in the house calls him Audi; I personally have named him NAT D. Poure ( NOT A TAXABLE DEPENDENT).
Deborah Dephicit responds:
As I have always advised you with your children, no one is too young or too naive to start paying their own way. Get him an agent and book him a Purina commercial and soon you will be turning a doggie profit!