Oh Shit! When Will My Money Run Out?: March 19, 2018 Monday Money Check-In

Thank god I got Kristin Wong’s book, Get Money, in the mail this week. Because she pinpointed exactly where I am right now.

Next stop: Cursing myself. But Amanda Clayman actually did a pretty great job of helping me stop doing that. It’s been hard this week. Things are not looking that good. I made that $300 mistake with the flight, where I booked it under my first initial instead of my first name. This also cost me a lot of stress and 6 hours on the phone.

Then: I have $200 left on top of the money that’s in my account for my rent check. YNAB is hard! I’m still learning, and I somehow, in the fog of travel, performed my favorite magic trick that is turning money into not money. I have a $2,700 invoice for work I did in December, which I was told I would get the check for today. That check is not yet with us. (*checks email, sees that they sent the check to my old address and speak of it as if it will be sent (future tense) to the new one. Sends passive-aggressive email to please just paypal me the money for the love of god*)

Review:

  • Earned last week: $375
  • Saved last week: $0
  • Personal Checking Balance: $800 (with a $795 for rent out in the world. Cash it already you hoes!)
  • Business Checking Balance: $234
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,800. This is the first week I can’t afford to send in my $200. I can only have two weeks a year like this or I’ll fall short of my $10,000. Maybe I can double it up one week!
  • Weekly wins: I really have done a good job of not falling into the shame spiral of hating myself for messing up. Just moving the f on.

Predict:

  • Look at all bills due this week: Phew, looks like none
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): did it!
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: I have to tell all my friends I’m in the danger zone and can do nada.

Plan:

  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: Done, because, you know, $0 received
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: I can’t, wah!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: $0

I can’t wait to read more of Kristin’s book and Get Money and Get My Shit Together.

Mother Effer, making $300 mistakes: March 12, 2018 Monday Money Check-in

Son of a trick ass bitch, I am here at the Silver Airways ticketing booth, trying to get to Key West, and as it turns out my reservation was made for P Perhach, not Paulette Perhach. Win: I was at the airport two hours early. Lose: The ticket agent told me that it will take 24 hours to re-issue my flight, It’s nearing an hour before the flight, and the last hour that I was supposed to spend giving my mom my full attention at a nice meal is spent with both of us on the phone, me snapping at her out of panic, and a Category 5 storm of self-hatred brewing in my chest.

You dumb fucking…

When are you ever going to learn to…

This is why you’ll never

And I was feeling so good too, after a few days of hustling and networking at the writer’s conference here in Tampa. I’d met my goals, met 5 possible people who could license my writer’s kit, and an editor of Poets & Writers who offered me to send in a chapter of my writing book for her to review as a possible contribution to the magazine.

I’m so glad this writing thing is working out, because I’m terrible at everything else. This whole issue, all the stress, the time, the cost, is because I didn’t check carefully when booking my ticket. Sigh. I accept this wild creative mind. It is not always the easiest thing to go through the world with.

Review:
  • Earned last week: $350 
  • Saved last week: $200
  • Personal Checking Balance: $800 ($5 above the rent check that’s about to cash)
  • Business Checking Balance: $291
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,800
  • Weekly wins: Felt like a did a kick-ass job networking at the writer’s conference I went to
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week: T-Mobile
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): Ugh kind of. Still struggling. 
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money.
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: Negative.
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: Yes
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: Negative. I’m totally screwing myself

 

 

Get the Numbers: March 5, 2018 Monday Money Check-in

One morning last week I woke up thinking about the skin cancer on my chest. I wasn’t thinking about my health, though. I was thinking about my bills. I assumed, since it feels like insurance companies just want to bankrupt us all, that this cancer would bankrupt me. I have a $4,000 deductible, even though my insurance is $400 a month. So I thought I would have no less than a $4,000 bill.

I even turned down a weekend with friends, citing that number and saying I would probably be facing it this year.

Then I realized: I really have no idea. To find out how much something will cost seems so freaking complicated. Do you ask insurance or your doctor? What’s the procedure code? How many calls will you have to make, and how long will each one take? I made myself face it, and found out. I made two calls and discovered that, while they couldn’t give me a definite number, it would probably cost between $400 and $600.

Oh. I had to laugh.

I can handle that. It’s like how I had my 20-year-old car broken down on the side of the road for more than a week. I didn’t want to take it to the mechanic, because I was sure that they would say this is the time to put her down. So I kept finding excuses of why not today, today, today. Then I had her towed, for free with my Geico roadside assistance. They found out that the battery the replaced this year was defective, and replaced it. Bill: $0. Car: fixed.

Hell yes.

I have to keep asking myself: with retirement, with buying a house, with any dream or dread, am I responding to actual numbers, or nebulous fear?

Right now I’m feeling afraid. I haven’t had much paying work for the last three weeks, I’m headed to Florida for a conference and week with my friends, and it just feels like the ramp-up to a nosedive. So I’m going to get on the phone with Lindsey from YNAB, and hope she can help me figure it all out, get the actual numbers.

Review:
  • Earned last week: $730 (Not as bad as I thought, but not great.)
  • Saved last week: $200
  • Personal Checking Balance: $586
  • Business Checking Balance: $2,061
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,600
  • Weekly wins: Really trying to get educated on YNAB so I can keep my stuff straight. 
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week: Done
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): Done
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: Ahh! Too many. 
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: Not doing this, sorry future self. 
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: Done!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: Ummmmm….

Let Them Eat $1,500 Cake: February 25, 2018, Monday Money Check-In

What exactly, I wondered, as I watched a cake auctioned off for $1,500, are all these feelings?

The feelings were a lot, that’s all I knew for sure. I stood volunteering at the auction for Artists Trust, an organization that supports us artists, an organization I hope will one day support me, surrounded by tables of people who paid $250 a plate to be there.

I had fancied up, borrowed a $200 necklace from a jeweler friend of mine, done all the hair curling, put on a blazer. At a certain level of income, it becomes very easy to seem. Before the event, we mingled around the art with just our name tags betraying us. I ran into people I hadn’t expected, the novelist I knew, an artist who I think doesn’t like me, the poet Quenton Baker, with whom I had, just a year before, sat on a patio drinking beer and talking about pirating movies due to the condition called brokeness.

The next morning, I would read in my buddy Ross’s novel: “Art was never pure. Hadn’t ever been. Even cave drawings from thousands of years before made audiences swoon, and as a result, relationships and goods were won.”

Our words, our paint, opened the same door for us that $250 had opened for other people. Currency.

Then the auction began, and our places were set. The attendees sat, and I stood, working here. The auctioneer, a pisser in a big red bow, thanked them effusively. This is what they get out of the exchange. Not the cake, not really. They funded a Gap grant, $1,500. They kept an artist going. The distance between me to them, just a few feet, just a few million dollars, I’m sure it looks the same from the people I pass peeking out from grimy blankets. If I give them $1, I get to feel better. I don’t want it to be guilt, but that’s what it often is. That dollar is a payment, in some ways, to myself.

The auctioneer laid it on, because, of course. They are passing over thousands of dollars, she is passing back sacks of the feel goods. Grade A, luxury Feel Good.

Then here comes Quenton Baker, recipient of the Arts Innovator Award, with the Feels Bomb. Describing how Artist trust never made him feel like his stories were less than. How art is the way to tell the stories that need to be told. We can feel what they’ve done for him. Made a difference, and here he is. The hair on my arms raised and tingled. I looked over at a buddy who works at Artist Trust, saw him “Whoo” out some air as if that was the only way to stop crying.

 

The people at the tables seemed fun, nice. I was right near the Boeing table, near some men known by name, even from a distance of 100 feet, by the auctioneer.

Mostly what I feel is wanting to be them, and then the shame of wanting to be them. I think there are people who have gotten over this. I hate myself for caring. I hate myself for wanting, wanting to be the person to raise the paddle to go to that arts center in Bali, the hills of Tuscany. I wanted that glass sculpture, that painting, that photograph.

Lately, my art has been making me feel powerful. I’ve been investing in my account, each deposit of practice, each deposit of reading, of classes, retreats, degrees. It’s been happening like they said it would, giving me returns. I’ve been comfortable in that, confident.

But her, I feel weak. I picture myself among them.

We humans, we just want and want and want. Evolution didn’t give it an off switch. How small of a world we can hold in our mind at one time. We were never meant to calculate much about what we can’t see. My machine isn’t meant to feel globally. My machine calculates how I’m doing in this tribe, and in this tribe, I’m losing badly.

So what do I do, in general. I stay away from it. I don’t watch Rich People TV. I don’t follow celebrities on Instagram. Because I’m just not strong enough.

 

 

Review:
  • Earned last week: $500 (Half of what I need, damn!)
  • Saved last week: $200 
  • Personal Checking Balance: $732
  • Business Checking Balance: $178
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,400 (YAY!)
  • Weekly wins: I set up a weekly $500 “paycheck” to my personal checking
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week: RENT! AHHH!
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB)
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: My friend Liam is playing in town to night, and I’m going to Spokane. So I have to cut any little stuff and save. 
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: I can’t afford it this week. I’m scared. 
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: Done!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: Transferred $118

 

How to Fail: February 19th 2018, Monday Money Check-In

Have you ever heard of Jim Rohn? He’s like the cutest little 1960s inspirational speaker, the granddaddy who spawned everyone from Dave Ramsey to Tony Robbins. You can find all his old, blackboard-backed talks on YouTube.

One of the things he said that stuck with me is that most people think failure is one big event. But it’s actually the product of little failures, repeated. This week, I failed. I failed to make enough money (I made $800 out of the $1,000 of gross income I need to make per week to keep my business running.) I failed to stay within my budget. I ran out of fun money on Friday and refused to miss out on the submission group I go to, held at a cafe, the dinner party I got invited to last-minute on Saturday, or the mastermind group I go to on Sunday evenings. Both the later required a bottle of wine be brought, and because the dinner party was a few miles away and I knew I wanted to enjoy that wine, I Ubered for a total of $22.

Here’s how I would have handled it before my Amanda Clayman month: I would have sat down for a PowerPoint presentation with myself about why I am the worst. You suck, I would have said. You’ll never get better. Here’s an infographic about how much I hate you and hate being you.

None of this, you may notice, would have actually helped the situation.

So here’s what I’m doing instead: re-examinging and adjusting. Adapt and overcome.

With fun money, I make the transfer on Monday of $100. This gives me a chance to screw myself over spending over the week, and leave myself with zero dollars for the weekend, when there are more tempting opportunities to spend. To respond to this situation, I changed the automated transfer from $100 on Monday to $50 on Monday, $50 on Friday.

You have to examine your little failures, stop them in their tracks, so they don’t become that big failure in the future.

Review:
  • Earned last week: $800
  • Saved last week: $200
  • Personal Checking level: red 
  • Business Checking level: red
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,400
  • Weekly wins: Got a sweet gig for a travel company, negotiated for more $$$ and got it! (Always negotiate!)
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week: Shit, my bank account is $253 and I have $205 worth of bills due in the next week. Gonna be tight! 
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): Still working on this. 
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: Lots of little things throughout the week – a show, writing workshop, writing event, so have to keep it minimal at each one. 
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week: Got no money last week!
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: I did, even though it only left me with $200. I’d better get this big check I’m waiting on for work I did in December!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: 0% of 0 is $0. Wee!