Thursday, October 16, 2008

We're kind of in some money

Less than a year ago I ate different forms of spaghetti for four days in a row. One night I was concerned that I hadn't had a vegetable for a while so I found a can of peas and dropped them in the marinara. Then I ran out of marinara and ate my last set of noodles with dried Parmesan and old butter. I might have starved to death if the delightful Maggie had not invited me over for leftover Thanksgiving food, complete with purple mashed potatoes.

Yesterday I started looking at homes for sale in the area.

I have a government job with excellent benefits and a steady paycheck. People say teachers don't get paid enough, and that's mostly true, but when the rest of the country is in a panic it's a damn good time to be in such a secure field. And since the Beefcake is similarly employed we really have nothing at all to worry about. We both have stock but neither of us needs it to survive.

It's weird. A year ago I couldn't afford to buy groceries and today I'm going shoe shopping after a return from a week at a Caribbean resort where I left two pairs of shoes when they died. (A traditional Emily move - bring shoes and pants that are dying so you can throw them out before you leave and make room in your suitcase for presents. I'm an incredibly efficient packer.)

Anyway, now I'm paying off my debts and planning to get Lasik within the year.

Not that I'm rich - hell no. I still have credit card debt and I still won't be buying any golden umbrella stands for my one-bedroom apartment. But I have finally learned to manage my money and live within my means, and now my pay goes up each year more than my living expenses. And I just got a second job grading SAT essays so I'm going to start pulling in a little extra income each month without having to sub. I hate subbing.

In the back of my mind though, I'm thinking about the future. Obviously screenwriting is not so secure a field. If I were a screenwriter now instead of a teacher, would I be losing my mortgage? Would I have to cancel my cable and start to buy Ramen? I really hate Ramen.

And yeah, I'd rather do what I love and be poor than spend the rest of my life at a job I mostly like and be rich - not that I'll ever be rich, but I'll be okay. Still, there's something about being able to pay all your bills that is deeply enticing.

Not that I'm changing my mind or anything. I was just thinking.


  1. I've been thinking the exact same thing. Not giving up, but all with the pondering. Only my bill-paying endeavors are not enjoyable at all. But, they're there, and I don't have to freak out about it all.

    But that Plan B. It's terrifying. Especially when you know people with very viable Plan B's, and then they decide to go with them and they leave LA and they're just gone, living their lives.

    And on we, those in still in the desert, go on with the thinking.

  2. Congrats! having a house of your own is a blast. If you can swing the down payment, it's an investment you can live in. We're inviting you and Beefcake over soon.

  3. word. I'm in the same boat as you are-- I got an ok job that pays ok, but it's not what I want to do with my life. I want to be a novelist, screenwriter and playwright, but naturally, it's not a "career" unless I'm David Mamet or Diablo Cody... sigh... still trying to get there, though.

  4. I'm sort of in a similar, enviable situation, economically speaking. I accidentally neglected my 401k and left everything in government bonds - I didn't lose a penny when the market dropped. As a result of my divorce, I'm flush with cash and all my debts are paid - and more cash is coming from an estate in the near future. And, I, too, have a union gig with decent pay - won't get rich, won't starve, can travel now and then.

    I just have to rein in spending a bit, but otherwise, I'll probably be able to weather this out with little trouble. It's the first time in my life I've been debt-free, and I have a weird, guilty feeling about it.


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