Monday, January 29, 2018

money is a thing

A few days before Christmas 2017 my car stopped working. The transmission software was faulty because Fords just be like that sometimes. This really sucked because Lyft was my only job at the time. Also, because the issue the car was having was a Ford specific issue the only place I could get it fixed was a Ford dealership and the soonest appointment I could get was two weeks out.

So for Christmas my world kind of collapsed. I really like Christmas but things were really hard. After seeing just how long I wouldn't be able to drive for Lyft I decided to apply for a job because sitting around not having an income is not something I can do.

My cousin Diego heard about the issues I was having because his mom/my aunt Sofia had called me to talk to me about it because she knew that car troubles could really disrupt my life. Diego has been working at a restaurant for a few years and he encouraged me to apply. I'm really glad he did and I'm sure he put in a good word for me because I got an interview and got hired pretty quickly after I applied.

I've been working there almost a month now and I really like it. The food is all really good, it's actually one of my favorite places to eat at even before I worked there, and the business is just run really well. The shifts are relatively short too which I kind of like. I will still need to drive for Lyft to make as much money as I need to but now I don't have to completely rely on my car.

So yeah, eventually my car did get fixed and I have it back now and everything is all good there. And I have a regular job like a normal adult and it's going well.

While I was waiting for my car to be fixed I of course had a lot of bills piling up. I'm catching up now but times was tough man. My boyfriend actually paid my rent, my PG&E bill and even helped me buy nonslip shoes from Payless for my new job because my old ones were hurting my feet. Yeah, things were so bad I couldn't even afford shoes from Payless.

My aunt Sofia and my aunt Dora also gave me some money to help me out... and my mom gave me some money too to help me get back on track.

When I started working at the restaurant as part of their training they would have me order a few items from the menu each night so I would know what everything tasted like so I could recommend things to customers. This was so convenient because I could take leftovers home. I was so broke that I wasn't even grocery shopping. I would get milk and cereal but other than that I was trying to not spend any money at all so I could afford to get my car back once the mechanics were done with it.

My mom was in Mexico for the holidays and was gonna be there for 3 weeks. I emailed her to let her know the situation with the car since I didn't want her to just hear about it second hand from family members. Her name is also on the car so it could affect her if I ended up trading it in or something. She called me a screamed at me...

Apparently there was hella drama happening in Mexico with family issues and stuff she was dealing with and hearing me talk about my own issues was too much stress for her. When she started screaming at me I hung up on her. I then didn't hear anything from her until weeks later when she got back from vacation. I was really hurt. I had no car, no source of income, and she screamed at me and then didn't even communicate with me at all for weeks. My mom couldn't even be bothered to ask me if I was ok. I didn't ask her for money or any help, I just wanted her to care... She does care though... she just really doesn't handle stress well and lashes out at people when she is overwhelmed.

We've talked since then and I basically told her that I can deal with the challenges of life and the stress that comes with it but I can't handle her screaming at me. Emotionally it's just too much for me to deal with. Nobody screams at me ever. I'm an adult and if you get so overwhelmed that you need to freak out and scream do that by yourself and get it out of your system before you try to talk to me.

But her and I have talked and she has apologized and she's helping me out now. I'm still sad that for a few weeks I was dealing with so many financial problems and my boyfriend was helping me so much while my mom wasn't even talking to me... but dwelling on that isn't going to help anything. I'm really grateful my boyfriend has helped me so much. I am going to pay him back over time as much as I can but he's not too worried about it.

My boyfriend just helps people like that. He doesn't do it because he feels obligated to or he expects anything in return or so he can brag to anybody about doing nice things for people... He just does nice things for people because he can. I think if you can help others you just should. It's not a matter of right and wrong or whatever, it's just what you do. I'm so thankful to have someone in my life who values that and cares about me.

So my aunt Dora gave me some money, my aunt Sofia gave me some money and lent me her car, my cousin Amanda lent me her car too, my cousin Diego helped me get a job, my Mom gave me some money eventually, my boyfriend paid my rent, my PG&E and helped me get work shoes, and also my friend Angela will hang out with me and pay for stuff for me a lot of the time when we go out to eat cause she knows I be broke and stuff.

I'm really really REALLY lucky to have all these generous people in my life because honestly otherwise I'd have lost my apartment, might have struggled to find a decent job, and would not have even been able to get my car back from the mechanic.

I really feel bad for people who don't have family members they are close to. My boyfriend only really has his mom and his grandma, his mom's mom, in his life. My family all really like him though and so I hope he gets more comfortable hanging out with them overtime. It's not that he doesn't like them or anything! We're just a bunch of loud Mexicans and he's a quiet white guy so sometimes I think we scare him a little haha. But it's all fun and good times! I'm really happy my boyfriend has a lot of strong friendships though. I kind of hate one of his best friends but I try not to let that bother me since I know his friends are a sort of family to him. My boyfriend is sad I don't like his friend but it's like dude, I am still nice to the dude and if you invite me to hang out with him as a group I do it at least 60% of the time.

I on the other hand have like 2 friends and endless acquaintances but I also have my sister, I'm pretty close to one of my cousins who is almost my same age, there are my aunts who are fun to spend time with, my mom, my brother who is 13 and my little cousins are pretty neat, so if I really think about it I have a lot of cool people to spend time with.

Life is life is life. My car was crappy and my financial situation was dire but I have a really strong support system of family members and friends who helped me get through it.

So Christmas 2017 and the beginning of 2018 was HELLA stressful but things are getting back under control and I know there are people who care about me in my life who are there for me so ultimately 2018 is going awesome so far and life is good.

Also, being broke has taught me a lot:

  • Experiences are worth way more than material possessions. Buyers remorse is real. That shiny thing you bought will get boring faster than you think it will. That trip you took, or that thing you did with people you are about will being meaningful for your whole lives.
  • Before spending money on anything have an inner dialogue with yourself to determine if it's something actually useful and not just something that is exciting in that moment.
  • If you like collecting things make sure they are something affordable. For example, I like doing arts and crafts but I primarily crochet and yarn is cheap as hell so it's an easy hobby to afford.
  • Regularly set aside some money for yourself to actually enjoy. It's possible to save all your money and only spend it on the essentials but that's no way to live. You have to do fun stuff to make life worthwhile, just budget accordingly. For example, I love going to the movies but that adds up! I signed up for MoviePass though which is $9 a month and let's me see a movie in theatres everyday if I want. I live right by a movie theatre and now I go to the movies like 3 times a month for less than the cost of one ticket. Worth it!
  • A lot of the bills you pay can have the payment dates moved if you call them or chat with customer service online. Sometimes my phone bill is due a few days before my payday but if I contact Sprint they always let me move the date. Most places will work to accommodate you because ultimately they want your money!
  • If you're late on a credit card payment nobody is gonna die. Yes this hurts your credit and yes it can cause late fees and stuff but if you're literally so broke that you have run completely out of food then that takes priority over a damn credit card bill.
  • Hanging up on the random weird ass phone numbers that credit card companies call and harass you from is hella satisfying.
  • If your internet gets shut off chat with the customer service online to get the lowest price possible to get it turned back on when you can. What's her name customer service lady on the phone in the U.S. is gonna tell you they need a $100 deposit to turn your internet back on, but what's her name customer service lady in India on the online customer service chat is gonna tell you you can get your service turned back on for $50 which you don't need to pay for another 30 days. Fuck you Comcast, I'll find out the best deal possible by talking to like 5 different people through various channels cause I'm broke as hell and have no shame about it!
  • Keep track of your bills in Google Calendar. You can update it easily online and then it's also right there in your phone. Color code your calendar so events are blue or whatever and bills and financial stuff is green. Green = money. Durr. Make it as easy as possible to quickly recognize what is due when. Don't let these payment dates sneak up on you!
  • Automatic payments are great if they are for small amounts but don't commit to these things unless you know you will have the funds in the account they're being drawn from. Overdraft fees and whatever can ruin your life man.
  • Avoid going out to eat. It adds up! And don't go out to drink. I'm not saying don't ever drink alcohol, but pregame and hey recreational marijuana is legal now in California so just get high and go party. It lasts longer and doesn't hurt your body like getting drunk does. Don't drink and drive or get high and drive though kids! Share a Lyft with friends.
  • Have cheap hobbies you can do alone. Reading, art, practice an instrument. Books are free at the library, art supplies are inexpensive compared to the amount of time and enjoyment you can get out of them, and an instrument requires an initial investment for the instrument itself but you can teach yourself to play using the internet or books or whatever and it can provide so much entertainment time! Make it your new thing. Being creative is not expensive.
  • Play outside. Walk your friend's dog. Go shoot hoops. Go play tennis. If you have the supplies then it's a free fun thing you can do whenever you want!
  • Learn to tell people no when they invite you to something you can't afford. Yeah I wanna go to the club but I can't. Yeah I wanna go on a trip but I can't. If you catch me hella in advance I can budget for it. Otherwise I'm not gonna fuck myself financially because I feel bad saying no.
  • Don't go to shit you don't actually want to go to just because your friends want you to. Yeah I like hanging out with y'all but our friend's band sucks so no I'm not paying money for that. It's not harsh or mean, it's the truth. Don't feel bad. You need to take care of yourself sometimes.
  • Learn to cook simple meals for yourself. Cuts down on money spent going out to eat and makes your life easier.
  • Replace foods that go bad quickly with ones that don't. For example, I buy coconut creamer because it last like a month longer than regular creamer. I don't use creamer often but I like to have it and it sucks to buy it and then throw half of it away cause it went bad.
  • Plan to freeze foods so you can eat them for longer. Bread can go in the freezer. Just toast it and it's good to eat for pretty much ever. Always have some kind of protein in the freezer so it's alway available as an option.
  • And blah blah blah this blog is way too long I'm about to go enjoy my internet that just got turned back on yay~!