Other people and my money

On the weekend, I was heading out to my part-time job bright and early Saturday morning. On Saturday and Sunday, the buses and subway run less frequent than they do during the week.

Since it’s not the first day I’ve ventured out on a Saturday morning to this part-time gig, I know where I have to be by when in order to get the right bus to get me to the “church on time”, so to speak. This Saturday, I showed up two minutes late.  Damn it.

I knew the next bus would be along, but also knew I’d show up about 10 minutes late on the job.  I did the right thing and called the colleague that I work with and let her know I was coming, just running a bit behind. She then says “oh wow, I’m really late too, I’ve just called a cab, I’ll swing around and pick you up!”

This is very sensible of course. Kind of her to offer to fetch me. Naturally, I’m thankful on the phone and say “that’s great, see you soon” and confirm what intersection I’m standing at.

Because I’m overwhelmingly dull, my mind goes to my spreadsheet.  I know what the variance says on the bottom line of the projection for March:  $2.45.

True to her word, my colleague swings by, we have a lovely yack in the cab, and are happy that we could help each other out. I’m also thinking to myself I just paid for the transportation fare, now I really should do the right thing and help with the cost of the cab.

We arrived on time, and I contributed $7 toward the cab ride. Neither of us were late. Perfect outcome.

It occurred to me that as soon as I step out of my little circle (meaning me and the kids) and cross paths with either a friend or a colleague, it usually means an unplanned expenditure, or having to explain why I won’t be accepting their invitation to go to the bars on St. Paddy’s Day, or why I won’t be taking them up on their offer to see this awesome ballet performance. It’s easy to manage your money when you’re a hermit.

It’s not like I have barrels of friends now, but if I keep saying no to everything, I may have even fewer! When the weather turns nicer, I’ll have to think of ways to do things either at home, or on the cheap with friends, so they don’t think I’ve actually lost any interest in associating with them. I do want to see them, I just can’t afford to see them and spend money doing so.

While I worried for a few minutes about an unplanned cab fare of $7, I’ll keep the big picture in mind. Yes, I have debt. Yes, I know what I need to do to get rid of it this year. Yes, I’m working on it. Do I expect this to be easy just because it looks straightforward on that spreadsheet on my computer screen?  Hell, no.

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