I’ve recently started a spenddiary. Kind of like one of those food diaries where you write down everything you eat. I write down everything I spend, in the desperate hope that I will stop, stop, stop for the love of god, stop. I had intended to start a Spenddiet, but couldn’t bear to bring myself to think my least-favourite four letter word on a daily basis.
I’ve never been much good with the old cashola. I spent much of high school math class exchanging notes with Kevin, who I never scored with. Incidentally, I ran into him in Sydney a few years ago. After brushing me off as an anonymous desperate lush, he recognised me and suggested we make one of those if-we’re-both-single-at-forty-we-should-totally-get-married pacts. Who’s the desperate lush now pal? Thanks, but truth be told, if the best thing I’ve got to do on my 40th is meet a relative stranger on my birthday at the top of a tower, I’d rather make a pact to jump off than get hitched.
I got my first credit card early – in my late teens, when I thought rising interest rates were what occurred when I zipped on my knee-high Country Road boots. I assumed that financial awareness was something you just gained when you were an adult. It was only when my older, then 30ish year old girlfriends and I were studying how we could squeeze a night of champagne guzzling into our weekly excel spend-sheets that I realised that it wasn’t a natural evolution. With a proud wog upbringing I was mortified to even utter the word ‘broke’ in company, yet my gal pals were bandying it around every pay-eve. So, I figured – I wasn’t wrong – it was situation normal.
We knew all the loopholes – like the tragic last transaction on a credit card trick. No matter how close you were to limit your last transaction was a wildcard. If you had $8 left your last transaction could be $8, $80 or $800 and it would go through. Sure, if we’d saved the penalty fees we’d probably now be able to afford a mortgage, but what do you want – great shoes, or more debt?
Taking the last transaction risk on footwear is one thing; your local shoe salesgal is used to credit transactions bouncing, don’t let her surly pout fool you. It’s at the supermarket that your heart will really start racing. Grocery roulette is not for the feint-hearted. I’ll put it on the red card… c’mon under $80… c’mon… swipe it and– Approved! YES!
I’ve financed, refinanced, redrawn, overdrawn and consolidated (perfect Sound of Music lyrics I think). I’ve made many ridiculous investments and have little to show bar a particularly handsome (largely empty) fridge.
So this last few weeks, crunch time; the reminder notices are pouring in, I can’t make calls on my mobile and the electricity people are getting surly despite the fact that I know they won’t disconnect me (I don’t think… I’m sure I read that somewhere).
I, being the proactive lass I am, have spent a lot of time sleeping. In my waking hours my pastime of choice is hanging upside-down off the bed and imagining how, if I were to walk around on the ceiling, or dance ala Mr Springsteen, I would have to vault over the bits of wall at the top of the door frames. I’m not proud.
I am writing a book about it. A fantastic way to justify being broke – research and all that, yet possibly the worst choice of a target market in the history of the world.
Lou Pardi has stuff in the freezer. She’s not entirely sure how long it’s been there, but considering how many times she’s paid for the damn fridge she figures it owes her. She’s calling her creditors and probably getting another job… tomorrow. www.myspace.com/loupardi