Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I would have done differently if I had this year over again.

You know what I would have done? I would have said, "No gifts." And it was my fault, because everyone was just being nice. It was up to me to put the kibosh on it. And I did not.

The whole point of this year was to see what it was like to go without. It was not, contrary to popular belief, to see how much we could save, because I honestly thought we were living exactly within our means, so I thought our savings would be maybe $100 a month. Of course, I was wrong, and when we were working in LA at the beginning of this year, we were saving $3200 a month.

Which we should be shot for. Really. $3200 in disposable income every month? Who was I, Rich Uncle Pennybags? (That's the Monopoly guy, FYI. And you should have known I was he, what with the facial hair and top hat and all.)

Now? I really do think it's like one or two hundred a month, because we make so much less. But again, that is neither here nor there.

When I bought that five dollar yoga magazine last November, the article I read was about consuming less, alleviating the whole thinking that the hole in your soul is shaped like a new lipstick (or a DVD, Marvin Gardens), when no purchase will really fix you.

So, THAT was the whole point of this silly exercise. But you know what? I got a ton of stuff anyway.

I am good at attracting gifts. Some people are good at throwing parties together at the last minute. Some people can take cake mix, an old can of tuna, and some Pledge, and make the best dinner you ever had. Me? I get gifts. Ask my old roommates. They used to HATE me at my birthday and Christmas, because I got so many packages. In fact, I became friends with my mail lady in LA because she had to come to the door with boxes so often.

Plus not to mention too, I have really, really good friends who are generous to a fault. I do not deserve these kind people. Cause I basically suck. But I am glad I have pulled the wool over their eyes thus far.

I used to say I was basically a Cracker Jack prize. You know, sort of amusing for awhile, but then you can toss it aside and never think of it again? But considering some of my friends have been around for 40 years, (okay, one friend) I must be that really good Cracker Jack prize that Audrey Hepburn had engraved at Tiffany's.

Oh, and also? If you announce to everyone that you are not spending? People feel sorry for you and buy you things. My friend Renee told me that would happen, because it happened to her when she and her husband set up their "$20 a week spending money" budget. I was one of the people who bought her manicures and Dixie Riddle Cups (it's a long story) and such. I think we like to help, and going without sounds so... depressing.

So, even though everyone was wonderful to send me things and help me out, I should have laid down the law, and taken a look at what it was REALLY like not to have things. That said, thanks, mom, for the new winter coat and boots and coffee mugs and blanket! And thanks, Lisa, for the new makeup! My soul remains empty, but I am warm and colorful.


Charlie said...

I think people buy you things because you are so damn nice!

I don't even know you, and I am far from being Rich Uncle Pennybags myself, but I know everytime you coveted something on the blog even I wanted to buy it for you and send it to you so you would feel better.

You make people happy June. Even people that only know you in cyberspace.

Lisa said...

If you were you, I would have made that heartfelt speech after christmas.

Catherine said...

Well, I don't know. Maybe part of what you had to learn was something about charity -- receiving and not being able to give back. How did that make you feel?

No one goes without buying anything -- even if you buy your coat at the Goodwill, you buy a coat if you need one. (I shouldn't say "no one" -- of course there are people who are very destitute.)

I think that if you had said "no gifts" to your friends that would have inflicted some pain on them.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

I second everything Charlie said.

I've enjoyed your tales of woe and joy throughout the year. Looking forward to the Health-Fest of '08. Cheers, my new pretend bloggy friend.

June Cutoff Cash said...

Thanks, Charlie and Stie!

And Catherine, I don't mind receiving and not giving back for a year, so that wasn't it. It was just the "trying to go without" thing wasn't possible because everyone was so generous with me.

So maybe the lesson was there is no need to try to go without, because I will always be taken care of. Or something deep like that.

dcrmom said...

Well said, Charlie.

But I do get what you are saying, June, lol, it cracks me up to call you June. Seriously, though, it's nauseating all the STUFF that we think we need and can't live without. And that we have so much stuff we have to buy fancy schmancy organizers to contain it all. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by that.

I really respect your efforts to live on only the necessities for a year. Don't expect me to try it, but kudos to you just the same! :-)

Mick Jagger said...

You are more than welcome. You are my one friend that for 6 years ALWAYS ALWAYS remembered my daughter's birthday. Thank you, my friend.

p.s. I found a kitty.

June Cutoff Cash said...


I'll be right there.

Anonymous said...

You crack me up. Your year of going without is equal to a year of excess and splurging in my neck of the woods. Don't let yourself forget that a large majority of the country would do just about anything to be saving $100-200 a week.
Having said that.....I'm sure that if I knew you I would have bought you something pink and shiny.

June Cutoff Cash said...

A MONTH! I am saving 100 dollars a MONTH!

Yeah, I know. There's that saying -- what is it? -- if you have 200 dollars in the bank you're better off than 98% of the world or something? I probably screwed that up, but it's some shocking statistic like that.