As I continue to refine how my stuff is organized in my (relatively) new home, and put away stuff from those last couple of boxes, I've been digging into some more old notebooks. I found one that I didn't remember keeping at all-- I started it on January 1st, the year after I graduated from college. I guess I had made it a New Year's resolution to record "each day's spending, bank balances, the weather, what I did/read, who I called, mail received or sent and Things To Do."
Here is the first day's entry:
CBT bal. -- [nothing actually recorded]
B. of B. bal.-- $16.81
Cash on hand-- $31 bills, $3.96 coin = $34.96
$350 in checks to be deposited
Visa debt [nothing recorded]
Other debts-- A.-- bills?
$ owed to me-- C: 4 months phone, K: 2 mo,? A: phone?
$ spent today-- $0.00
cold and sunny
went to G's house
finished A Place I've Never Been
The next few days record similar items. I read Beloved, took my grandmother and great-aunt to the mall, went to a movie with a friend, noted that I was worried about the economy and that one of my banks was owned by a larger bank that had just gone bankrupt. I also wrote some notes about completely ridiculous made-up things that my old roommates were supposedly doing after graduation, which I later managed to get printed in the alumni magazine-- I guess no one thought it was a stretch that a certain person would have quit her banking job to play a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the Icecapades.
After the holidays, I went back to work at my 2 day a week job. Most of my meals seem to have been bought at WaWa's & McDonalds. On January 14th I had an interview for an internship. On Jan. 23rd I wrote "Financially, I am f***ed." In February, I paid $35 to take the GRE.
Also in February, I noted that I had been to a party that was "fabulous, but somehow, things turned shitty. Felt very ill in the morning." I also apparently got an obscene phone call that I must have reported to the police as complaint #13898. I don't remember that at all.
The only things I seemed to spend money on besides food and rent were newspapers, an occasional book, art supplies and too-frequent trips to the used record store.
What is weird is that I was running up a balance on my credit card but I never seemed to note how much the total was, only that I was often paying a $10 minimum towards it. I also had to start paying back my student loans around then, at a minimum of $98 a month.
Sometime in March, I wrote this entry, in red ink on one of the last pages of the notebook:
I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY MY RENT. I WILL NOT HAVE ANY MONEY TO MAKE MY NEXT LOAN PAYMENT. I CAN'T PAY MY VISA BILL.
I CAN'T GO TO FLORIDA.
I NEED A LOAN FROM MOM AND DAD.
A. OWES ME $10
must pay Visa minimum $10? $20?
must pay rent $260
will get $177.44 next paycheck
no more cash until after break
I'll have to go through some more notebooks to see if I continued to track my finances the rest of that spring, but it will come as no surprise that in early June of that year, I moved back in with my parents and tried to start over. Within a couple of months, I had a full-time job. Within a couple of years, I was renting my own apartment, and money was tight again, but it was never as bad as it had been in that notebook.
I remember being so depressed about it, and feeling like I would never get my life together. I never felt truly desperate, as I knew my parents would help me out up to a point, but I found it incredibly humiliating to have to ask. It made me feel like a complete failure, which I suppose was me being a little hard on myself, as I was all of 22. But college was over, and I wanted life to begin: life as in "making a living." It's strange to look back and realize that I now have pretty much everything I ever wanted back then.