Sunday, August 2, 2009

Have you had a money meltdown recently?

I live in an insanely expensive city and work in an industry that pays peanuts, so there hasn't been a time in the last five years that I haven't stressed about money. Since I lost my job, living paycheck to paycheck has taken on a new meaning. Freelancing full-time has the potential to be very lucrative, but I'm not at a point yet where I have consistent cash flow rolling in. 

In addition to mani/pedis, I've had to cut back on so many things like shopping, meeting friends for dinner and going to the movies (my most favorite thing in the entire world). I still get my daily grande skim latte from Starbucks, but since my checking account has reached an all-time low, I will most likely have to ditch that too. I'm seriously getting sad just thinking about it. 

I had a ridiculously fun weekend (pics from the bachelorette party will be up tomorrow!), minus my meltdown Saturday afternoon. My friends wanted to go shopping, so we hit up a bunch of boutiques in Soho. I knew it would be tough sitting on the sidelines while everyone else made their purchases, but I handled it just fine...UNTIL I came across a super-cute shorts romper on sale at Nanette Lepore. I have never wanted something that badly in a really long time. I considered charging it on my credit card, but I knew that wasn't really an option. When I walked out of the store empty-handed my eyes started welling up with tears. "Are you crying?" Liza asked. We let the group walk ahead and I totally lost it. "I wear the same shit every week. I've only bought two new cheap pieces this whole summer. I haven't had a manicure in over 70 days. I can hardly afford groceries. I can't doooo this anymore," I said in between sobs. 

I know you're probably thinking, "Oh, poor girl, can't go shopping. Boo woo." I don't throw pity parties for myself often; I know things could be so much worse. However, it is incredibly hard living in Manhattan and not being able to buy things and keep up with everyone else. 

I couldn't pull it together, so I left the group without saying bye and headed to Luke's apartment to relax for a bit. I had absolutely nothing to wear that night for the bachelorette party, so I decided to stop by American Apparel to find a basic dress that I could spice up with a belt or piece of jewelry I already had. I grabbed a light blue button down shirt dress (even though I knew it wasn't right for the occasion), but right when I got to the dressing rooms, I turned around and put the dress back on the rack. I knew the purchase would leave me feeling unsatisfied and even more depressed. 

I passed a gelato store on my way back and got a small cup of peanut butter. 

I didn't feel guilty about the indulgence because the serving was pretty small. Emotional eating is something I need to work on, but it only set me back $4.68 and it actually did lift my spirits a bit. I figured that was better than having shopper's remorse. 

Am I alone here? Has anyone else had a money meltdown recently? Do share!


  1. Aww Ellen!!! Sending you great big hugs...

  2. Eleanor! Why don't you fly on over to NYC and give me one of those big hugs in person :)

  3. It wasn't recently but one time in Charleston (tear) I received a $250 power bill during moving and starting school in August. I was crying on the phone with the power company. She must have felt sorry for me because she offered me a payment plan, ha!

  4. Nice! Crying always helps. Maybe next time I burst into tears while I'm shopping, the salespeople will give me a special discount :)

  5. Oh, Ellen. This made me sad. :(

    I know things will get easier soon, but just know that you're always the best dressed girl in the room--at least to me!

  6. Thanks, Lisa! The fact that I can always borrow from Liza helps--I'm definitely lucky in that regard! I re-read the post and felt kind of silly for complaining about materialistic things when I have so much, but it was what I was feeling at the time!

  7. I love you Ellen! And I totally sympathize. The dream comes with a price (I know this all too well). But when times get tough, and I start to look at all my friends who have all this money, 401k, nice cars, and health insurance, etc...I just think to myself - I'd rather be poor in the bank and rich in life than the other way around. It will ALL pay off in the end. I know you know that, but sometimes it just helps to hear it again. Another great quote - Always remember that the things we complain about today were once the things we could only dream to do. When I'm bitching about waking up for my 4:00am call time to be on set for a video shoot - I think to myself, "not too long ago, I would have done ANYTHING to be working in tv."

    Hope all that jibberish made sense. :)

  8. Oh my gosh, Carla, you are the BEST!!!!! Everything you said couldn't be more true, and it totally boosted my spirits. How are you doing? Where are you working now? Will you be in NYC again? I hate that I missed you last time!!! Thanks for the inspiration, "Big sis." muwah! xoxo