I told myself that I would buy myself a simple point & shoot camera for my birthday, but I have so much anxiety about money that I don’t think I can do it. I put aside money solely for this purpose and I still can’t get myself to spend it. I always do this — I’ll put money aside for something, but then I’ll chicken out and eventually spend the money when I go over my budget on everyday things. I’m trying to be thorough in my camera research, but I’m too easily swayed by customer reviews. Every time I narrow my choices down, I read one or two bad reviews of a camera and decide against it. There isn’t a single camera without at least one horrible review out there, and the bad reviews scare me. It’s taken me eight years to decide to make a purchase, and I don’t want to spend money on something that will break in a month. My last camera cost about $80 in 2003 and it was stolen three weeks after I got it. If something like that happened (or if it broke) I would LOSE MY MIND. I know how silly that is, but I can’t get past it.
I really want one, though, especially since my current phone does not take pictures. If I don’t take pictures of my cat’s excessively furry butt, who will?
I can’t explain it, but somehow I am able to blend in too well with rich people.
They think I’m funny or interesting in some way, and then they invite me to hang out at places I can’t afford. You know, bars with $60 drinks on the menu. There are $12 drinks, too, but come on. Even if I could afford a $15 appetizer plate, I’d rather spend my $15 somewhere else, thanks.
I hate money and I hate it when people don’t understand money.
I could go and drink tons of water or hang out with nerds from various socioeconomic backgrounds or I could hang out alone (which is what I’d prefer). Social lives, how do they work?
This is partly my sense of entitlement talking
My cell phone company refuses to waive the charges racked up when my phone got stolen last month.
It’s a good thing that my Safelink phone just came in the mail.
Sorry phone provider, but I am not paying $55 for some jerk’s 3:00am Pac-Man and Where’s Waldo? downloads.
It’s really a shame that getting $55 I didn’t willingly spend is worth more to them than keeping me on as a customer, because I’m just going to cancel and eventually declare bankruptcy on that.
I knew it was coming because it says in the customer agreement that I’d be responsible, so I’m pretty calm about it.
If I were more of a social butterfly, I might have noticed the absence of my phone earlier.
I have weird anxiety about changing my phone number. Also, I enjoy the autonomy of having my own phone with my own plan that I pay for myself. It’s not like that with Safelink (though I will have to pay them a small amount to get enough minutes and texts). It’s just nice to have something that belongs to me so that I don’t feel like I’m accepting handouts on every little thing in my life. Safelink is yet another handout, so I’ll feel pathetic and guilty about that for a while, but I’ll manage.
If I were rich (or even middle class) I would just pay it and move on, but that’s a LOT of money to me and I just can’t.
stop that cats. you cannot make it rain. you are too young to go to a strip club. even if you were 18 i don’t think you would enjoy a strip club much because you are cats.
I don’t think these kittens are strippers. I think they are drug dealers. You’re walking down a bad road, kittens.
Adventures in Ruminating: Why I’m Scared of Spending Money
I am still obsessing about the money and food stamp situation, but I understand why. For years while I was working, it seemed that I was faced with one emergency situation after another, and it was always an emergency I couldn’t afford. I lost my keys once and didn’t have money for a cab ride home or even a locksmith to let me in if I ever got there. I had to rely on a stranger’s help. I’ve been stranded in bad neighborhoods and been harassed on the street because I missed a bus. I was unable to pay bills after being forced into taking time off for surgery, and I was forced to return to work prematurely because I had no other means of support.
One day I received a parking ticket because I didn’t have enough money to park at school but I was very sick and could see the campus doctor for free. My car broke down on the way home and I had to sit around for five hours, crying and coughing up blood in a parking lot, and I didn’t have a phone because it had been cut off for nonpayment. When someone let me use their phone, I realized I couldn’t even afford a tow truck. I was unable to pay my electricity bill for months when I had pneumonia, and I was unable to get to work a few times because I didn’t have $2.50 for the bus (which was the fare for a ride from my old apartment to my last job, not counting the return trip), and my car was still broken down (I couldn’t afford to have it fixed). The only vacation days I have ever taken at any job were spent in a hospital or at home resting after being in the hospital.
I was employed during all of these incidents. I never enjoyed the money I did have because I was always in a panic over the money I didn’t have. This is the first time since my life effectively ended in 2003 that I’ve ever had a savings account, and I’m clinging to it for dear life. The only reason I have that money is because a judge determined I was disabled during a time I wasn’t receiving benefits. I’m terrified of not having it because I know what it’s like not to have it. I’m still preparing for disaster. I just want to hide it away forever because I can’t visualize any situation that involves me in any job besides perhaps being a barista at Starbucks, where I would eventually run off in tears. But whatever, Starbucks rejected me when I applied, anyway.
I want to make tasty foods but I can never afford food and spices at the same time.
GARLIC SALT AND SRIRACHA ON EVERYTHING.
Dear debt collectors,
Please stop harassing my father. He really, truly, knows nothing about me or my whereabouts. He doesn’t have my phone number. He doesn’t even have my real e-mail address. If he knows what city I live in, it’s only because that information is available through a Google search. I have not seen or spoken to him in nine years. He does not know how much money I have or how much money I owe. You know more about me than he ever has or ever will. By bothering him you are wasting your time, annoying him, and humiliating me (but not in a way that is likely to result in you getting paid).
And don’t call my former co-workers again, either. That’s equally futile.
I am thankful that [most of] you have stopped calling me, because 20-30 calls a day made me want to die. Still, I would prefer direct harassment to indirect harassment.
Money Freakout (What Else Is New?)
The hospital where I had my MRI has a web page devoted to people living in poverty and people without health insurance. It explains (some of) their requirements for financial assistance and estimated costs of procedures for people who are uninsured.
They claim that you only need to be living at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines to be eligible for charity. In 2009, the federal poverty line for a single adult in the United States was $10,830. I take in a significant chunk less than that, so I should be in the clear. I already submitted a stamped and signed document directly from the Social Security Administration, so they know my income, but they want me to submit tax returns (which I haven’t filed) and other documents as well. That’s in addition to bank statements reflecting 60 days of transactions. The site says that if you can’t provide tax returns, that you can supply (among other things) bank statements with 90 days of transactions. This worries me because I got a lump sum of disability back pay, and I’m worried that they’ll deny me because of that. I need that money for prescriptions (once I get the Medicaid approval, which could take a few weeks), and also, given the amount of money I’m in debt, it’s NOTHING. It only took me a year to get disability, and there was my attorney fee plus they paid back the state for having me on welfare, so it wasn’t a huge chunk of money. I just don’t want it to bite me in the ass. I understand the logic — if I inherited $1,000,000 and then worked part-time at a music shop for fun, it would be ridiculous to give me charity care on the basis that I’d be “low-income.” But how many people are in situations like that?
Other issues: the estimate they provide on this site is far too low. I’ve had estimates for several things in my life, and I know that they are not 100% accurate, nor are they meant to be. They are estimates, and that is okay. However, the estimate for MRI is $1,132 - $1,222. My bill was three times that! The last time I was charged three times an estimate, I looked online and saw that the Better Business Bureau was already involved (there were many complaints) and I got a refund later. I know this is much, much different, but why would they post such a narrow range on their web site, especially since it’s the portion of the site directed at people living uninsured or in poverty?
I would really, really, really like to stop thinking about jobs. Not forever, just for a little while. Well, maybe forever — I don’t really know. I’ve never stopped thinking about jobs and it’s awful. After seven or so years, I guess it’s pretty ingrained. I just want to carve out that part of my brain and stick it back in later should I be able to be rational about such things in the future. I’m not helping myself by dwelling on it.
I have to see the case manager tomorrow (the regular one) and I’m sure it will come up because she’s still just getting to know me and she seems very confused about why I am the way I am. I hate admitting that I have a master’s degree because that only accentuates my failure. The apartment case manager guy asks me about work, too, and if I plan to attend any more school. What good would that do? I know everyone means well (save for Psycho Roomie, who was just needling me), but it makes me panic.
This is how it goes in my brain:
“Well, I probably won’t get a good job. I’m not good enough for anything, so I’ll have to take what I can get. No one will hire me. Maybe Taco Time will hire me or something. Then I’ll get minimum wage, but if I work full time, I will make too much money for most subsidized housing. And I’ll make too much for food stamps. And I won’t be able to afford an apartment or eat or get even my basic medications for physical illnesses. And then the student loan people will come after me. $600 a month. And the debt collectors will pick up the scent. And my old landlords will find me. They’ll beat down my door and give me subpoenas. And I’ll be penniless and working at Taco Time, and it’ll be greasy and people will yell at me and I’ll get fired because someone will complain about the condition of their Mexi-fries and I will cry at work and everyone will just stare and laugh.”
That’s not a complete picture of how it looks in my brain, but that’s the gist of it. It’s much worse, and generally involves me cowering in fear because the whole world is out to get me for money I don’t have. I typically start reliving traumas that have little to do with any of this, but made my life a lot worse.
The case manager asked me what my plans were and what my best-case scenario was in terms of long-term life goals. My mind went completely blank because all I can think of when I think of jobs or careers is the Taco Time scenario. All I could think of was that when I die, I want to make sure that no one in my family has any contact with my belongings or any information about what my life was like. Honestly, that’s my only wish. To think, I used to teach and was planning on getting a PhD and had my whole career planned out, and it didn’t involve tacos. Shit happens.
Weird. Today I got another bill for my MRI. This one is just like the first, but instead of getting charged for “Misc.” I’m charged for an MRI. The Anxiety Girl in me is worried that they’re trying to charge me twice, but I realize that’s ridiculous. Why would they send me the same bill twice, once itemized and once not itemized? I don’t recall ever getting billed that way before. Both bills have been sent on menacing pink paper, too, which is strange because they’re new bills and I’m not late in paying them.
[ETA — One of them says “STATEMENT” while the other says “ITEMIZED STATEMENT.” I still don’t recall getting billed this way ever before, though. It seems inefficient! Why would I care about my STATEMENT if I have an ITEMIZED STATEMENT? Why didn’t they send the itemized one first? Seems they could save money on postage and paper if they didn’t bother with that nonsense.]
In other horrible bill news, one of my old credit cards has tracked me down. They aren’t threatening to sue me yet, but I’m sure they will eventually. I owe them $2034. I owed them about $1200 before I went crazy and stopped paying bills, but late fees and interest and over-limit fees add up.
Another reason to hate checking my mail
Today I received another bill for my MRI from an agency I’ve never heard of in Everett, WA.
This bill is for $250, and it states clearly on the bill that the “charges appearing on this statement are separate from those of the hospital.”
I have no idea if my assistance (if I get it) will go towards any of this.
I just sent off my financial assistance papers, so I do not know that I’ve been approved or how much they will help.
Today I received the bill for my MRI. $3,520, bitches.
$3,520 to look at my right knee.
I didn’t think it would be more than $1,000 because everything I read beforehand indicated that they cost between $800 and $2,000. And really…they just looked at my right knee! At least I don’t need surgery on top of that…for now, anyway!
For reasons I don’t understand, they only want to do an MRI on one of my knees instead of both. They’re both REALLY messed up, and my right knee is only slightly worse than my left. Really, they’re about the same. They both cause insufferable grinding that other people can hear and feel (it’s not in my head, I swear!) and both make it very difficult for me to bend, walk up hills, and climb stairs. I made the mistake of mentioning that my right knee was the one that had given out twice and caused me to fall, so they say that it’s “too expensive” and “unnecessary” to examine both knees. Isn’t it cheaper to do them both at once? They’re right next to each other and I have to be in the weird coffin-thing, anyway. I’m going to have to get the left knee examined eventually because it will probably start giving out, too. How is anyone saving any money here? If I have to have surgery, I’d rather get both knees checked out now, because if I need surgery on two knees, I want to know! I have had problems with both knees since about 1995, and by the time it became a serious problem, I no longer had easy access to healthcare. I wish I had taken care of this while my Medicaid was still active, but at the time they just told me to do physical therapy, and really I was busy with other things. My previous doctor (in 2007) ordered an MRI on both knees (while I had bronchitis and couldn’t lie still), but that was before my right knee started giving out and making me fall. Even though both knees cause me much more pain and discomfort than they did in 2007, one of them is “less worse” and is going to get ignored. Argh. I know it’s charity, but this is still dumb.