So today is kind of a big deal! I’m working from home on my new beautiful macbook pro, and I’m on the internet! 2 major milestones for me! I got the internet installed at home yesterday right before heading to Sweet Revenge® to bartend for St. Patty’s day. I know that must sound absolutely bizarro in this day and age not to have the internet at home. The last time I purchased a laptop, it was a sony vaio and it was 2003…
My reality has been that I haven’t been able to afford and have what most peops probs consider essentials. I’m now superblessed that I can run these expenses through the business. I’m makin’ progress with Sweet Revenge® and with life in general, one little step at a time!
I’ve been on a tight budget since I was laid off in January 2007, and I’ve been very frugal and disciplined about managing my finances. 20 months into this business, I am still living off my tips, and I don’t take a salary. I gave up my home internet back in October 2008 — 17 months ago, as a way to conserve my cash. It was one of many things I stripped down out of my life so I could afford to hang in there. I gave up health insurance in 2007 (still don’t have that) and my $80/month YMCA membership in early 2008 (joined a public rec center a few months ago for $6 buckaroos a month instead).
I remember there were some moments in 2008 where I was pretty damn freaked about how I was going to pay my apartment rent and fund my life. So I decided I would do with my personal life what I was doing for the business — drumroll….”VENDOR FINANCING”. The vendors who weren’t threatening me with death and violence over their invoices basically didn’t get paid for extended periods. I only paid who I absolutely had to so I could accumulate cash to pay my primary food vendor and beer & wine guys. I used the other suppliers to cashflow my place — got the goods in the door and then held off paying for them until I could stockpile enough cash to pay some portion toward outstanding invoice balances.
I applied this approach to my personal life — I decided I surely wasn’t the worst tenant my landlord had on his books, and I’d been a very reliable one for many years. So I risked it and started skipping a month, getting behind a month and sometimes two on my apartment rent. It made me feel a little nauseous because I’m in a rent stabled studio and gawd only knows I cannot afford to lose this apartment. I’m not saying this approach is for everyone as the consequences can be big, but I was lucky and didn’t get into trouble. I did it so I wouldn’t run out of cash, and it allowed me to scrap together enough tips to pay my apartment rent and get a little steadier.
Thankfully by bartending 5 nights a week I make enough tips to get by, still living pretty damn frugally, but learning to be a little kinder myself with an occasional treat. This is so different than what my life was like in 2007 through the majority of 2009. I’m very appreciative of no longer being in such dire financial straights but it doesn’t take money or much to make me happy. Its pretty simple things really that do…my friends and my family, getting a swim in, being out in the sunshine, and giving myself a break every now and again…
I feel pretty damn great about this small step of progress. It’s exciting being on this macdaddy macbook pro, sitting in pjs on my couch today, having a cup-o-tea and getting work done. I told myself going into this year that investing in a new laptop and the internet at home would be an investment in the quality of my life, allowing me to work more effectively and efficiently and give myself a little freedom. I have a great appreciation that I’m doing this – I’m pretty sure I took the internet at home totally for granted back in the day, and now I see it as an accomplishment.
Time and experience, making sacrifices and going without, have really given me a different perspective and a totally different level of appreciation. Yup, the same is true of how I feel about my personal life too.
Teaser Taste of Sweet Revenge®: Beer tastings!
Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all the others (Cicero)