Day 2: The Real Cost of Ice Cream and my Journey with Finances
Updated: Feb 12
A word on the cost of this ice cream
I purchased the pictured ice cream at Grand Ole Creamery on Monday. It is a double scoop – birthday cake and chocolate fudge brownie with their homemade cone. It isn’t cheap ice cream. The bill was $10.93. It tasted amazing and I appreciated the moment of sitting there with all the other denizens enjoying my summer treat.
Except it cost me more than $10.93 in the end. While I knew my account was low, I wanted to treat myself after a heavy week of interviews and rejections.
Unfortunately, I dipped below zero in my account and it cost me an additional $33, along with three other charges that same night for a total of $66 in bank fees.
Even though I’d paid off the overdraft I was carrying in that account (with a property tax refund) and started using the YNAB app (You Need a Budget), living on less than $400 a week in unemployment takes its toll on every aspect of my life. In theory I should never have taken my wallet out for my evening walk.
A sorry state of mind
This is more than just a treatise on spending plans and deprivation, though. It is a state of mind. Somehow, I created a life that barely sustains my existence on this planet. While I consider myself a happy person, deep down inside, I am clearly not feeling worthy of existence. Let’s get real about abundance blocks. They are insidious. Band-Aid approaches do not work for those of us with these deep-seated blocks.
Given the high profile and not so high profile (just see the RIP posts on my Facebook on any given day) suicides and early demises which have taken place, and you have to admit something is wrong with this picture.
Most people are not feeling worthy of their existence and it plays out in a myriad of ways from actual death to dying slowly – dating the wrong people so they don’t have to be alone, drinking too much and drug use (often backed up by a bunch of reasons why they NEED to be on drugs) and loads of other ways our shame is played out on the world stage.
Just this weekend, friends of mine were dealing with a member of their own family who had been committed to a psych ward with a suicide note and a heroin addiction. This shit is real. And everyone is touched by it in some way.
A long history of financial problems
My financial issues have plagued me my whole adult life. As I realized in 2016, I would need to deal with them head-on or I’d probably die early. Not from suicide (although when you aren’t able to sustain a regular existence it comes across your mind) but from a failure to thrive. Not eating enough, not paying rent on time, and a mounting debt problem weighs you down for real.
But how do you change this?
The fact is, it isn’t just a case of managing your cash flow – or all the books I read, classes I took or the software I owned would have made a difference before now. Yes…managing your cash is actually what it takes, in theory and if you just use your mind. However, realize that people with a skewed vision of money, carrying the baggage of ancestral and family trauma can use all those tools, and their subconscious will play out the pain body, sabotaging these efforts.
How money feels to me
It was never around, abandoned me just when I thought it was going well, looked like it was going to work out and disappeared (I often didn’t know “how” it disappeared), and was continually plagued by outside circumstances – i.e. - how does one pay rent with so little coming in? The shame around not being able to do what all my friends were doing was real almost every day. Still is.
How trauma works
Painstakingly, I have had to go into my energy body through my therapy sessions, uncover and heal stuff that I would have had no idea affected the way money worked in my life. Most all of it was passed down and I agreed to take it on, in utero.
After I was born, I just took those subconscious beliefs and created more on the top of them, based on how I already felt about my experiences from the ancestral baggage. This continued building through different periods of my life until the load was so heavy, the real world showed the signs. I could have read every book on the planet related to money and none of it would have made a damn difference.
How stuff started shifting
Unravelling the trauma required sessions at least every two weeks if not more for the last several years. As the past unwound, and my co-dependent relationship patterns emerged and left, the real-life stuff started happening. I have had to let go of structures (like my apartment I loved), friends, family members, jobs, dreams, dreamy thinking. I have had to create new structures – finance spreadsheets, apps, calendars of bills, paying only what came in (even if it meant making smaller payments for rent), and living a nomadic existence while I did it.
It DID NOT happen overnight. Each week I healed, maybe some tiny behavior shifted and it was easier (not easy) to do something like manage a spreadsheet. Or maybe, that week, it was time to tell a friend off and let them go because their way of thinking and being just wasn’t supporting my growth. That is A LOT OF PAIN. Trust me…each time, I felt I was ripping off a piece of my soul to do it.
The path forward
I look around at the destruction going on right now. There is a war going on in my inner world too. My ancestors and parents and other family may not have realized they passed down their unresolved feelings, beliefs and mucky attitudes. Nevertheless, somehow, I was left with the bag. The bag is going to be left behind before I die though. That is my plan.
Unfortunately, all around me I see the pain body – people hooked on drugs, people slowly dying in abusive relationship, people settling for less than the amazing life, people domineering and controlling, domestic violence, racial tension and violence and elected officials who would rather rape everyone then step up to the plate. People everywhere are not feeling worthy of their existence.
My YNAB app today
So, I got my unemployment check and a good $150 of it was already spent on ice cream and bank fees. Then I had to look out for the next couple weeks – something I just recently was able to do – and see all the charges going out. I was left with $20 – if I don’t spend anything on anything that isn’t already planned for until my next unemployment check. I *may* but it is not guaranteed, make a little cash at my part-time job at a restaurant movie theater on Friday. Our sales have been down, and my shifts cut so the likelihood is 40%.
Nevertheless, technically I am making more money than I did last week because an even higher percentage of my income was going to overdraft fees. We’re making a concerted effort to stop that from happening this week.
My soul today
I may not have healthcare, a job or even any prospects for making an adult living and yet, here I am surviving on less than $400 a week without my parent’s assistance (also not always the case). My Dad has been sending money to my school loan for my MBA, which is great because right now I can’t send anything to anyone that isn’t just about living right now. Past expenditures are not on the list yet.
I guess I feel a little better about myself deep down than I did a year ago. While not everyone would say my present is successful, I choose to see all of these steps as a huge win. Every day I get up, update my Excel spreadsheet, my Quicken file and my YNAB app and I am willing to look at my actual checking account without cringing (most of the time). Only a month ago, I was lucky if I could force myself to do it weekly.
This is day 2 of my writing journey. Let’s see where each day takes me. Let’s get real about who and what we really are made of. And it isn’t wine and cheese – at least not today.
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