Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad Economics

There's all this stuff going on that I see on the news, but I'm not really paying attention. Like the price of gasoline is going up and is now about $4 a gallon and might get to be $5 a gallon. I can't do anything about that, and off the top of my head I can't really say how much that will cost me. Other people have a better grasp of this, like they now spend $60 a week on gas just going to work and school and normal errands and such, while they were spending $45 a week when gas was $3 a gallon, but a bit before that they were only spending $30 a week when gas was $2 a gallon. Or maybe they don't live near work and they spend a lot more than that. And maybe now they take the bus to work, or if they have a Monday thru Friday 9-5 job maybe they're petitioning the company they work for to switch to a four day work week. Or maybe to make up for the extra money they have to spend on gas they've stopped ordering pizza and stopped going to movies or didn't buy the new TV that won't need the converter box next February, etc....

I don't really have any solid plans, so I can't say anything as concrete as all that. All I can say for sure is that the more expensive gas is annoying, and I'll just have to see how it goes from there. I guess the main thing that worries me is that I'll eventually have to settle for taking some job I'd earlier decided wasn't really worth my time, and then after I take the job and work for a few weeks I'll decide to quit because I really end up working for just about nothing. Like if a while back it would have cost me $30 a week to drive to a certain place and it would now cost me $6o dollars a week to drive to that same area, I couldn't take anything with only part-time hours like that Halloween job. That was $8 per hour then, which added up to about $160 most weeks, but then there was taxes and such taken out, and if I'd spent $60 dollars on gas instead of $30 that's just not worth it even if it was a bit of fun sometimes and came with free haunted house tickets.

The other stuff on the news is even more vague. Banks are closing. I don't think that mine is closing, but I suppose that eventually it could. Still, unless I win the lottery I won't have anywhere near $100,000 in the bank, so I shouldn't be out anything even if that does happen. And then there's the whole bit about mortgages and people not being able to pay them and companies that deal with that sort of thing closing. I don't own a house or pay a mortgage, and most of my relatives who do own houses don't owe anything on them. So that wouldn't directly hurt me or most of my family. But I'm afraid in the big picture it will end up being bad for me somehow, and I cannot possibly try to calculate any of that.

I vaguely wonder if things will be really bad. Would things be bad enough that those of us without much money should start growing our own food? I mean, I like gardening, but I more like just the idea of gardening. I don't think that I'd be very happy if I really had to live off of this stuff. Growing a lot of stuff would be a lot of work. And the bees really are disappearing. I don't think that I have seen one all summer.

So I can't really deal with any of that, and nothing is to be gained by actually worrying a lot about it. I'm just watching the news now and then with vague interest, and half-seriously thinking that if I had a bigger garden there would be less grass to cut.

Just regular day to day stuff is much easier to figure out. We're doing it wrong.

I've been thinking that I shouldn't take a regular ceramics class at college this fall, though I would like to take the non-credit throwing class if we get enough people to make a class. I've been thinking that I have several hobbies, and taking a break from this particular one would save money and gas and such. And if I'm not in a regular college class being totally obsessed with clay, I might feel up to getting some yard work done or I might think about getting a job, even if it is some dumb job that doesn't pay enough etc.... And if I find that I get too bored, I'd still have the knitting to keep me busy.

So I've found that I tend to buy a lot of yarn when it is on sale, so that I'll have it later when it isn't on sale, or even much later when that particular kind is no longer available at my local craft store. Which doesn't mean that I always know what I'm going to do with the yarn, just that at the time it seemed to be a really good deal, so I bought some.

So now I have boxes of yarn that I don't really know what to do with.

Last week I spent forty dollars on yarn that I found on clearance. So I felt I needed to buy it because a.) it was a good deal, and b.) since it was on clearance I wouldn't be able to buy those colors after it was sold out. But unlike my usual yarn spending sprees, I actually had a plan for this particular yarn. I'm not sure that I will end up doing this particular project, since it would require buying a lot of additional non-clearance sale color of yarn, but I have wanted this for about two years now and when I found two of the colors on sale I just had to have them. So I bought all of the one color that was at the store, went to another store and bought all that they had, plus bought an equal amount of the other sale color. At the checkout I noticed a coupon that was only good on Sunday from 4pm-8pm, and I was told that it would also be good for clearance items. But I didn't want to chance that the yarn I wanted wouldn't still be there on Sunday, so I went ahead and made my purchase. After taking the yarn home and adding things up, I figured out that I would still need just a little bit more of one of the yarn colors if I ever did start that project. So I thought I might as well go back to the store on Sunday and use this coupon.

Now on Sunday we went to see the Batman movie, which was at a theater that was nowhere near the craft store. After seeing a movie at this particular theater, we usually have a slice of pizza and a soda at the place outside the theater, and that costs another seven dollars, which is not a bad price for lunch or dinner. But after the movie was over, my husband decided he didn't especially want pizza, so he thought we should look for something else that was near the craft store. So we went to the craft store, and I bought four more skeins of the color yarn that I "needed" and then four more of a different color just in case I might want it later, and then I noticed that some other yarn in the color Sunflower was on clearance so I bought the two skeins they had left in that. Then I looked at all kinds of other stuff but ended up not getting anything else that I didn't "need". So while I'm proud of myself for not getting this other stuff that I didn't "need", I only ended up getting about twenty dollars worth of stuff and the coupon only saved me about five dollars. If I had put the other yarn back earlier that week and it had still been here on Sunday, I would have saved like another eight dollars, but I'm glad that I didn't do that because I "needed" that yarn and with my luck the orange would not have been there in Sunday. So I don't regret that, and I don't regret making the trip to use the coupon that only saved me five dollars. That's still a good deal, and that's about what I usually save with the coupons, unless I'm buying something expensive like a knitting machine.

What was not a good deal was afterwards spending $17 to eat at Chaps when I would have been just as happy eating pizza that costs $7. Let's see, $17 to eat at Chaps verses $7 to eat pizza is an extra $10, minus the $5 I saved buying the yarn with the coupon equals we spent an extra $5. So that didn't work out at all. But I guess the point was more that he really didn't want the pizza and he did want to go to Chaps.

Still, if I'm thinking that things are maybe going to be bad, I should start thinking different things entirely, like I don't "need" any yarn at all no matter what a good deal it is or what I might intend to make with it, and I don't "need" either a pizza or Chaps. But without more solid proof that things will get bad, I still "needed" to see the Batman movie.


Anne-Marie said...

Was the movie any good though?

laughingattheslut said...

I would say so. One of my regular readers already wrote a bit about it, and I didn't have much to add.

I think I'd still have to say that Ironman is the best movie of the season so far. But next week we get to see The X-Files, and there's a lot of other stuff I'm looking forward to.

Anne-Marie said...

My mum went to see KungFu Panda last week and said it was brilliant.
She has never ever recommended a film to me before so I will have to go see it.

The Absurdist said...

I love this post. This is great.

When I worked at my last company, I spent $160/month on tolls, since I had to drive both GB and the tollway. Almost ten bucks a day.


dmarks said...

I'd paid tolls here and there over the years, but not much. The last toll I remember paying for the past few years was over a year ago on a bridge crossing a lake in the south-central Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. I think it was a quarter or 50 cents (can't remember so sure) but it seemed cheap.

About $5.50 a day does me for bus fares now.

laughingattheslut said...

There is a little bit of a lake between us and an area of Dallas. And there's a toll bridge that goes over this little bit of water, and the toll bridge was supposed to take .$50 per car until it was paid for. I don't know how many years it was there before we moved to the area. My dad's job was just on the other side of this bridge. When I got a bit older, I went to college about a mile down the road from that, and at first we tried to car pool, but I didn't like staying at school everyday until five when most days I should have been able to leave at lunch. After I transfered, my brother went to school there. And my sister later took a few classes there. My dad worked at this company his whole life, and he was at this particular place since I was a teenager, so he drove over this bridge ten times a week til he was sixty or so, except for a few years when they sent him off to Houston or Minnesota.

So I tell you that over the years my family alone must have paid for this bridge even if other people didn't use it just as much as we did. And it is still there.

laughingattheslut said...
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