24 December 2008

Day of the Fiscal Rollercoaster

So it turns out that being a grad student means you are poor.

This morning, while looking for a bag to bring with me on our trip, I found a one hundred dollar bill. For real! It doesn't get any better than that, right? And it was timely, man was it timely. So the girls and I dropped Steve off at work, deposited half the money in the bank and took the other half to the evil empire (aka WalMart) where we bought some coloring books for the plane and a few last minute Christmas items.

Then we went across the street to the grocery store where we picked up a few things for Christmas morning and snacks for the trip.

Oops! Card declined.

We tried it twice. The cashier was super nice about it, but we had to leave our food and go back to the bank to find out what had happened to the fifty dollars I had just put in our account.

Oops again. They closed at noon today. Damn. That meant that the money was unavailable, for whatever reason, until after Christmas, which meant not enough cash left to put gas in the car in order to get to the airport tomorrow afternoon. Damn. I checked my balance at the ATM: 84 cents. Damn, where was my fifty bucks?

Swearing at the bank under my breath, we turned around and drove back to the evil empire, where I returned everything I had just bought and got my money back. Just how I wanted to spend Christmas eve. The return process was actually fairly simple, for which I was grateful. I don't like being grateful to the evil empire, but hey, it was a grudging kind of gratefulness. Back across the street to the grocery store I scaled down our purchases to the bare essentials and then filled the car with gas. Heading home all I could do was hope that nothing else would come up that required money in the next day and a half.

In the mailbox was a letter from the bank. Our account had been overdrawn by $49.87. The letter did not offer any further explanation.

Sigh. No money. Oh well, I'm pretty much used to it. Shopping this Christmas has been an exercise in frugality, and to tell you the truth, I think I'm getting pretty good at strategic gift buying.

At home the girls and I ate leftover macaroni and cheese and I sat down at the computer to check my email and the weather. Again. Not thinking there would be anything there, I checked the other bank account, just to see. And guess what? We have money! Not a lot, but my assistantship check went through, so we're not totally broke, yay!

As relieved as I feel, I am also exhausted. When Steve gets home from work I am going to the store and I am going to buy us a nice bottle of wine, and we'll drink wine and eat cheese while we relax by the Christmas tree... okay, fine, while we wrap presents from Santa and steal his cookies.

I need at least a few hours before tomorrow's Day of Traveling Alone with Two Small Children.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

And since the rate at which I have been posting really is that slow:

Happy New Year!

4 comments:

Annika said...

Been. There. (Like, the other day. Minus the Walmart part, but only because there is no Walmart here, and also because we have overdraft and I treat it like credit because that is how poor we are but I didn't mean for this to be about me which is why it's a parenthetical.) I love you, Merry Christmas and I hope you have some more money soon.

koehmstedt said...

Merry Christmas!

jerseygirl89 said...

I've been there. I'll probably be there again in a few weeks. I'm so sorry. It sucks. I hope things improve soon.

Lucy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.