Tag Archives: money

Debits & Credits

The cost of relocating to London has caused me manys a sleepless night. Before I even set foot in the office of my new employer, I owe a couple of grand. This unnerves me. To ease the pain of cash flow issues, I decided to apply for a loan from Ulster Bank whom I’ve banked with – but never bank on – for the last six years. I made an early appointment in the Athlone branch one Monday morning.

Helen, the lovely customer advisor, and I sat in her cubby-hole office, equipped with printer and photocopier. I clutched a large coffee and marvelled at the blandness of her small space. Numerous sheets of paper churned through the spool of the printer. Helen highlighted and narrated the legal jargon on each form. I confirmed my personal details and she responded, clicking and tapping on her keyboard, throwing a cursory glance my way.

She paused. “Hmmm, that’s strange,” she said.

I sat up in my chair. “What is?” I asked. Paranoia was evident.

“The system has instantly declined your application”. Line by line, she scrutinised the information on screen. She clicked again. And again. “Have you any financial issues you’d like to tell me?”

Blood rushed up my neck. My cheeks glowed. “I may have missed the odd credit card payment here and there.”

Helen thought for a moment. “That’s not serious. It shouldn’t prompt an instant decline. There must be something wrong with the system.” She shrugged it off. She pulled a glossy blue and white application form from her drawer and reached for a biro. She completed the form on my behalf. “Have you any shares? Have you a car? Do you own any property?”

I answered each question negatively.

Completed form in hand, Helen turned to her computer. “Ah,” she said. “It is as I guessed. The reason you are getting an instant decline is because the system doesn’t like you.”

“What do you mean?”

“It doesn’t like your details. In the interest of being open and upfront, I will talk you through it. Stephen, you are twenty eight years old. You earn quite a good salary. You’ve exceeded your overdraft limit twice in the last six months. You have no savings! Where is your preparation for the long-term? Have you no interest in owning a property?”

I sighed. “Sorry if this offends you, but you now sound like my mother.”

“I often hear this. Your mother is right. What do you have to show for all this expenditure?”

“Helen, I live quite a good life.”

“I bet you do, Stephen.” She laughed. “It’s reflected in your bank balance. You could turn your position around in three months. Set some money aside each month and start saving!”

I endured the remainder of Helen’s lecture before leaving her cubby-hole disheartened. I have never been good with money. I have an amazing ability to rid myself of debt, but like the typical Irish person of the Good Times of Old, I fail to appreciate a bank account with a credit balance; why debit when you can credit? I need to redress my views on finances. Helen’s words echoed through my mind for days. It was, while sorting through clothes for the move, did I come face to face with my problem. Hanging in my wardrobe were jackets and coats, ranging in price from half to a full month’s rent. I felt anger.

Screw you coats and jackets. It’s your fault! Helen is right! I have nothing to show for all that money I spent. I have nothing, but a wardrobe of coats. Exactly how many coats do I need? Who am I, Johnny Fucking Forty Coats?

I left my bedroom sickened by the sight of those tributes to thoughtless frivolity. I visited the kitchen for a glass of water to quench the hot, fiery anger in my belly. Within seconds, I was back in my bedroom.

Sorry, coats and jackets. I caressed their sleeves fondly. I really didn’t mean it. Helen is wrong. She is very wrong. No matter what happens we will always have one another.


Popcorn for One, Please!

I was on a date a few months ago. It wasn’t so much a date as much as meeting a guy I had been on one or two dates with.

I arranged to meet him on Stephen’s Green on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I sat on the grass in a pair of blue and white, floral, Hawaiian shorts, sipping a coffee. I waited patiently. The weather was glorious. The park was busy with families and tourists. Summer attire was abundant. There was a hubbub about the place. It was one of those days that transforms Dublin; you must regularly remind yourself of your location.

My pseudo-date eventually rolled up. He sat next to me cross-legged on the grass.

“How long have you been sitting here on your own?”

“Around half an hour,” I responded, simultaneously trying to suss the cause of his smirk.

“I’d love to be able to sit out on my own in a park.” He looked ahead, squinting in the sunlight.

This comment was odd. Was it that big a deal to sit in a park alone on a warm afternoon?

“Then, why don’t you sit out in the park alone?” I asked. “I always do things alone. I regularly go to movies. I think little of it.”

He laughed aloud; a laugh that was no doubt of the laugh-at-me variety.

“It’s about having confidence,” I said cuttingly. I decided not to recommend he acquire some.

It won’t come as much of a surprise I didn’t meet this man-child for a follow-up date. This failed interaction was the final nail in his coffin. His comments (and general view on things) bugged me.

Coincidentally, last weekend, a friend reacted similarly when we chatted about Inception.

“Did you go see it with Best-Friend?” He looked towards Best-Friend. “Did you see Inception with Stephen this evening?”

I interjected. “No, I went alone.”

No sooner had I said this when he reached out and squeezed my shoulder (rather affectionately, if I do say so). “Awwwww, poor Stephen”.

“Eh, no poor Stephen,” said I. “I love going on my own. To me the cinema isn’t a social experience.”

Ex-Boyfriend was a massive fan of the cinema; he relished the experience from start to finish. He hated missing the trailers; as if the trailers were as good as the movie itself. During our visits to the Big Screen, he was often impatient with me. He would frown from a distance, as I gleefully skipped through Cineworld’s vast pick ‘n’ mix area, paper bag in my left hand, yellow scoop aloft in my right.

“They have sour lips,” I’d exclaim. “My favourites!”

“Get a move on, Stephen,” he would respond with a sigh and deepening frown. I usually cut my dally short.

I’d return to his side and attempt a wind him up. “Come on! We’re running late! Stop slowing me down. We’ll miss the trailers …”

The furrows of his brow deepened. “How much did you pay for that?” He glowered at the burdensome, bag of pick ‘n’ mix swinging by my side.

“Seven euro.”

“You spent seven euro on pick ‘n’ mix?” I was surprised at his shock.

“Yes, seven euro.”

“That is ridiculous, Stephen. You are such a glutton.”

When I think back on my cinema experiences, is it any surprise that I prefer to go on my own? Negative experiences aside, when I go alone, I can see any movie; there are no compromises. I can plan my movie on my schedule, taking account of no one else. I can spend twelve euro on pick ‘n’ mix and a large vat of coke; there’s no one to judge. I can cry during the emotional parts of movies just as I did during Up; no one will laugh at me.

I go to the cinema alone and I love it. Pop corn for one, please!


The Return of the Massimo Dutti Jacket Obsession

On Monday morning my colleague strutted into the office sporting her birthday present. She had obviously been treated by a loved one over the weekend. She wore a beautifully shaped, light brown, leather jacket. She smiled proudly (and smugly). She observed the once over I gave her.

“Nice jacket. Where did you get it?”

She beamed. “I bought it in Massimo Dutti.”

“It’s beautiful. Can I feel the leather?” I caressed the soft leather, begrudgingly.

Contact with Colleague’s jacket prompted a hatch to slowly creak open in my mind; an old obsession reared its ugly head and crawled from the confines it was once safely locked away. This obsession related to a Massimo Dutti jacket I encountered last year.  The jacket burned an impression into my brain; it became an obsession that took months to get over. So strong was this wanton desire I documented it. I stood there stroking my colleague’s sublime jacket, recalling the fine jacket like it were an old friend from long ago.

“It really was beautiful,” I whispered to myself.

“Sorry, Stephen? What did you say?” Colleague looked concerned. She reached out. “Eh, can I get my jacket back?”

I flung it back at her. Regretfully, she declined my suggestion to take turns wearing it alternating weekends. I returned to my desk not fully aware of the stirrings in my mind.

Those stirrings gradually rippled to the forefront of my consciousness. Tonight, I went onto the Massimo Dutti site. I really should not have. The jacket I once obsessed over is long gone. But, there is a new one. A new, amazing, brown, leather jacket!

I can afford to buy this jacket since my February wage is a little higher than normal. The only obstacle is a promise I made myself to pay a lump sum off my outstanding college loan. I swore to seriously dent that loan tomorrow morning, but then along came this jacket and…

This is yet another example of something getting stuck in my head. You can guess that obsessive tendencies can be a hindrance in life. They sometimes can, but this is not an example of such. I dumped the obsession of the last brown leather jacket and replaced it with an obsession for a new, different, brown leather jacket. I did the healthy thing and moved on.

I’m normal.

Art of Stinginess

I went looking for advice on how to improve my blog-networking-skills and the creator of Art of Stinginess replied and suggested we post links to one another’s blogs on our site. I’ve just clicked him up and I am totally impressed with what I see. First off, his blog is slick and polished. The content could not be more relevant in this current r*ces!&*na%! climate. A spend thrift like me could definitely do with picking up some money saving tips. Thrifty suggestions include saving cash cash through magazine subscriptions and buying cheap Iphones. Give it a look! You might save yourself some doh.

I’m Getting a Little Obsessive, Aren’t I?

Months and months ago, I met the most beautiful, brown leather jacket in a Massimo Dutti store on Oxford Street. I tried it on. I was enamoured. You know when something just feels right? This was meant to be; I was smitten. It was relatively pricy. Best Friend, who accompanied me on a shopping excursion, advised that the jacket was expensive, but good value in terms of style and quality. I contacted Boyfriend, who remained back home in Dublin. Boyfriend almost gave birth to a litter of kittens on hearing the cost of the jacket. I considered his opinion with the fact there was a global recession. Blatant flashes of cash might be considered distasteful, I thought. Lily Allen’s song “The Fear” also compounded these thoughts. The resultant outcome was that I returned to Dublin empty handed. The jacket remained in my thoughts for weeks after, torturing me. After weeks of mental anguish, I decided I would get the jacket as a birthday present or an end of exam treat. I was so excited.

The day before my birthday, the day of the robbery, I visited Dundrum (as excited as school girl) to buy my brown leather jacket in Massimo Dutti. The sales assistant, who really didn’t give a shit, told me it was out of stock. The manager then informed me he would personally bring one over from the UK. He told me he would call me when the jacket was in store. Two weeks passed and no one called me. I called them. Apparently, the manager was still out of the country. A month passed and still no one called me. I was getting rather impatient at this stage. By now I had made three phone calls. I called last Saturday and was informed someone would call me tomorrow, Sunday. I called on Sunday; the manager would ring me on Monday morning. He never did. I eventually spoke to the manager (after yet another phone call). Finally, I received closure. He didn’t have the jacket and couldn’t locate one. That jacket would have looked fetching with the restraining order the store manager is likely to issue me.

Today, I have Googled the shit out of the product code of the jacket to source some kind of alternate, online, leather jacket distributor. Unsurprisingly, I have had no success. I am now angry with everyone. I am annoyed at Boyfriend for putting doubt in my mind back when I originally wanted to purchase the jacket on Oxford Street. I am pissed off at all the people who bought the jacket in the Dundrum store before I secured mine. The manager of the Massimo Dutti store also vexes me. Why did he have to make unrealistic promises to “personally, locate a jacket and bring it from the UK for me”? He is such a spa for doing that. But don’t you worry, I will have my revenge. I will locate that jacket. I will leave no stone unturned. I will spend the money despite Boyfriend’s protests. I will lose weight and accessorise the hell out of the jacket to guarantee I look better than all the other owners of the same garment. Finally, I will wreak havoc on the Massimo Dutti store manager. When I do get my jacket, I will spend many an evening in Dundrum and parade up and down outside the shop and shout, “how do you like me now?” I’ll show him.

Acquiring Cents

I secured myself a wee bonus there a few weeks ago. I received it in my March pay packet. The bank balance is the healthiest it has been in a long time. Who am I fooling? The bank balance is the healthiest it has been ever. The credit card bill has been paid in entirety. All unofficial loans are officially paid. To round things off nicely, I even have a refund of tax due to me. Ordinarily, I would consider this the best time to hit Grafton Street to invest in the wardrobe. Something stops me – a newly acquired admiration of healthy bank balances. This new outlook doesn’t want smears and blobs appearing on clean bank statements.  I am so tempted to venture to Dundrum and splurge on the leather jacket that awaits me in Massimo Dutti. So far I have refrained. This new addition to my mind set seems to have gotten the better of me.  I believe these newly acquired thoughts are commonly referred to as “sense”.