Today is a new day.
Jill wakes up after a good night’s rest in her luxury apartment. She lives in the city, even though she works 30 miles outside the city. Her rent is $1500/month, or $50/day. She gets ready for work and starts her commute. Thirty miles at 50 cents per mile is $15 now and $15 later. We’re at $80 total. On the way to work, she stops by Starbucks for a cup of coffee. $85.
Jill arrives at work. She’s ok with her job, but work is work. She needs the money. This job pays $20 an hour after taxes, or $160/day. Options are relatively limited, and the choice to leave this job for a less guaranteed income stream that could result from work she’s more passionate about seems like a silly decision.
She makes it to lunch. Betty is going out. Jill is also going out. It’s just $10 after all. Plus maybe $5 for another cup of coffee. Put it on the card. $100. Let’s talk about the card. Jill uses a credit card but doesn’t follow the rules. Sometimes she pays for things when she doesn’t have the money. She’s in $1825 of credit card debt at 20% APR. Today, this sets her back one more dollar. $101.
Jill goes back to work. She gets distracted at work. Can you blame her? She starts thinking about the bills she has to pay. Electricity–gotta have it! She has the heat set to 72 degrees. She’s not home, but wants the house to be warm when she gets back. It’s winter. $103. She also needs internet and cable. How else do you unwind after work? $105. Jill wants to learn how to cook. Because it’s good for you and economical, right? She subscribes to a service that ships her recipes and all the ingredients she needs. Makes cooking easy and fun! Are you having fun? $110.
Jill is in shape. Well, not quite, but she’s getting there! She has a gym membership. Her apartment has a gym, but not personal trainers! Fitness is important. An investment. $112.
Jill picks up her phone to answer a text. It’s the latest and greatest, disposable-after-two-years computer that’s also a phone. And lucky for her, she only has to pay a little bit of money for it each day. $115. She uses her phone a lot. Like in a couple hours on the drive home from work she’ll listen to an audiobook while stuck in traffic. The audiobook is available for free from the library. But who uses the library?! Plus there’s sometimes a wait-list. She subscribes to Audible. And a music streaming service in case she wants to do that instead. $116.
Before she can enjoy those things, she needs to get through the rest of the workday. She goes back to work. The day is winding down. Sometimes, Jill dreams about going on an adventure. Getting out of the office and travelling. Visiting the Amazon. But that costs a lot of money! Instead she goes to Amazon. Not the rainforest, the website. Her wishlist is packed. She needs a new purse. Betty just got a new purse. And look! It’s on sale! Only $24. She pulls the trigger. It’ll be here in 48 hours. $140.
Jill gets home after a long day. She got stuck in traffic on the way home. She’s done a lot today, but has very little to show for it: $160 of income and $140 of expenses. She’s tired, she’s stressed. The burden of the routine, the burden of not having options, the burden of debt. She collapses on the couch. It’s dinner time, but she’s too tired to cook. Not in the mood. She buys a mediocre meal that costs more because it’s delivered right to her door. With tax and tip, it’s $20. $160. The food is cold.
But, she tells herself, it’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day.
The question is: will it be any different?