the city will test your resolve

I checked my credit card statement for the past month and spoiler alert! It's really ugly. I've not even been in New York for a full two weeks, and from my estimations I've spent something like $1.2k or something along those lines (this figure is pretty much entirely discretionary spending—it doesn't include rent or other necessary living expenses). I think most of my friends would describe me as pretty frugal, but I don't feel like my spending habits back up that assessment.

Granted, some of this $1.2k is just the cost of moving to a new place (furniture & organization for the apartment, buying spices & basic supplies for the kitchen), but the vast majority of spending is eating out with friends. Spending money on dinners with friends feels so innocuous, but it's burning a hole in my wallet. And I already feel like it's not worth it; I've been so saturated with restaurant food recently good meals aren't nearly as memorable as they should be. But what choice do I have? I can't think of any better alternatives to find a comfortable place to sit with friends and spend a few hours (what am I going to do, suggest we go to a park and sit in the grass?), and I don't want to be that guy who goes and doesn't eat anything. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I just feel bad doing it.)

Budgeting is hard. Despite my best efforts, I've never been able to create one and stick to it. When I was at home most weeks I spent close to nothing, and when I traveled I spent a lot (not wastefully, but probably more than I could have if I tried to be more frugal). I never found a system that could accommodate my wildly inconsistent weeks, so I just gave up. But now that I'm in New York I'm starting to think I might actually need a budget if I want to see any of my paycheck leftover at the end of the month.

And of course it's not just eating healthy and saving money that are difficult in the city. They just happen to be the two I struggle most with. Everything is harder here, like staying sober, finding internal peace, and making time to study and read, just to name a few. I'm reminded of this quote I saw attributed to Mike Tyson:

God punishes you by giving you everything you want, just to see if you can handle it.

I'm fortunate I have friends who are of similar minds when it comes to eating healthy, exercising, and saving money and support me in these goals. But at the end of the day the outcome lies squarely within my control. In the coming weeks I'm going to work hard to rein in my spending and eating, and maybe I'll even make boring blog posts about my progress. As always, I'd love to hear if you have any advice for me.

thank you for reading; write to me at yourstiramisu 🐌 proton dot me