The Cost of Living: July 2016

When I started this blog six months ago as a way to get some kind of handle on my new life, most of my thoughts concerned money and how I might get to a place where I could live without it.  I knew that earning money wasn't something I wanted to spend my time doing, and I knew that given the choice between earning money and having time, I would always choose time.  For those lucky enough to earn money by doing something they would do anyway, something they loved, I understood that there is no need for such a choice.  I knew that I wasn't so lucky, and that I had this in common with probably most other people in the world.  I wondered how happy all the others were, giving over their time to work they had no passion for.  I wondered how many people had no passion at all.  I wondered if I might be such a person.



Certainly when I come across the platitudinous gibberish that passes these days for inspiration - the memes about "living your dream" and "being yourself", "waking up", nothing comes to mind.  I am crippled by the sense that all of this is almost certainly another aspect of the inescapable spectacle that is life in post-everything consumer capitalist society.  Last week I read Terry Eagleton's review of a new book called "The Happiness Industry" by William Davis, which touched upon the problem:
"What matters in the narcissistic world of late capitalism is not what you think or do but how you feel. And since how you feel can’t be argued against, it is conveniently insulated from all debate. Men and women can now stroll around in continuous self-monitoring mode, using apps to track their changes of mood. The brutal, domineering ego of an older style of capitalism has given way to the tender self-obsession of the new. One of the few pieces of good news is that mindfulness can apparently drive you mad"
I gave up working full time to find a way to live a more joyful life.  I thought that by keeping track of my spending I could tear myself away from a preoccupation with money.  I was naive to think this would be easy.  I have become preoccupied with not being preoccupied.  Here are this month's numbers:


OUTGOINGS
Food: £83.85
Postage/ebay costs: £6.27
Rent: £750 (£675 + £75 arrears)
Mobile/internet: £100.44
Council Tax: £84
Electric bill: £159.74
Alcohol: £35.78
Other: £133.97
Total outgoings: £1354.04

INCOME
Income from work: £739.09
amazon/ebay selling: £59.12
Other: £17.53 (refunds)
Total income:  £815.74

BALANCE:  -£538.31


Previous 'cost of living' posts have been followed by some comments on how and why I spent my money in the way I did, and how I might go about doing better next month.  There is some virtue in this, but it has become stifling.  I have nothing to say about this month's numbers that is of any interest: they are what they are.  The only important point to learn is that I can't afford to go on living as I am now.  This is something I knew already, but I suppose there is some value in living that knowledge.  The timing of all this works out fairly well, as there's only one month left now before I have to move out of my flat, and this month I think I'm going to have to start dipping into my savings to make ends meet.