Monday, September 16, 2013

Creeping Lifestyle Inflation

I'm settling into my new job and starting to figure out what the hell I actually do in my day-to-day, but I am starting to notice a bit of the old lifestyle inflation creeping in and I need to nip it in the bud!  So far, I'm doing ok with recognizing it, but there are also some circumstances beyond my control that I hadn't considered. I did get a pay raise with this new job, but I am by no means a fancy person now!  I still have student loan debt, after all.

Circumstance One: In which I taste a bit of my own medicine
I have always bee a pack-your-lunch-for-work type of gal.  I like to eat pretty much the same thing every day, I don't like to waste time while I'm on break finding food and I like knowing what's waiting for me (and controlling the calories in it).  I've always brought soup or sandwich and holed up in the break room for my lunch while reading a book.  It's never been a problem--until now.

Previously, while working at the public library, I always had something to read.  Here, at my new academic library, there is no leisure reading, and I kept forgetting to bring a book!  That's not a huge problem, just a minor annoyance.  The bigger problem is that the staff room is just awful.  It's tiny and shared by a ton of people.  There is nowhere to hide, no way to relax, and you're basically tripping over all the other people in there.  So I've started taking my lunch on the balcony of the building next door.  I have no idea what I'm going to do when it gets cold out, but I shouldn't have to worry about that for a little while. So far, at the new job though, I've bought lunch more times than I care to admit, but today, I have my trusty sandwich and yogurt along with my Nook.

So I've always been like "why doesn't EVERYONE just bring their lunch to work!?!  I don't get it!"  Now, I get it.

Circumstance Two: In which starting a new job is stressful/ exhausting
I've been drinking a lot of coffee lately.  Usually I drink a large cup of coffee at home, and then just have tea for the rest of the day.  These days, I'm a bit sleepy and have been availing myself of the on-campus Dunkin Donuts and the new Starbucks (which is so close to my office it's dangerous).  I know that a few extra dollars a week isn't a huge deal, but we all know that that adds up!  Sometimes though, it's just good to have an excuse to go for a walk.  I brought my tea into work and bought an electric teakettle for the staff room (can't believe we didn't have one), so I'm all set.

Circumstance Three: In which I now have an office and never need to move around
I didn't realize how much hopping I did at the public library until I started working here and realized that the most moving around I do is walking to the bathroom.  So I bought a membership to the college gym.  It sucks that I have to pay for it, but it's still about half what the YMCA (the next cheapest option) is, and since I'm here already, I will make myself use it (especially in the winter).  I also may buy an under-desk pedal machine, but I really don't know if it would be worth it.  Any one have one to recommend to me?

I also am going to upgrade my home wi-fi, and go shopping for more business casual clothes--the dress code here is slightly dressier than my last job.  Other than that, I'm keeping it in check!  I made a larger than usual payment on my student loans, and I plan to get back on track with putting money in savings and max out my Roth IRA contributions for the year.  I also almost bought a smart phone, but then stopped myself at the last minute.  Good job, self, now you can have another coffee for being so strong!

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