This is what the high life looks like:
Yep, that's a whole 12 rolls. Of the soft kind. And yep, I bought them all at once.
The toilet paper aisle wasn't the only place I splurged this weekend. I also bought the pictured fingerless gloves (or "arm warmers," as the package dubbed them) from a stand outside the bus terminal, brought home an entire kilo of apples from the street market, and rolled up to the grocery store checkout line with a box of multigrain Cheerios in my shopping cart.
You guessed it: I got paid. For the first time since I quit my previous job in January, I received compensation for a month of full-time employment.
My time between jobs wasn't completely devoid of economic activity. I taught an English class twice a week and did occasional translations. However, the money I pieced together at the end of each month usually didn't even go far enough to cover my (low) rent, which meant I had to start trimming my savings -- or, more realistically, hacking away at them.
As is to be expected, I tried to find ways to cut costs. Why buy Q-tips when I had a stack full of only moderately abrasive kitchen napkins with which to remove my eye makeup? Why buy real fruit juice if I could add water to flavored powder?
I carefully planned my transportation routes so as only to have to pay one fare. I hung onto dairy products longer than advisable. At one point, I dug into my coin jar and spent the next few days carrying a plastic bag full of change around in my purse.
For the record, I'm aware that this was not real poverty. I could have always picked up more English classes or sawed a few branches off my savings if things had gotten serious. But there's no denying that I had very little money to spend on non-essentials. Now that I have a few pesos to my name again, I'm afraid I'll get so giddy over being able to buy useless things like fingerless gloves that I'll get carried away. The truth is that even though I am making money, I'm not making very much of it, which means I'll have to be prudent if I want to be able to 1) save and 2) set aside a slice of my budget pie for books.
Also for the record, I'm aware that the outfit I'm wearing in the above photo is, in the words of Dwight K. Schrute, "a ridiculous choice for this climate." The two sweaters I wore over it all day wouldn't have let my arm warmers show in their full glory.