I need a hero

As we look forward to the future, Max and I have been making an effort to become more budget conscious. By all standards, we have it easy right now. With 11 years under my belt at a well-established software company and Max's meteoric rise in his career, we certainly qualify as DINKS (double-income, no kids) and haven't given much serious thought to our spending.

But in just over year or so, all of this might change. If promises come to fruition, by February 2000-- a mere 15 months from now-- Max's will be transferred overseas to his next corporate assignment. And, barring some great revelation or catastrophe in our relationship, I will join him wherever he lands. We still do not know which country will be our home, and we won't know until late next summer.

I find the uncertainty of it all very exciting. It doesn't matter to me whether we live in South America, Asia, Africa, or Europe. I feel up to the challenge. I've always managed to adapt to change and would like to have the experience of living outside the United States. What is a little disconcerting, however, is that I won't be bringing home a paycheck for the first time since I was 12-years old. This would mean total dependency on someone else for my livelihood. Eeeek!

Max thinks about this, too. Even though he commands respectable salary, he realizes that we need to pay more attention to how the money is spent. After much discussion of future possibilities, we have decided on two goals that will take priority, as well as a financial commitment, while we are out of the country. First, I will use this period of unemployment to finish my education. We also hope to start a family.

With these thoughts in mind, we've brought all of our standard monthly fixed costs down. Now, however, we tackle the ever-illusive and intangible "miscellaneous" expense column. When you start to look at all the things you spend money on, it can be pretty eye-opening. For instance, I spend no less than $900 a year on my hair. You've all seen how short my locks are and it seems a little shocking that trimming and coloring 2-inch long hair would be so high.

"Have you thought about getting another hair stylist?" Max asked.

I looked at him as if he were asking to sacrifice our first born.

But Max, too, has his money traps. One area that I have written about previously is his laundry bill, which easily rivals the costs of my hair care. Rather than give up hair stylist extraordinary, Meghan, as part of a budgeting effort, I decided that Max's shirt service could be cut instead. I own a washing machine and ironing board. How hard could it be? I decided that, for the cost of a can of starch, I could launder his shirts myself.

Can you already tell where this is going?

It wasn't the washing and drying part that presents a problem. However, ironing men's shirts is quite the chore for someone who hasn't done so in a good 20 years--especially when we are talking about 40 of them.

I tried ironing the lighter color shirts first while also watching Heroes on Monday night. After starting the first shirt I could only wish that main character, Hiro, would have traveled through time to warn me of the errors of my ways. Even shirts that were labeled "wrinkle free" took effort to iron. And, by the end of my new favorite television program, I had only managed to iron 4 lousy shirts with 36 still to go. Max is a little useless in the ironing department, so the burden rests on me to finish the job I started. Another five during Dancing with the Stars, and no more than 3 during Lost--I figure at this rate, I might be able to enjoy a laundry-free night next week.

Next time I'll agree to offer up my firstborn instead.


Jamy said...

Did I read that correctly, he has FORTY shirts? Why, why, why?

Your hair care cost is also too high, but that's coming from someone who has a cut once or twice a year.

I also hate to iron!

Jennifer said...

Dudette...you're IRONING HIS SHIRTS?

It must be love, is all I can say. Beyond that, I'm speechless...

zerodoll said...

outsourcing shirt ironing is money well spent. what is your time worth? i ask in all seriousness. do the calculation, find a place that does shirts for a buck and keep moving!

Monica said...

I'm with zerodoll on the outsourcing of the ironing, it is money well spent.. specially if he has 40 shirts at a time... FORTY shirts... (I'm with Jamy on this)... I mean 10 is ok.. even 15.. but FORTY shirts????? YIKES!

and I love ironing... I hate to do laundry and fold clothes but ironing relaxes me and plus, it makes the clothes look brand new... but FORTY shirts...

No, no no... that is why dry cleaning exist.... and think about this.. if you move to South America.. the help over there in most of the Latin American countries is cheap, realllly cheap... I'm from Venezuela and believe, if I miss anything... ANYTHING from my country it was the help.

running42k said...

My wife hates ironing too. So your are not suffering alone if that helps.

Dan-E said...

seriously? forty? i know he's metro but... good gawd.

one of the nice thing about my (future) career is that i can wear t-shirts to work every day.

utenzi said...

As you can probably guess, Diane, I love this. Fiscal responsibility. That's my mantra!

I don't have any problem with 40 shirts, I don't know why the others do. What I can't figure out is why you think you need to iron all 40 at once, Diane. He's only going to wear one a day, I'd imagine. Why not just iron 4 or 5 at a time. That'll cover the week and once you get used to it, it'll only take 15 minutes. An easy sacrifice to enable you to keep your hairdresser on speed dial.

By the way, I have a sneaking suspicion that you make twice what I do--and that Max is way, way beyond that. Science just doesn't pay--at least not academic science!

kenju said...

I decided to add up the cost of cutting and coloring my hair per year - and was astounded to see it comes to $1,020. I may have known it unconsciously, because I decided this month to stop coloring. If I can keep up the resolve not to do it, it will save me $540. YAY!, I can buy clothes!

Siryn said...

Ironing is a labor of love. It's not hard but when you multiply it by 40.... yeah, that's tough. You need to average 8 shirts a day to finish in one week, which could be an hour a day.

I do agree that you should find a $1/shirt place if you can and use that.

I understand having 40 shirts - it means he doesn't do laundry for almost 2 months and having a crisp, clean shirt at the ready almost all the time. That's not metro - it's just efficient. It's like having 2-3 weeks or more worth of underwear. If you hate doing laundry, you do bigger loads in fewer increments, as opposed to doing it all the time.

You guys have a great system and I love the fact that you really work together as a team. Green over here, even with the fact that you're ironing his shirts.

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

Oh man! I can feel your pain on this one Diane! I attempted this (somewhat) ONCE when we first were married. In the end, I told him I'd find OTHER ways to trim the budget. Budget be damned I'm not trying to iron and starch his shirts. That dry cleaners bill is worth every penny to me now. The down side? I've started sending a few of my 100% cotton blouses to his cleaners. They look so crisp and new looking! I can understand how he got hooked on a cleaners.