Budgeting at the End of the World

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The following is an anonymous submission from a Femme Frugality reader.

person with blonde hair laying face down on the bed with eyes open.


DEPRESSION: Okay, everyone’s asleep. You finally have an hour to yourself. Boot up the laptop.

ANXIETY: Yes, boot up the laptop. Your one thing to get done today was the budget and you haven’t done that yet.

DEPRESSION: But they did a million other things. They need some time to take care of themselves. I don’t want to see Excel spreadsheets or any other harbingers of stress.

You better pull up Netflix when that thing finally turns on.

ANXIETY: Budgeting is taking care of yourself. And they haven’t even set one this month. You just keep making them binge watch TV shows, wasting away what precious little time we have.

DEPRESSION: Their therapist says you process trauma through art, and that TV is an acceptable form of art.

ANXIETY: You’re doing that thing where you use the therapist out of context to justify procrastination as self-care.

DEPRESSION: And you’re doing that thing where you nullify what the therapist says so you can take over and ruin our lives.


Listen. They haven’t seen a human being outside their family in over two months. There was that brief window this Spring, and even then you made us play things super tight. Before that it had been seven months.

Since HUMAN BEINGS. We’re indulging in the escapism.

(clicks on Netflix icon)

————————————FIVE DAYS LATER—————————————

ANXIETY: Alright. We’ve done your thing for long enough. It’s time to do mine.

DEPRESSION: But they’re kind of feeling a tiny bit better. You stress them out so much.

ANXIETY: I stress them out because there is stuff to stress about. You’re just ignoring it. They feel better, but everything is about to fall apart because they’re not paying attention.

They don’t even know what day of the week it is anymore. They’re not going to be feeling better for long.

DEPRESSION: The entire world is falling apart. What do you expect them to do about it? Are you gonna make that stop, too?

ANXIETY: No, I’m not. Everything’s terrible and is going to continue to be terrible.

But what they still need to write a budget. Now.

(opens Excel)

————————————THREE HOURS LATER—————————————

ANXIETY: Oh, no. You can’t stop now. You’re only halfway through!

DEPRESSION.: But they’ve been at this for so long.

ANXIETY: They’ll continue until it’s done. Sit down.

MOTIVATION: Maybe it’s okay to be proud of getting half of it done. That’s how they got out of debt that first time: One single penny at a time.

ANXIETY: Where have you been?

DEPRESSION.: What are you doing here?

MOTIVATION: You are both so extreme it’s obnoxious. They just need a routine and to log their progress.

ANXIETY: But there is no routine! Everyday something new and awful happens that needs to be addressed right away.

And they’ve got 50 mental tabs up in the background that are all important, too. They just keep getting pushed back by each latest disaster.

MOTIVATION: So we’ll make a routine. You’re ridiculous for thinking they’re going to get all caught up in a week.

And you’re ridiculous for making them feel like they have no power at all.

ANXIETY: So we’ll just get all caught up now. Then they can relax.

MOTIVATION: We all know that’s a lie. You just told us about those 50 mental tabs, and there’s no way you’re going to chill until they’re all closed.

ANXIETY: None of you should be chilling. There is a lot of serious stuff happening right now.

MOTIVATION: We’re opening Netflix. They did great. Got half of it done. That’s half more than we had this morning. We’ll get the other half done tomorrow.

ANXIETY: We should be doing that now! Aren’t you going to say anything? You’ve gone suddenly quiet.

DEPRESSION: No, actually, I’m fine with this. I mean, I’ll be back in the morning full force. But as long as we’re bingeing something, I’m good.

MOTIVATION: You and I will have a lot to discuss in the morning.

DEPRESSION: You’re assuming I’ll even let you back in the room.

(clicks on Netflix icon)

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