Manners & Misdemeanors

Frugal or Spendthrift? A Peek at The Truly Rich Lady's Daily Expenses

Our resident Truly Rich Lady lists down her daily gains and losses.
ILLUSTRATOR ALYSSE ASILO
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“Uh, ma’am, your financial advisers have asked that you please curb your spending,” says Lennie, my new assistant (the other one is on vacation). “They wish to inform you that, unfortunately, you went over your allocation for miscellaneous expenses last quarter, and you are now poised to not hit your financial target for the year… Are you okay, ma’am?”

“Yes,” I replied with a straight face. “But Assistant Number Four, please do not call me ma’am ever again. You may call me Si-si of the House Coo, Pale Queen of this Room, Breaker of Hearts, Mother of Dogs, and Truly Rich Lady. Or just, you know, Si-si. Now depart from my presence!”

After that awkward conversation in which I was reminded how old I am and also how poorly I have handled my finances of late, I have sworn to be more frugal by tracking my daily expenses with an app otherwise known as my assistant. And because I am a Truly Rich Lady who never divulges the details of her fortune, I will list my transactions in the universal currency of clams. This is what happened.

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4:00 a.m.

I usually indulge in a little more sleep, but I can’t because I am still thinking about being called “ma’am.” I lie awake thinking about random things like forehead wrinkles and Shar-Peis.

4:06 a.m.

A-ha. I remember how my airlines tricked me into getting premium insurance with its confusing website. You should opt in for insurance. Not opt out! I call the 24-hour hotline. The rep gives me my money back without so much of a fight. I think they’ve been getting a lot of calls. +P320 clams

10 a.m.

Guh. We are redoing the second floor to be more hip and modern. Our interior designer is one of those tastemakers, and she presents us with several configurations of designer Scandi furniture. My Truly Rich Mother is drawn to the most expensive things. -3,000 clams

10:23 a.m.

Mother fawns over a buffet table that can be reconfigured as an art installation. I put my foot down immediately. “We will choose the cheapest option!” I declare. +3,000 clams; -2,150 clams

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10:23 a.m.

Outraged by the cost of redecorating, I retreat into my room and do what I do whenever I feel lost: organize. I find money in an old leather envelope. It is in between yellowing receipts and a note, in my hand, that says do not forget money in envelopes. I also find my old iPod Mini. I am so happy! +55 clams

10:44 a.m.

Energized by my find, I continue sorting the pile of papers on my table. I find a gift certificate for a hotel buffet. I remember getting this one on my birthday last year, but I don’t remember who gave it to me. Whoever you are, thank you for today’s lunch for two. +324 clams

10:45 a.m.

I read the fine print and it says it is expired. I die inside. -324 clams

11:30 a.m.

Frustrated by the prospect of a nice meal and then not getting it, I decide to go ahead and eat out with Mother and just pay for it. I recognize this is a problem. My spending is sometimes tied to my emotions. I know it shouldn’t, but I am hungry and angry. I am hangry! -324 clams

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12:22 p.m.

Why is gas so expensive? Driver says we need to get gas, so we are filling up the car and it costs so much today! I think of walking to the hotel. We are nearby, and Mother says okay. Driver opens the door and we are greeted with a wall of hot air. Let’s just drive there. -377 clams

1:00 p.m.

Speaking of my driver: The baby of the sister of her godmother is in need of medicine. There are some things you can not say no to. He says he will pay me back, but I tell him to just do a good job and forget about it. -400 clams

2:30 p.m.

Mother said she wants to go to the department store, but I decide I will be good and skip shopping. Back in my room, I remember my brother has not returned the money he borrowed a year ago. He needed quick cash to buy something on the Internet. I do not like to talk about money, but it is time to pay me back. I message him and he wires the money instantly. Yipee! +2,400

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3:30

I dig my heels in and call the financial wizard, my Truly Rich Father. I ask, “Daddy, can you take a look at my little investments and see if there is anything I can do to maximize the mix?” He says, “Si-si Coo, are you okay?” Anyway, he takes a quick look and says I should fire my people because they are bungling up everything. He says I should be earning at least eight percent more than what I am getting right now. +7,200 clams

4:00 p.m.

More good news: My assistant returns after picking up the checks from my writing gigs. I look at the amount and I cry. +47 clams

5:00 p.m.

I am having The Burger for dinner. I normally don’t mind my phone while eating, but I am busy sending an e-mail to my assistant so she can track my expenses. I think I am winning? I am reaching out for the soda, while biting into The Burger. I fumble and knock over a pitcher of water, which sends my phone skidding across the table and crashing on the marble floor. The screen is irrevocably shattered! I will need to get a new one. I am so mad at myself! I ask Yaya to tell Driver to pick up two more burgers before he heads home with Mother.  -1,100 clams; -120 clams

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6:35 p.m.

Of course, Mother returns with bags of goodies. She looks so happy. “Si-si, you know I got some of these for free because I used the gift certificates I found in your room!” she says. Mother has gone through my things again. I inspect the “free things” and do the math in my head. “Mother, how did you get a Valvatory Teragamee wallet for free?” I ask. “Well, I used your GCs, dear, and then maybe I charged the balance to your store credit,” she says with a laugh. Ugh! “Nothing is free, Mother! Nothing!” -1,450 clams

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About The Author
C.C. Coo
The Truly Rich Lady
C.C. Coo—also known as Town&Country’s Truly Rich Lady—is not a professional seeker of leisure as many people wrongly assume, for she has a real-life occupation: a SHE-EO of Important (Sub)Company of an Empire, for which she works very hard to make sure that the people in her care are not left wanting. She believes that manners are utterly important: “If society is like one of those costume jewelry pieces worn by Jackie O or Diana, manners would be the glue that keeps the veneer of a most beautiful thing from falling apart,” she says.
View Other Articles From C.C.
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