As the US of A and the rest of the world is intently focused on the upcoming November elections for the new president, it’s been approximately five months since Mauricio Macri, from the Cambiemos (“Let’s Change”) Party, assumed the presidency down here in Argentina. Though Fede and I were relieved more than anything that Daniel Scioli from the FpV party didn’t win, upon the election results, we were still apprehensive. We knew that drastic changes were coming, including some major economic ones. But there was still little way to prepare us for what has acutely followed.
Though that pesky cepo monetario had been lifted the day following Macri’s inauguration, inflation has gone from bad to worse to ri-goddamn-diculous. Though there has been an overall inflation rate of approximately 6.5% for April 2016 alone, certain commodities have skyrocketed out of this world, into the triple-digit range for inflation.
I have already previously touched on my
obsession concerns regarding money, but even this has gotten out of hand beyond what I could have imagined. In recent news, things became so crazy money-wise for me that somewhat impulsively, I wound up signing my soul to the devil and taking out a sizable loan from my bank to consolidate my debts (spoiler alert: I am now officially screwed). Yay.
So what’s a working woman to do to compensate? A few things. First and foremost, clickety-click it is, back on the ESL Craigslist ho stroll for me, trying to take on a few more private English students to supplement income.
Beyond that, near the end of each month, Fede and I scramble to play the “What can we sell on Mercado Libre?” game to make ends meet. Yeah, no kidding. Thus far, we’ve sold our old baby monitor, a pair of original Ray Ban sunglasses, and a laptop, among other things. Needless to say, though, it’s not a reliable source of income (and by the way, anyone interested in buying an Avent bottle sterilizer?).
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so I have had to become creative when it comes to saving money and cutting corners, and one of the first things to take a hit was our food budget. Gone are the days of convenient shopping at the local supermercado chino around the corner using cash. It all adds up too quickly. I’ve become a regular at the ghetto Día supermarket, where “Si pagás más, es porque querés” (“If you pay more, it’s because you want to”). Or I stay on the lookout for discount days at Coto. Or I simply do without certain, costlier products.
So what do I buy? Tang instead of real orange juice, powdered milk instead of fresh milk, and generic brand anything and everything.
I am aware that there are millions of people in Argentina in our situation (or very possibly worse). Hence the reason that supermarkets are taking measures to put security devices on certain products, such as grated cheese, canned foods, butter, and hot dogs (please see Exhibits A and B).
Since, for all intents and purposes, I am Argentine, I have also jumped on the local Cheap 2 Cheap Market bandwagon, where members alert each other on Facebook about discounts in stores on food, clothing, and the like, as well as organize wholesale in bulk group shopping trips.
In any case, the one product that I can’t afford to take a risk compromising are my meds… but Gott verdammt, monthly insurance premiums nationwide are going up 20% over the next two months. Ouch.
Counterintuitively however, though Fede is unemployed, believe it or not, it would not make economic sense for him to look for a job right now. Never mind the fact that nobody is hiring (especially amidst the ley anti-despido/anti-layoffs law that is currently making its rounds). The last time I received my pay stub, Fede and I examined the breakdown of what I get taxed on, and it turns out that I would lose a substantial amount in deductions each month since my spouse does not earn any income.
So I guess that leaves the bread-winning up to me for the time being.
So let’s recap a bit, shall we?
Dropped to the lowest payment plan for my cell phone? Check.
Stopped ordering delivery for dinner full stop? Check.
Started bold-faced, shameless lying to the bus drivers about my destination when paying my bus fare? Check.
Yes, it’s come to this.