My job is still in limbo, so with the looming possibility of my very nice income becoming a teeny tiny income, it suddenly hit me that while I have been pretty careful with my money in the past in order to pay off debt, I really haven't been as frugal as I could or should have been. I could end up (hopefully temporarily) "poor" in which case I really will need to change my lifestyle. So I thought I would start today--both for practice and for the eventual possibility that these change I make really will be necessary.
With everything I did today, I asked myself, "if I was flat-broke poor, what would I do in this situation?" And here's what I did:
--Got up this morning and made tea at home as well as breakfast (an apple and fried eggs). Sometimes I eat breakfast at home but often I skip it which makes me hungry when I'm out and about which causes me to buy stuff, either at a restaurant or store, because I'm hungry.
--Took all of my vitamins. I have been slacking off on this but I really need to keep myself as healthy as possible.
--Went to my favorite place, Barnes and Noble, and hung out for a while. If I really would have had no money I would have had to skip the Starbucks there all together but for today I settled for a $2 Italian Soda instead of my regular $4 frap. Reading there was free.
--Took the bus to Barnes and Noble then hopped on another bus ($2 total for both bus trips) to meet hubby at the casino where we had lunch (free) and where he won (he left with $10 more than he started with). I also had a hot chocolate while I waited for him (beverages are free at the casino). Note that hubby has a "casino allowance" of $100 per month and while I basically think that gambling is a huge waste of money, it's his hobby and his social life and he never spends more than his budgeted $100 and he often is able to pay his bills with his winning each month.
--Went to Les Schwab to get the tires on the car rotated (free, I love Les Schwab!) and grabbed a bag of popcorn while we were waiting (free).
--Stood outside for a bit and enjoyed the wonderful warm, breezy fall weather (free...and quite enjoyable).
--Stopped by the store to get a bit of fruit to tide me over until we leave next week on vacation ($1.24 for two bananas and three apples). We have spent very little on food these past couple of weeks because we are trying to eat everything perishable before we leave so we don't have to throw it away.
--Mowed the yard. Not my favorite thing to do but it saves the cost of the gardener and gets me some exercise and sunshine as well. I think this will be the last time we will have to mow this year (I hope!).
--Made dinner at home (we're down to making tuna macaroni and cheese because we have hardly anything left in the fridge). This was an oddly satisfying meal as we rarely eat such simple food and it tasted pretty good.
--Baked oatmeal raisin cookies. While I was at the grocery store today, the snack aisle was calling to me but I resisted. From now on, I'm making my own snacks at home.
--Flossed my teeth. Again this is something I often slack on but I really do need to pay more attention to my overall health.
--Hubby "practiced" packing for our trip and was able to squish everything into one carry-on bag. Hooray for hubby! I always travel with one carry on but he has a hard time not taking a ton of clothes and shoes with him when we travel. He thought it would be impossible to travel for a month and a half with only what he can bring in a carry on bag but it looks like this might just work out (and save us $100!).
Overall a pretty simple day but these were important lessons nonetheless. I think whether by choice or circumstance, more and more people are having to live like this. It's all in the attitude, however, which my grandmother taught me so many years ago. They never had a lot of money but my grandparents always had cash on hand simply because they didn't spend unless it was absolutly necessary--certainly not daily like I spend--and they did most everything for themselves. I remember one time my grandmother told me that if she was able to pick up a pair of socks at the dime store, she was happy; she didn't need to buy a whole shopping bag of clothes in order to feel good about herself. Grandma was eternally optimistic and was always happy no matter what her situation. I need to be more like that. I will never be poor but, rather, frugal by choice.