Saturday, June 06, 2009

Revisiting Frugal

These are tough economic times full of uncertainty. There used to be a time when a large number of years with a company meant that your job was reasonably safe, or at least you were safer than the guy who hired in at a later date than you.

There are no guarantees anymore in these times.

The news and information agencies have marked unemployment at over 9%--and the bad news is that it really doesn't show signs of getting better. Yesterday the company my hubby works for had another lay off. I was seriously freaking out since there was really no way to know who was going to get the notice. My hubby didn't get a notice, but some close friend of ours did. I was stunned and very sad. We've had bi-weekly dinners with this family for many years and I really didn't even know what to say. And then there was also the looming "there but the grace of God goes thee"--the full realization that this economy means that this may not be the end of layoffs and the realization that having to face a layoff in my house would be a severe blow. Our boys are in high school, we're firmly attached to our little city and house, and I have a comfort zone built up that apparently doesn't like being tinkered with (Hence the reason this is getting written at 4 a.m...can't sleep.).

While waiting for this round of layoffs, I reminded myself that I have fallen off the frugal wagon and need to get back on. I went gung ho for many months, then fell back into my old patterns of buying, storing and not using up what I already have. As a matter of fact, last week I bought $75 worth of yarn that will end up being stored until I actually finish 6 other projects on the needles.

Did I mention that I already have a yarn stash that could very possibly rival many small yarn shops?

What was I thinking?!

So, from here on out, until I finish all my pending projects and make a dent in yarn stash I currently have, yarn buying is getting curbed. Being a realist, I didn't say "completely stopped". That is like cold turkey dieting where you totally cut out something you crave, like chocolate, only to have a weak moment and fall face first into a pile of the stuff.

Another area I've fallen down lately is the meal planning arena. I have a ton of cookbooks, and many "Freezer Cookbooks" that would help me when I am faced with the "it's 5:00 and I really don't feel like cooking, let's do take out" scenario. I want to start cooking at least one meal a week from these books so I can get an idea on which recipes are going to work for my guys, then I'll make multiple servings to freeze. I'll build from there until I can do the once a month cooking. I think that would save our food budget. Months ago, I had "buy a freezer" on our list, we didn't. So it is back on the list of things to do withing the next 3 months. We're buying a small one, not one of the mega freezers. We really don't have the space for anything bigger than 8 cubic feet.

To help me regain and retain focus, I am planning to do is take a 3"x5" card, write on it exactly what I want to accomplish by being frugal such as "Save $500 this month", " Build up a 6-9 month income buffer in case of emergencies", "Save for a new couch for the family room" etc and keep it where I can refer to it whenever I get tempted.

I'll let you know how this works. I'm hoping that having these goals so close and written down will give me the proper push and ability to abstain from bad spending choices.

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