I know my posting has been terrible lately. I have felt terrible over the last couple of weeks. It’s a dragged-out malaise that keeps me struggling to get the basics done.
In fact, I’ve been letting several things slide, which is not good. I have to imagine that my utter lack of nutrition isn’t helping in the least. I’ve been making vague attempts at exercise. I’m going to take a (probably short) walk today in the hopes that some sun also helps boost my mood. The windows have stayed closed too much lately, and I’m sure that has something to do with it.
At any rate, all of this blah-ness has caused me to consider some very un-frugal sanity savers.
1. House cleaning.
Tim and I end up arguing about this more often than not. His back continues to be problematic and his health isn’t great either (he’s not eating a lot and when he does, it’s fast food) so one of us is always sick. This means that chores pile up, which stresses me out which then stresses him out.
In addition, since I’m stressed out, I push myself to get some of the most nagging chores dealt with. Then I feel worse, and I get crabby when he’s not willing to risk his own health/back to help out, too. (I didn’t say I was logical.)
I did a little research, and I’m pretty sure we can get someone in here to do most of the major weekly chores for about $50-65 a week. Really, it would just be the surface stuff: clean the tub and bathroom sink, wipe down the kitchen counters, dust, vacuum and sweep/swiffer the floors. And maybe do any plates in the sink. Since we don’t need them to tidy up the bedrooms, it should take a maximum of 2 hours.
As a sanity/marriage saver, something that costs $240 or less a month seems like a bargain. Well, not a bargain. But a good enough deal to seriously consider.
2. Meal preparation.
In the past, we’ve tried the shops that have you come in and prepare meals in advance. Great idea, but once again, we’d have to decide ahead of time what we wanted to have thawed out for the next time. And we’re terrible at that sort of thing.
So I’m checking out prepared meal services. Unfortunately, the bad economy has hit this industry pretty hard, so there aren’t a lot of local options. I am going to check out Craigslist at some point, to see if anyone — say, a cooking-school student — is looking for work. But it’s increasingly likely that we’d just have to have meals shipped to us.
The places I’m looking at send you food that goes into your fridge (not freezer) and requires no more than sticking the item into a microwave or oven. So we would have more options.
The problem, of course, becomes finding a place that has meals we can both eat. The “gourmet” places are terrifyingly high, but we’re not looking for Filet Mignon. Just something healthier than most of the takeout we’re subsisting on now. (Or, when it’s not takeout, pita bread & cheese or a PBJ.)
Again, not a cheap option, but it may be worth it from a cost-benefit standpoint. Especially if healthier meals help my energy. I have some more research to do before I settle on anything. But I think decent food is a big issue for me. And, try as I might, I can’t seem to get it together enough for basic slow-cooker meals.
I’m hesitant to even admit to considering these things, given that this is supposed to be a frugality blog. But it’s also a blog about imperfect frugality. That is, being realistic about your limitations and your need to balance saving money and enjoying yourself.
In this case, it’s more about limitations. I have tried a zillion ways to be on the ball with cooking. Sometimes it immediately falls flat, other times it lasts for a couple of weeks and then screeches to a halt. Either way, it doesn’t work out and I find myself being very frustrated/hard on myself for it not working out.
Talk about throwing good energy after bad!
In the end, frugality is about saving where you can so that you can have peace of mind. To a certain extent, the peace of mind is having savings in the bank. But it is also about spending where it really matters, so that you can enjoy yourself guilt free.
In this case a cleaner apartment and food in the fridge could do a lot for my peace of mind. So I guess it is actually in keeping with my overall values.
So why do I feel so guilty for considering it?