Oh, right: Necessity. That’s what makes for the best frugality.
Well, more correctly, that’s what kicks our butts back into frugal gear.
This past month my check was about $1,000 lighter. That made things tight. A few unexpected expenses — you’d really think I’d expect those by now — meant we were down to $500 for the last half of the month.
Which was okay, if a bit tight. I mean, we generally run around $350 a week in spending. A $100 cut would hurt, but it was feasible. Then some of Tim’s meds ran out early, to the tune of $120.
So. From $350 a week to $190 a week. Clearly, I had to layeth the frugal smackdown.
In other words, I had to start cooking.
I’ll give you all a moment to recover from your faint.
I went and stocked up on groceries. (Did you know they have whole stores for that?) I dusted off the slow cooker. Literally, I’m afraid. And sucked it up.
The good news: I’m still capable of being frugal. Always nice to know. I was really beginning to wonder.
The bad news: I really need to get more recipes in my repertoire. We were seriously Mexican-fooded out by the end of the first week.
We did hit a fast food joint once in the last two weeks. Carl’s Jr had sent us some freebie coupons as an apology for a bad experience we had. We got our sandwiches free and paid $2.78 for shared fries. I figured that was fair.
Luckily, my check came on the 9th. I’ve gotten it as late as the 12th. But the point is, we were prepared. Unhappy about it, but prepared.
We should have ended it with $85. But I forgot about the discounted Visa GC I’d gotten. So we spent $50 on gas over the course of two weeks. Oops.
Still, I was pretty proud of that extra $35 sitting smugly in our account.
And if all goes well, there will be extra money at the end of this week, too. The day after the check cleared, I went back to the grocery store and hit some sales. Partly to start stocking up in case of apocalypse. Partly to get things like cake mixes, to save on future snacks.
I won’t promise this is a permanent change. I’m a cyclical person — kind of the definition of bipolar depression — and both good and bad habits wax and wane somewhat regularly.
But at least I’ve been reminded that cooking isn’t always an epic effort… assuming you can eat a lot of rice and beans.