As of late, my life has involved a little re-thinking…..in the finance aspect that is. Like many, my husband and I were blessed by the abundance of wealth that purged from the mortgage industry. When all of the money was being made in this industry, my husband and I were dating….and what a courtship that lead to. We traveled, ate Sushi several times a week, bought the expensive wines, forwent the generic brands, and I even stopped shopping at Big Lots. Our wedding was extravagant …..well for my frugal mind it was extravagant, for most it was a mere sliver of what a dream wedding would be, but to me it was beautiful and I felt like a princess not having to go without. Marriage came and we bought a condo – in Southern California this can feel like a castle, and our traveling, sushi, expensive wines, and Big Lotless days did not cease…until we got the call.
Michael’s company was going under...”What! Michael works for the largest sub-prime mortgage company in the nation! How could this be happening!” Before we could even start to comprehend how this could take place….it did…Michael was out of a job, and we were on frugal mode.
Luckily Michael and I are both frugal by nature, and lived very thrifty lives until we were tempted by the carefree feeling spending without worrying brings. What a thrill to buy because it is convenient and not because it is on sale, generic, or the best price! Always in the back of my head though, I knew my frugal ways were smarter, but the thrill always got the best of me. It was like I was learning a whole new way to shop. Now, like teaching a toddler how to walk, I had to re-learn how to let go of the emotional aspect of shopping without a budget, and start thinking like the economical person that I have always been at heart.
Since “the call” a year has passed, and I can proudly say Michael and I survived “the layoff”.
1) We have done the unthinkable to many….we got a roommate. This has been the biggest, and hardest adjustment to our “old life”, but also the most beneficial to our banking account and peace of mind.
2) We have also stopped buying wine except for special occasions, and even then it is the good old cheap stuff that we have always enjoyed. Instead we have taken up a workout routine together, that has not only saved us money on booze, but helped us lose the pounds gained after the wedding. Double benefit!
3) Sushi happens every few months, and usually because we decided to sell an old piece of furniture that is collecting dust in the basement (Craigslist.com rocks for selling old furniture for quick cash).
4) Date nights now consist of Michael and I at home, eating a good meal that we cooked with generic brand food and recipes that do not require elaborate ingredients, and scrabble or a movie on our cableless T.V. We have even learned how to get free movies through Redbox (The red box like contraption in your local Wal-Mart’s and McDonald’s). You can go to their website at: www.Redbox.com for the code to a free movie. They rent movies for all ages, and even if you don’t have a code for a free one, it’s only a dollar.
5) Big Lots has once again become a stop on my to-do list….and only sometimes do I miss being at Crate and Barrel. I have also learned that craigslist.com has a free section that holds many items on my want list as well as my little loved ones want list, that Target sells toys in the dollar section that children enjoy as much as the expensive ones, that there are several websites with frugal living ideas, like www.wisebread.com, that provide endless ways to save money, and that shopping at the good will and other used stores is not as a painful as I thought. In fact, sometimes I prefer it now.
Surprising to Michael and I, we are frugal again and happy. We miss our travels, and there were stressful, uncomfortable days and sleepless nights as we “re-adjusted” our lives…but in the end, it has been okay. More than okay. We know that this is not how it will always be, but if it is, we know we can more than survive it; we can enjoy each other and our life along the way….and, we will never forsake our frugal practices...to some extent.