Thursday, July 16, 2009

Savings and Rant

I'm on this "egad my Visa bill arrived and it's high - like on drugs (and bucks) - so I'm never going to spend any money again or until next month, whichever comes first" kick.

You know, a month is a long time.

Some efforts I've been making:
  • Bringing certain foods from home to supplement the breakfast and lunch I buy at work. Yes, I know, it's financial suicide buying your breakfast and lunch, but it's the way I (harried working householder and mother) get out my door every morning with time to walk to work. And I do have strategies for buying v healthy and less $$ lunches. Gist is, I've cut my daily food budget in half for the foreseeable future. And while that isn't cold turkey (hahaha - get it?), it's an adequate start in my books.
  • Not buying discretionary items: No checking out that new B Brown gel eyeliner till the restriction lifts, using my "no longer fave but still in the medicine cabinet" face products because the fab ones have run out recently, avoiding the cheese boutique with the awesome imported things from Italy.
  • Not going out for dinners out (at least not $ ones)... Friday night restaurants with friends will be replaced by at home dining with friends. It's a lot more work but the food is generally better. And the atmosphere rocks.

So, I've been going along like this for a while - a few days now - and it's good. I'm one of those people who likes to spend up to a delicate tipping point (until she feels like she's losing sight of the financial picture) and then pulls it back from the edge. I think of myself as someone who spends hard and then saves hard (oh, who are we kidding, maintains the accounts as they must be maintained hard) but when I look at some of my blog friends (Enc, Sal) I recognize that my hallmark is not doing anything particularly extreme. In as much as I will retreat from the spend, I don't like to give it all up.

Intriguingly, that's my approach to eating too...

Soon, you're going to see a post in which I show you a great lunch I bought (fear not, it's a take out salad) and a new item of clothing. I'm not on a ban, as I've advised, though even if I were, it wouldn't make me an evil failure to buy when I'm trying not to. I carefully weighed the implications of each purchase, and I am entirely comfortable with the cost to benefit ratio. I paid cash and I will consider foregoing something else for the pleasure of having purchased these things.

I mention this, in part, because I've been stunned to learn that my blog friends who have undertaken the "long term ban" methodology - a worthy and challenging one indeed - have been occasionally harangued in commentary for having "admitted to" their lapses.

That blows my mind. I mean, I love hearing about the exploits of others - the fun challenges to which they subject themselves, the lessons they learn, the wisdom they can impart. It's how I live a whole bunch of experiences without having to go there myself! I like to think a couple of you may do the same when hearing about my trip to Mtl or cooking a new meal. (And might I say that I am blessed in that, to date, my every commenter has been lovely and positive.)

What I can't imagine is anyone offering up judgment and criticism to someone who's been open enough to share his or her methodology. It's pissing me off.

I suspect that hundreds of people have found subtle (if not gross) ways to reconsider and amend their acquisition habits for having read the "shopping ban bloggers". That's a public service peeps. These are real people with real lives, not paper doll role models.

That's the problem with being good. People judge you every time.


  1. Isn't it funny that somehow, we all are examining our eating and spending habits?

    I'm still doing both, hassling myself over the smallest clothing purchase, and weighing the advantages of each food item I put in my mouth.

    It used to be easier.

    Didn't it?

  2. it's amazing how you can save money when you start to look at ougoings

  3. In PEI, where everything costs more, I can't bear to buy a latte (for $3.50; not as large as a Starbucks Grande). I remember when I moved to the States and my first observation to the peeps back home was that an espresso cost .62 in my college town. Joy.

    And I tried to respond to you chez moi but didn't have luck. Chie is pronounced Chee, as in Cheese!

  4. Judgmental people should be beaten. That's my final judgment.

  5. Everything in moderation eh? I love entertaining at home (don't need to pay for a babysitter and can have a drink without worrying about driving!)

    Promise not to harangue!

  6. No judging here. I think it's fantastic what you're doing! (I wish I had stronger will power to actually hold up to some of my bans). I find I spend less money when I have work on my plate. I'm too busy to browse a website or pop into a shop!

  7. I go through that kind of "slow down" then "speed up" thing as well. More so this year as my spouse retired and needs help at home so I am not working either...never have I wanted to be back at work more because of the feeling of control it gives me over my destiny.

    I suppose going through occasional moratoriums has some of the same effect. W all make choices, and we all "fall off the (self-defined) wagon. I wonder if people who judge others do so in lieu of judging themselves. just a thought.

  8. Sally, the feeling is mutual!

    E: It used to be easier because we weren't thinking as hard. Or as well. I think this is a worthy culture change. But, like every other transitional thing, it takes a lot of consideration!

    Pink: I am such a spender on food, I notice!

    Miss C: Thanks for clarifying the pron. Canada really is sooooo much more expensive than US. It's scary to go from one to the other.

    Wendy: Hahaha!!

    Imogen: It's so true! And you get to control the style!! And people bring wine. And the food is whatever you want to eat. Indeed!

    E8: Oh, I totally know what you mean. The more time you have the less money. So it's a terrific irony - I mean, lesson :-)

    Mardel: Did you quit your job specifically to care for your husband? Or was it a constellation of occurrences? I love the way you describe falling off the self-defined wagon - that's entirely what it is. And I think your perspective about judgmental people is spot on.

  9. K. I did plan on quitting my job when my husband retired, although I did not think that it would be to care for him -- bummer that. He is a bit older than I and I wanted time to spend together, enjoying his retirement. I always figured I would go back to work eventually, at least part time, at some point because I am only in my early 50s and I figured I would want to work again.

    I didn't plan on being a caregiver, and I didn't plan on what happened to the markets last fall -- on one did. We were always savers, and I am not worried about income during my spouse's lifetime, but my own retirement funds took a bit of a beating so I was a little worried about what would happen beyond that. I am getting a little more settled in my mind now.

  10. Mardel: I don't know the extent of your husband's illness (have you written about it before I started reading your blog, perhaps?). I really hope that it's a temporary setback and that you two will have lots of time together to enjoy your new freedom. Crazy times to be undertaking such a life-change, I know. But how can we know in advance what's coming a month down the road? Have you considered going back to your former job over the course of time? Would it be there for you?

  11. Fuck it K, if buying breaky gives you more time with M and more time for U, then buy away. I think a working Mama deserves it.
    And if you didnt walk to work, would you go to the gym? yep? So what are you saving???


  12. H: That is such a smart way to think of it! Thank you.