A few weeks ago, I was laid off from my day job. I’m sure that there are plenty of readers in a similar situation; that’s simply the unfortunate reality these days. It hasn’t been an awesome experience. But to my surprise, it hasn’t been completely dire, either. My layoff shocked my husband and me into suspending all costs that aren’t absolutely necessary — no eating out, no buying twice-as-expensive prepared meals at the deli, and no impulse buying for the house. (We did call a plumber when a drain backed up — that’s a necessary expense!) Along the way, we’ve discovered a few things:
We’re actually decent cooks — and it’s fun.
My mom was right: all it takes to be a cook is a recipe. And a stocked fridge. We’ve taken to buying a lot of frozen staples in bulk — fish and spinach are big ones — so we can whip up easy meals. We’ve dusted off our cookbooks, and who knew — it’s not that hard, it doesn’t take that much time, and even though we’re eating a ton, because we’re not eating out, we’re losing weight!
Not spending forces you to be creative.
We’re getting movies and books we’ve always wanted to try at the library. We’re going to parks or to free gallery walks. And we’re finally getting started on a few inexpensive house projects (think paint and doorknobs).
It was possible for us to save money all along.
Are you one of those people who wonders all the time, “How does the money go so fast?” So was I. It’s just amazing to me that, now that we’re actually thinking hard before every purchase, our money is lasting and lasting. I never realized just how much we were spending on small daily items like coffee drinks and muffins.
Would I rather have a job? Of course; and I’m working on it. But these are all lessons that I have to say I’m grateful I learned. –Mary T.
Image by Marek Wojtal.