Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Something worked well for me, and I challenge you to do it. I can go long periods of time without spending any walking-around cash at all. I can actually have a couple of $20s in my purse for a month or more. I just don't spend much money on incidentals. Not Starbucks, not McDonalds, not a snack machine...

I do buy gas and groceries, weekly. I'm not counting those items, which are paid for by a debit card or a check. Sometimes John pushes me to buy some clothes, imagine that! I hardly ever feel like shopping, and when I was a young adult, I loved to shop.

I didn't even do most of this on purpose. What happened to me happens to a lot of mothers - I just got sick of shopping. After years of shopping for exciting items like Macaroni and Cheese and super-sturdy boys' blue jeans, I completely lost interest in shopping.

I lost interest in eating lunch in restaurants. I struggle with my weight, and anyone who watches calorie intake can tell you how horrendous the choices at a lot of restaurants are. And then, I have a long workday and didn't appreciate losing half of the lunch hour to driving to a restaurant and waiting for a table. I had a place at work where I could eat undisturbed. So that went away...

My brown bag lunches are terrific. Lately, with Weight Watchers, I've taken up eating whole wheat English muffins with low-fat cream cheese, fresh fruit, raw vegetables, yogurt, or even good leftovers.

Then I lost interest in buying takeout food on the way home from work. At some point, I wanted to cook for my husband, who really appreciates my cooking a homemade meal. I have a very nice husband, and he's even nicer well-fed. I cook virtually every breakfast and dinner. It's cheaper, more nutritious, and after you get the hang of it, you can cook very quickly from scratch ingredients. I don't make extra grocery runs much, either, unless a kid pops in from college and we don't have the foods he likes. I do have a well-stocked freezer and pantry.

It gets very easy if you do it every day. I can walk in, assemble ingredients, put them in the microwave or oven, walk my dog who has been outside all day, and then when I walk back in the house fifteen or 20 minutes later, it's almost a meal. Or, I poach salmon, blacken fish, or do a stir-fry on the stove, which only takes a few minutes. Trust me, I cook in 15-30 minutes flat. If it took me an hour to cook, I wouldn't, after my commute.

My husband helps with dishes quite a lot of the time, so cleanup isn't much of an issue, either.

Play a little game with yourself. See how many days you can go without shelling out the bucks! Just imagine the money you will save.

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