Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Counting pennies

With only a few more days of work left – and therefore only one more paycheck – I’ve been re-adjusting our budget to reflect the change. I have one word for it: Ouch!

Anticipating this day, we cancelled the satellite TV and XM Radio months ago. Netflix is set to expire this month. The credit cards will be paid off as soon as I mail the check. We’re down to nothing but the monthly living expenses.

Knowing there won’t be a steady income stream anymore has affected how we view money, or rather, how we spend it. My husband, who I always tease for being a compulsive shopper, actually turned to me this week and said, “Now that you’re not going to be working any more, we have to have a talk about the do’s and don’ts.”

“OK? What do you mean?”

“Do turn the lights off when you’re not in a room,” he replied. “Don’t leave them on.”

Then, a few nights later, he actually got up in the middle of dinner and left the room to turn off the TV.

I can’t say I’m much better. I’ve used up every sample-size shampoo bottle I had collected over our years of hotel stays. And that can of artichokes hearts that has been sitting in my pantry since the beginning of time? Let’s just say it’s the star of an upcoming dish.

All of this reminds me of an editor I once had who had lived through the Depression. He was so marked by the poverty he experienced that from then on he always kept a new pair of shoes and an unopened dress shirt in his closet “just in case.”

I know we’ll be fine. And there’s kind of a thrill surrounding this entry into the financial unknown. But we’ll be reining in our spending and watching each other’s habits anyway.

Just in case.


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