Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the year of living frugally

Every year new resolutions are made by so many people.
Personally I think you can start each new day with a resolution, or each week, etc., but there's something about kicking off a new year with new goals.
This year I am attempting to live more frugally.
Something, I might add, that I should have been doing for years.
Alas, better late than never.
Now my latest guilty pleasure (but is it really pleasurable?) is watching the show Hoarders on Netflix.
Wow, way to make me repulsed, feel superior, horrified, and saddened all at the same time, A&E. You go.
As I forced my way through show after show I began to recognize certain of these compulsive traits in my own behavior.
For me, however, my brain is wired differently - I can throw stuff away once I get off my lazy butt and do it. And garbage belongs in the trash can, and not on my floor. Yuck.
I do hoard food though.
Last year (or was it 2010?) I bought a big freezer at Lowe's and as it was on sale, had free delivery, and combined with my military discount (10%) I got a really good deal.
I proceeded to fill up all 20 cubic feet.
That's a lot of space to fill, but by golly I did it.
And then there was the pantry.
I live in an old house, ergo I have a really big pantry.
Closet space is sucky, but room for food storage? I've got it in spades.
Is that full too?
Sho nuff.
And books, wowee, do I have books.
So many - and in so many places - that I checked out a book from the library because I couldn't find my copy in the house.
It's here somewhere, I'm sure, but where?
Yarn is everywhere too, but let's not go there shall we.
My new year's resolutions couldn't have come at a better time. (Like at the beginning of the new year - odd how that happened.)
They are simple enough in theory, but it's the execution of them that kicks my butt.

  1. Create a meal plan. And stick with it. There is enough food in the freezer for several, a lot, too many meals, so go through that and figure out what to eat each day. Now as my red-headed friend would say it's probably better to create meal ideas instead of identifying them with specific days, but we hadn't had a chance to huddle over my idea since we were on break. I do see the genius of her plan, however, I had already enacted mine. So far, so good. The meal plan has accomplished several goals: (a) I have spent less money (only $36 to be exact) on eating out in two weeks; (b) we have been eating good, wholesome meals from the food that is on hand; (c) my grocery bills are 50% less than what I normally spend/waste every two weeks. What will I do when my private stock is depleted to dangerous levels? The hoarder in me is avoiding thinking about that, but I do know that Fort Drum will be holding their first commissary case-lot sale in May. The way my luck goes it will probably be the weekend we have Commencement, and you know I'll be stressed with that. But yes, I will drive three hours (or so) for a case lot sale, and this time I'm bringing the truck. The last few we went to my Subaru was completely filled except for the front two seats. Don't judge.
  2. Buy no new books. Or old ones. Or any! This one is just as tough. My theory has always been that since I work hard for my money (a la Donna Summer), I should be able to treat myself. Thank you Amazon Prime for enabling me with even faster shipping. So I have been going to the library. Like this is a new concept, right? But I've been checking out cookbooks, and trying recipes, and getting free books through my Kindle, and deleting any emails I get from Crafter's Choice, Barnes and Noble, Interweave Knits, Amazon, etc. STOP TEMPTING ME! I will resist. I'm kind of digging the cookbook from the library thing because I try a recipe, and if it's a success I actually write it down on a recipe card. Remember those things? Sure, from back in the stone age. And let's be completely honest - I also own about 40 hundred cookbooks (that's a pretty accurate count), so I should be using those too. And a big shout out to online recipe sites such as allrecipes. Love it. You're the best. Plus, I work at a college - did I tell you how long we can check out books for? A year. Yes, 365 days. And then if they're not returned - automatic renewal. Love it! Apparently the librarians know that faculty (which I'm not) get cranky if asked to think outside their bubble, so they've afforded this courtesy to all faculty and staff. Talk about blessings! And free Inter-Library Loans! WorldCat is our oyster.
  3. Impose immediate yarn diet utilizing the same principles as the meal plan. Somehow writing things down helps keep me focused, so it's good for me to think about what I want to make. How many times have you seen a project, bought the yarn, and then by the time it gets into your home you forget what you were going to make? Raise your hand, I can see you out there. Of course I signed up for the Valentine's Day yarn swap through Natural Suburbia. It's not like I'm buying for myself, right? I'm purchasing a gift of some sort for my swap partner. (Hoarders always have a remarkable ability to rationalize any situation.) Knit, knit, knit, and listen to audiobooks courtesy of the Monroe County Library System. You rock. Now see how two of my resolutions meld together? I'm so awesome.
And here we are in the middle of January - so far, so good. I'm feeling good about everything, enjoying the idea that I don't have to come home and stare into the fridge/freezer and decide what to make. Or give up and get McDonald's. Did I tell you my pants are not as tight? Hmmm...I wonder if there's any correlation here. Let me ponder.
I'll have to continue to monitor my progress, and I'm sure I'll backslide, but I am resolute!
What have you resolved to do this year?


Anonymous said...

Always follow advise from your red-headed friend!

Jennifer said...

I like your plan. BF and I do our budget every year between Christmas and New Year's - and look at where we will spend money and where we'll cut back. I like the freezer idea... but in CT we lose power way too much to risk losing all the food in the freezer (which has happened to me a few times already) - so I don't freeze much. Good luck! It's a great plan.

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