Keeping up with the Jones
Living in this economy is a real challenge and I’ve learned a few things about how I want to live in the future. It’s just that right now I’m not sure how to even begin to dig out of where I’m at. This isn’t a negative thing. It’s just what it is. Decisions are made in a way that one thinks it’s the right choice at that time only in the long run to realize that maybe it wasn’t such a smart idea. We’ve begun to trim whatever and where-ever we can. I’m also doing some thing that I never thought I’d do before. I make as much food from scratch. I’ve always liked to cook, mostly since the college days, and I’ve usually been a scratch cook. I’m talking about making the staples, the stuff that takes time, but in the long run is cheaper than buying it at the grocery store. I make my own bread for stuff now. Granted it’s pretty dense whole wheat so if you’ve got suggestions on how to not make it so dense, i’m listening. We always make our own spaghetti sauce, that’s just do to being married to a great Italian. I make pizza dough and store it in the freezer for those night’s where we just don’t feel like cooking. We’re trying new things out to feed ourselves, how we can stretch the food the most.
One of our latest challenges is with PECO (utility company out here). We want to give them as little money as possible. So we’ve started a game between ourselves to see how much we can rid ourselves of the grapple. We keep the heat near 61ºF and just wear sweaters more. On the weekends, our house doesn’t get much ambient light, but I still keep all the lights off, mostly cause I don’t want to pay for them. Our apartment, pretty much pays all the utilities. I think the only one we don’t pay for is garbage. We pay water and sewage. I’ve also switched out all the light-bulbs with the CFL’s. Even though they can cause issues, I see their efficiency out weighs the potential mercury problems. We only shower about 1 or 2x a week. We don’t stink, it’s mostly due to time. As many of you know we’re not much of morning people. We’d rather sleep. The good thing is that we hopefully don’t use that much water. Now, that also leads me to the best way to wash dishes by hand. The idea of filling up my sink with hot soapy water and then dipping dirty dishes into it and giving them a scrub, seems fine in the beginning. It’s when you get down to the end and the water is all nasty looking. So then I change the water, but then I wonder did I really save that much vs. keeping the water on slowly?
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that in this current economic struggle, I’m really mindful of how and when I use any resources. The biggest thing is that we can cover all the bills, but when it boils down to our grocery bill that seems to be where we struggle. There never seems to be much left over for that. So we stretch what we can. Processed food is cheap, it’s alluring and it’s plentiful. We try to avoid it when ever possible. Plus it’s wasteful. I know we’re not alone here, but that group of us is not the majority. That’ why people are fat, we have the increase in diabetes, etc. The cheap food from the dollar store are not good for us, so in the long run the cheap food is actually more expensive for us as a whole.
Somewhere along this I’ve derailed, I guess my point is we’re really working hard here to stretch food and reduce our bills so atleast there’s something left over. I work 4 jobs right now too. Three of the 4 our part-time, here and there work, that help when I’ve got ’em.
We’re not even trying to keep up with the Jones.