Keep it simple

I never used to fritter away money. I always had a healthy savings account. While I never made a lot of money, I always spent less. Until recently.

Sometime in the last five years I started swinging by coffee shops for tea and maybe something sweet. It got to the point where I almost never drove somewhere without a purchased drink in my hand. Iced tea or Diet Coke from a gas station, chai lattes or hot cocoa from one of Livingston’s many coffee houses. (Don’t worry, I quit the Diet Coke. I know how horrible it is, but when you don’t drink coffee and don’t sleep…)

And we started eating out a lot. Not fancy places, but a burrito here or a veggie burger there. It was adding up. And with my free two-day shipping from Amazon, it was easy to throw in a book or two for the kids with my toilet paper order. (It’s the only way to get plastic-free t.p. in Livingston.)

My wallet got skinnier and my butt got fatter. Not exactly the way I want it to go.

It may have started when Anders was a baby. Oh, he cried all the time. Except in public. Out of the house, surrounded by admirers, he was a joy. I took him to the Montana Cup or Chadz almost every day when I needed a break. When Henry was in Argentina for seven weeks, it was the only chance for me to talk to adults.

Anders doesn’t cry as much anymore. The boys can play happily at the house, in the yard or the park. Taking them to a coffee shop still helps when they are cranky and biting each other’s heads off, but so does reading books, setting up the water table or a mom-run art project.

So, there are new austerity measure in place. No more tea and cookies. No more meals out. I’m cutting myself off from Amazon, except for necessary purchases. I’m packing my lunch for work. I’m patching my kids’ clothes.

I would have patched these anyway, I just want to show off my fancy patch work.

I’m taking fewer fun trips, too. That’s kind of a bummer, but gas is expensive and everywhere is a half hour drive or more. Plus, it looks like we just sold our truck. Since we haven’t found a new one, yet, we are sticking close to home.

It feels good to cut back, to simplify. But, I do miss the ginger cookies a bit.

2 thoughts on “Keep it simple

  1. Chris

    People says having children is expensive, but I always thought they were talking about food, clothing, college, stuff like that.

    For me, the big surprise has been these little expenses you’re talking about. Ordering burritos when you’re too exhausted to cook, buying a caffeinated drink because you didn’t sleep last night, buying a snack because you can’t possibly plan ahead every time you leave the house, paying for services that you don’t have time to do for yourself anymore. It adds up.

    And babysitters. One of the first time we went on a date, I added up the cost of the sitter, the dinner, and the movie. I don’t do that addition anymore. We go on dates because it’s worth it, but no more math.

  2. Mel Post author

    That’s it, isn’t it? All those little things….. You’re smart to stop doing the math–date night is worth it 😉

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