We’re in an unfortunate financial situation right now. Thanks to a combination of $1,000 in unexpected medical bills over the summer, saving to pay for my prenatal care + labor and delivery costs (we’ve already saved about $850, but need to reach $1300ish by February/March) and some general financial irresponsibility, we’re pinching pennies in a way we haven’t since we were saving to buy our house.
Oddly, aside from the stress of debt and looming savings goals, we’re suddenly happier than we were a few months or even weeks ago. We’re determined to dig ourselves out of our mess, and there’s a lot of freedom in that.
Sometimes I forget that taking the easy way out—like grabbing fast food a couple nights a week, or buying whatever strikes my fancy—isn’t really that pleasurable. Yes, sometimes the Wendy’s drive-through hits the spot, but usually eating at home is so much better. I had forgotten how decadent a simple meal of pasta, red sauce, and crusty bread with olive oil can taste.
We’ve been staying home more lately and reading, or just turning on some music and dancing with Simone. I’ve finished a few craft projects and gotten ahead on blogging. We’ve been picking through our closets for things we no longer use and selling them on Craigslist or Cheapcycle for cash. Shopping takes up so much time, and with rare exceptions, I’d rather spend that time doing something else.
Lately our littlest expenditures, like visiting the library book sale last weekend, suddenly feel extravagant. And that’s probably a good thing. In fact, I have very fond memories of when we were saving to buy our house. We always knew how much money was in the bank, I deposited money into our savings account like clockwork, and little purchases felt like treats.
I specifically remember one quiet Sunday afternoon during that time, where after playing round after round of backgammon (the only board game in the house, which I happen to be freakishly good at), we made a special trip to Target. We spent something like $15 on Scrabble, mancala, and two decks of playing cards. Sad as it sounds, at the time that trip felt like a huge luxury. We didn’t need much to make us happy.
Today the things I’m excited about are small: an afternoon trip to the library, white beans and ham for supper, working on the rag rug I started earlier this week. We still don’t need much to make us happy.