It might be Fat Tuesday in New Orleans today – that day of over indulgence where one might “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow starts the fasting season of Lent” – but here at Mama’s Empty Nest, there’s no Fat Tuesday, Wednesday or any other day for that matter.
Instead Mama is tightening up the belt.
And I don’t mean dieting although it’s true that Papa and Mama feasted on goodies way too much in their empty nestdom this past winter and some belt-tightening around their waists would be good for them.
I’m talking about shaping up the checkbook, not checking out my shape. Due to some glitches in the regularly scheduled programming, tightening up the budget has become a necessity.
First off, there’s that unsightly problem of the blown to smithereens siding that has left one side of our house bare to the world. (If you missed that thunderous event, check out my previous post “Stirred but not shaken.”) Major repair work to be done hopefully by the end of the week also requires a hefty bill to pay.
Then there’s the ever punctual and twice yearly appearance of ye olde property tax bill. Ugh. Another chunk of change down the tubes.
And you wonder why I occasionally think fondly of selling the house and running away from home? Just ask anyone in my neck of the woods what we think about our property taxes and you’ll get an ear full.
So as I consider what areas of our budget could benefit from a major make-over, I did what any inquiring mind would do, I googled ways to cut household spending. Let me first say that internet suggestions about cutting the fat involved things that I already DO NOT spend money on like “limiting your manicures and pedicures to twice monthly.”
Oh good grief! Sorry if I step on some toes (or fingers) out there, but I honestly have never paid for a mani/pedi in my life. Not on my expenditures list radar. I’m a do-it-yourself kind of gal when it comes to doing your nails and a host of other beauty “treatments” for myself and my home.
Another “here’s a great idea” internet way to cut your spending….eat at home. Uh, been there, done that. Been doing that for a long time!
Or partake of your favorite beverage at home. People, I live in the country, no Starbucks close by. Not that I would frequent one anyway because (a.) I wouldn’t spend that much money on an outrageously overpriced cup of coffee and (b.) I hate coffee anyway. My favorite beverage? Water out of my tap, served over ice from my freezer, and presented in a lovely travel mug emblazoned with middle daughter’s university logo. Cost: zero.
As you’ve probably already surmised by now, most of the “tips” weren’t really useful for the already fairly frugal way I live my life. All of the nonsense I read online made me remember that my parents grew up during the Great Depression, which markedly affected the way they spent and saved their money.
And let’s just say they raised their daughter wisely. Yeah, I’m one of those people who reuses things, stands the shampoo bottle on end to get every last living drop of sudsy soap out of there, shuts off lights, appliances, whatever is on when I leave a room, AND turns down the thermostat so that we exist in a mostly frozen state inside our house.
So, if you have any REAL helpful ideas how I can squeeze our already tightened belt into a boa constrictor’s grasp on expenses, let me know. I promise not to laugh and say “Been there, done that.”