Monday, March 2, 2009


BREAKING NEWS! I'm going on a diet. No, not a food diet, that's not news. I start a new food diet about every other day. No, this time I'm going on a money diet which may actually help my food diet.

I want to cut back on my spending before congress and the president decide (in the interest of spreading the wealth) that people like me, who saved for retirement (although those savings have lost a lot of their value, the Dow is down yet again) and worked in the private sector and receive a pension, do not need or deserve the full amount of social security they now receive. I don't doubt that they will try, at some future date, to reduce social security payments to private pensioners, all in the interest of "saving" social security.

Of course, this is not fair. I can only speak for myself in this case. I was not an executive on my job. I was a Secretary and then at the turn of the century became an Administrative Assistant. I worked hard, was a good assistant and was rewarded for my efforts.

Now I'll get off my soapbox. Back to the diet. When we were first married, my husband and I bought cheaper cuts of meat, took lunch to work and generally watched what we spent so we could save enough to buy a home. (What an unusual concept). Then when I was home taking care of my children, I continued cost cutting.

In the '70s and '80s I learned to buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself using all the parts. A whole chicken is much cheaper than buying the breast, legs or wings separately. I also loaded up on sales. At times, I had boxes and boxes of pasta in the pantry, extra soap and shampoo, extra boxes of cereal and vegetables that I froze. The freezer is a big help in times like this. I guess now I'm back to buying family size packages of meat, fresh vegetables and fruits and freezing some.

Clothes for the family were bought at the end of the season. I was able to buy some really good clothes for less than half the original price. I was lucky because my boys wore a uniform consisting of navy pants and light blue shirts to schoo. There was no peer pressure to wear designer labels.

In the past week, I've been looking at my behavior and found many ways I can cut back. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I really don't have to have all those lights on all the time. That's one of my biggest vices. I often leave lights burning in empty rooms simply because I'm going back soon. I don't use the energy saving lights because 5 or 6 years ago I replaced all my bulbs with them and there was no change in my electric bill and they take too much time to reach full brightness. Sometimes I was finished in the room before they became bright. I could turn my computer off occasionally. Maybe I could join the library and stop buying books. Unfortunately, I still have to drive. There are few sidewalks, so I have to drive everywhere I go. However, I do keep my thermostat at 69 during the day and reduce it to 62 at night. The upside from this lower nighttime temperature is that I've been sleeping much better. I now get about 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep, except for Burnie.

I can make the biggest cuts in my food budget. I really don't need to eat all that meat, especially beef. Right now, I've got a large pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove. I bought the chicken wings in a family size package (20 wings) which I split in two and froze half and the supermarket gave a $3.00 discount on the package (final cost $8.99). Since I live on my own, I should get at least five meals out of this. Last week my local supermarket had a sale on cat food, so I bought 20 cans, enough to feed them for almost three weeks.

How can you cut back? Are you up to the challenge?


Snooty Primadona said...

Mr. Snoots is starting to grumble about many things but I told him to leave me alone. Cut the kids off & quit making me cut back because we're still supporting 2 young adults. I mean, I cut waaaaaaaay back after the last bust we went through & I haven't changed anything. I cut my own hair, do my own manicures & pedicures, I exercise for free, I do my own veggie garden every summer, I *put up* as much as I can from the garden, I cook at home 6-7 nights per week and I still do yardwork, etc. Where else could I possibly cut except food, which he won't allow, lol. Talk about a low maintenance wife. I am the epitomy of that....

Snooty Primadona said...

Oh - and I meant to tell you that after the pet food scare last year I just buy one plump chicken per week. I bake it in the oven, we have one dinner with it, and the cat eats the remainder for the entire week. Honey, let me tell you that I am frugal personified.