Monthly Archives: October 2010

The joys of getting used to ‘doing without’ in a lousy economy . . .

I don’t know about you, but the state of the state in these United States has found me worshiping something new — something I never expected I would embrace; something I would have chuckled about picturing myself doing just a few years ago.  I now love to save money, and I am not at all sure I will ever revert back to the consumer I used to be. Now that has got to worry big biz-a-ness, because I think there are a lot of people out there like me.

There was a time in my life when I had a housekeeper, had my hair professionally colored and cut, was a Level II customer at Nordstrom, had my eye peeled for the next car I wanted to own, and ate out a lot.  That wasn’t very long ago, actually.

Cleaning the house isn’t so bad when your kids are grown and gone, since all the messes only belong to one or two people at this stage.  So I have formed new relationships with my trusty mop, my loyal dust rag, my hard working vacuum cleaner and my reliable bathroom spray.  I clean, therefore I am. And it occurs to me that I don’t have to ‘pick up’ the house and throw things in closets before a cleaning lady arrives. Amazing.

As for the rest, I still can’t cut my own hair, but I save myself the $90 I used to spend coloring it every five weeks by doing it myself.  My shopping status at my favorite department store meant that I received a great little perk – I could get free shipping on anything because I had spent so much there during the year. But that was two years ago.  How about now?   I have forced myself to fall back in love with the clothes in my closet, gotten a few things altered and shop regularly at Marshall’s when I need a fix.  There.   I said it.  And I did not turn into a pumpkin. My gawd . . . I almost feel as if I have turned into my own frugal mother who is probably up there in heaven nodding her head as she sees the transformation taking place in me….

As for cars, I drive a lovely little sports car with nearly 135,000 mile on it, the highest mileage car I have ever owned. So I make a point to have it regularly serviced (now that is money well spent). I also wash and wax it myself. Yes – I am that eccentric 50-something woman sitting on her driveway detailing her wheels on a Saturday afternoon. I have even learned the art of buffing my car’s sleek metal with an electric polisher.  The shine puts a big smile on my face and I can probably open my own car detailing company when the economy improves.  I guess some chicks can give wax jobs and others just get them…

The eating-out thing had become an expensive habit and it’s safe to say that the return on investment can be cruel.  The lighter our wallets became by indulging in this, the heavier the numbers got on the digital scale in the spare bathroom.  In response to this, I have become an expert at fruit and veggie smoothies, a chef de cuisine with salads, and suddenly remembered how to roast my own chicken. Remarkable.  Thanks again, Mom.

In case you think I am boasting at this point, perhaps I am. But I can get humble very quickly. I still can’t resist getting my Starbucks latte a few times a week.

Let me keep something sacred. It’s the polite thing to do.

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