Thursday, August 23, 2012

On Being Home

The last time I posted to this blog, I had a job I loved and I had no idea that in less than a week I was going to be told my hours were being cut and the conditions of the job would become untenable.  I had no idea that I would choose to stay home rather than find another job.  I had no idea at all.

It has certainly been a period of adjustment.  In a world where most people have two incomes, our income and a half meant that we were pretty thrifty to begin with.  I didn't imagine we could make it on less without drastic changes.

So far, however, it's been okay.  I had always heard that working costs money.  While I agreed with the theory, I figured it didn't apply to my situation.  After all, I only drove 10 miles a day so I didn't really have a commuting cost.  I ate my lunch at mom's and I didn't need a professional wardrobe.  Most significantly, my mom did my childcare and so that was free as well.  Oddly enough, however, I realized there were costs I didn't realize were creeping in.  Since I was spending 5 hours a day in a job where I didn't always have 5 hours of work to do, I did a lot of shopping.  Browsing online gets expensive, even when you are really really good at finding the best deal.  Having friends who make lovely things makes you visit places like Etsy and end up buying lovely things.  Finding hobbies like Blythe dolls costs a lot of money as well.

Since I didn't work that many hours, I didn't figure I was really subject to things like "you end up relying on convenience foods and restaurants".  But I was, and way more than I thought.  Even though I didn't work too many hours, I got home at the same time as my husband and I was HUNGRY.  Usually it was much easier to say "screw it, we'll go out" than to prepare something.  That also meant we wasted a lot of food, as I always bought enough on the weekends to prepare dinner every night, and then we would go out and not use it.

In addition, my reduction in hours pushed me to finally check out Aldi.  Let me tell you, I am a convert.  I can buy a week's worth of groceries for less than half what I'd pay for the same items at a regular store.  I can afford to buy a few convenience foods, which are good for those nights you'd rather go out.  And there are far less temptations like fancy cheese, the deli counter, etc.  The food is basic and simple but good.  I can do more than 90% of my shopping there, and I have only found one item I don't care for that I regularly buy.

So now that I'm home, I can more easily organize my shopping, cooking, and preparation so that we have dinner on the table every night.  I am able to keep up on my cleaning.  I am able to keep up on my garden.  I had to give up my gym membership, but I have found that I am actually losing weight because I am not spending 15 hours a week with my butt in a chair......and then plopping down when I get home because I'm so mentally exhausted from the boredom.  I feel like I found a new reserve of energy somewhere.  And I found I don't really need that gym membership after all.  Cleaning, gardening, home projects, and walking Maggie to school is all the exercise I need!

In short, I'm doing okay.  I am angry at the people I worked with for treating me like a number rather than a human being.  But I am mostly over it, and I believe they actually did me a favor.  I am happier and less stressed, even with the cut in pay.  I have time to be more creative in coming up with solutions like thrifting and cooking.  Heck now I can make 5 meals from one chicken!  Now that is an accomplishment.


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