Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frugal living or not - two sides of the coin

I came across a website the other day that challenged everyone to eat on $1.50 per day for five days -

So I gave it a shot.  You can see how I did on a thread at the Simple Living Forum -

Kara (Treehugger on the Simple Living forum) commented on that thread that she budgets $100 a month for both her and her husband.  Wow.  That's $1.66 each per day.  Every day!  She doesn't have chickens, and it sounded like she didn't get much from the garden this year. She explains how she does it on the thread. And I thought I was doing pretty good by staying under $250 a month for the two of us, with a goal of $200 a month. I think she's my new hero.

You might think that $1.66 per person, per day is easily attainable.  What surprised me in the $1.50 challenge was how much all the extras added to the total - things like butter, sugar, seasonings, even tea, coffee or a glass of milk.  It wouldn't be much different in the $100 a month budget, either.

Now then, the flip side.  Some people we know dropped by the other day.  She's definitely not into the frugal living/make-it-from-scratch lifestyle.  Look in her refrigerator and you'll see a wave of take out containers AKA doggy bags, most of them with food that's not exactly edible.  Once in a while she throws it all away and starts over.  I always thought it was kind of comical and I'd tease her about it.

So the conversation was about the guy applying for a better paying job.  I said that my goal was to live well on less than $1000 a month. (A moment of silence - then lots of laughing and 'good luck with that' with some 'you poor dear' insinuated.)  They said that they need $7500 a month to live!  I didn't know my jaw could drop that far.  They don't live in a McMansion and have talked about financial problems in the past, so I know they have a boatload of debt.  What's scary is that they're 65-ish, so time isn't on their side any more.

So she's sitting there eating some of my homemade yogurt, almost yelling in her best 'holier than thou' tone:
I WANT to take my credit card to the store to buy what I want,
I WANT to use my credit card when ever I want, etc.

Me: *blink blink* (thanks, OFG).  I didn't say much but I was thinking that I kinda didn't like her any more.

It's all about choices.  Personally, I'd rather not have the pressure and I don't want Bill to have to work forever.  So my choice is to stay on the frugal side of life, challenge myself to lower the grocery bill each month without having to buy Beano (can I get it to $50 per person??) and pay off debt.  And of course - to enjoy the journey along the way!

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