What I would keep

I’ve thought a lot about what I would change if I was making more money or if I won the lottery, the things I would immediately go back to doing, the ways that I would allocate and spend the extra cash. But today on my run, I thought about what I would keep from this crazy experiment in frugality called my life.

The first thing that came to mind is that I would not go back to salon haircuts, at least not right away. I still really want to try cutting my own hair. In fact, the only reason that I haven’t yet is that there are other purchases that need to come before hair shears. But it’s on the list.

One thing that has surprised me over the last few months is how easy it has been to give up eating out except for once a month or so. In the past, I think Boyfriend and I sometimes ate out because we were bored or we didn’t have any better ideas for how to spend time together. So whenever my paycheck eventually increases, I don’t think I’ll go back to regular meals out or takeout pizza.

I’ve also switched to the cheapest grocery stores, even though I have to drive to them (horrors!) because the Vons across the street seems like a rip off now that I know about these other places. And I’ll probably stick with my cheapo grocery stores because the prices make it worth the extra effort, even though Vons is outrageously convenient.

And I’d keep being a nut about my car. It’s sitting on empty again, and I’m playing the old “when will the light come on?” game. I have hopes that I can get through Friday without buying gas. I biked to work yesterday, and I’m walking today since I’ll get off way after dark and I don’t have any bike lights, so all I have to do is survive a little driving tomorrow and then I’m in the clear through the weekend. I know that this is probably a dumb way to handle gas, since it forces me to buy gas as soon as I think I can’t drive any further regardless of the price at the pump, but it also encourages me to drive less, to consider whether a trip can wait or if I can incorporate several trips at once. And it’s fun to see how long I can go without succumbing. I bought gas on November 1st. If I can make it through tomorrow, I will have made it through half the month on one tank.

It’s easy to think of the things that I would want to buy (clothes! meals! bike lights! insurance!) but it’s much more important to remember that I’ve gotten my spending to under a thousand bucks right now and I don’t want to see it creep back up whenever my income increases again, which it will. One day, it will.

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