Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More on economy

I've been making an extremely concerted effort for - well, for quite a while now - to be extra-frugal. No eating meals out, no random shopping, no mail-ordering stuff.

Part of this is just uncertainty - I have a very bad feeling that something's going to happen so that those of us in the middle class will get screwed on next year's taxes, and I need to have money saved up to pay them. But part of it is I've made the decision not to teach next summer, so I need to be sure to have at least 2 month's worth of expenses (including travel expenses, if I go to meetings) covered.

And you know what? It sucks. I mean, I was frugal before - I carried my little lunch over to school, I didn't get take-out, didn't do the floofy coffee drinks, didn't buy new purses or shoes unless the ones I was using had worn out.

But I wasn't really aware before of how often I ordered books off of Amazon, or mail-ordered craft supplies. And while it's good to work down on what I have built up, I have to admit it's disappointing to come home each day and KNOW there will be nothing fun in the mail for me; that except for the infrequent magazines, there are only bills and junk mail and solicitations from charities.

Many days, I get my mail, sort it as I walk in the door, and immediately dump all of it in the trash. (My friends and family, by and large, are poor correspondents; many of them can't even seem to be arsed to e-mail unless they have a question or a request).

(I've also been trashing the catalogs immediately they come, so I'm not tempted to order anything from them).

I've also gone over again to a more vegetarian-like diet, partly to save money but partly because the one good place that sold meat close to me closed up. And so, I can get the horrible, shot-up-with-phosphate solution crap the local wal-mart sells. (If your wal-mart sells good meat, count yourself lucky). Or I can drive for a better shot at meat, except the last few things I bought at the Kroger's in the next largest town were not that good.

And I suspect I may be bordering on anemia. Or just not getting enough of the right kind of protein. And that adds to my distress.

Teaching a 15-hour (or 14, depending on how you do the accounting) course load doesn't help. I'm tired all the time and always pressed to get stuff done.

So when the news trumpets "Recession is over!" and I'm still feeling misery on various fronts, it makes me roll my eyes and say, "pull the other one, it's got bells on."

I probably should break down at some point and mail order something. Just something small. Just so I can feel like someday I will come home and not have a mailbox full of stuff I don't want.

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