Although we live a basic, frugal lifestyle, finding ways to cut back further still is never easy. I mean, in some ways it is; only use one car, combine errands, stay out of the coffee shops, eat every meal at/from home, and so on. I can make a lovely list of ways to not spend money, but walking them out and feeling the pinch is on a completely different level. Every not is accompanied by a bit of loss.
Especially right now. We have no idea how long the job search will take, or if we'll find a replacement that matches the income we lost. So, #frugaltillwhenever has an impact on your psyche. Every time you check off an item on the not list, there is that little twinge of deprivation. It was different when we were buckling down and living lean to get out of debt. We had a clear goal, with trackable progress. This just feels like a gaping hole.
I want to tell my kids, 'it'll be okay, we have money in the bank' and know that it's true. It is true. We will be okay. I'm just not sure what this version of okay is going to look like. How much of a hit is our savings buffer going to take? Will it hold out for the unknown amount of time we have to fix the hole?
When your economziing takes the shape of 'not doing things' it's hard to feel satisfied. My impulse is to take action, and do something to fix the problem. This 'list of nots' seems like a backward approach to dealing with our situation. It reminds me of weight loss plans that only utilize calorie restriction. What a sure fire way to make you fixate on what you cannot have! Same with the list of nots.
Up till last Sunday, our need to be frugal was still mostly academic - by Monday morning it moved up to a intensive practicum. We had built the habit of being cautious with our money - but now we have to be careful. deliberate. focused.