Monday, October 3, 2016

(no) comfort zone

Comfort zones are an illusion. Any previous sense of stability, certainty and regularity is gone.  Was that even the truth? Were we stable? We were comfortable - or maybe just complacent.  I was probably kidding myself about being frugal.  It was a nice thing to imagine, that I was frugal.  But my grocery spending for the family had crept up to $1200 a month. (more sometimes).  

For years we've talked about taking a risk - doing something different.  Now we have been dropped into a life that appears heavily weighted toward risk. But neither of us knows what to do.  The first reaction is to quickly fill the void in salary - but what if that simply distracts us from the possibility to move out beyond our perceived comfort zone?  If we just attempt to go back to life as usual, we may miss the potential that this shockwave may offer.

i don't like feeling afraid; yet, I also don't want to waste an opportunity to make something happen.  Right now this situation still feels like we imagined it. I'm mostly afraid of what this will mean when we've gone past a pay cycle or two. For now we have utility bills rolling in and the pantry supply is looking light.  I feel more cautious about spending than I have in a very long time.  

In recent months I had challenged myself to keep the food category at $1000.  Today, when I look at that amount as a percentage of what we have in our total funds, it seems ridiculously high.  I have much to process through and re-learn.  Now there are only four of us living at home.  It should make this grocery game even easier - but Caleb moved out a month ago, and I still spent $1100 on food in September.  This is not a drill.  I have to get my skills sharp in a hurry. 

When I look at internet lists of frugal foods or suggestions for eating on $1 per meal, I find that I typically buy most of these cheap eats.  What else have we been accustomed to that has driven our grocery spending so high?  My standard guidelines are: no meat, very little dairy, mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. 
I've rationalized that we are athletes and we require more food. 

I'm going to comb back through any grocery receipts I can find to see where my excesses may be.  It has frequently grated on me that I spend more on food than on my mortgage.  How can this be right!? What if we simply worked our way down to that cost level?  Now that we are back to being a four-person household, that would put our budget at $2 per person, per meal. 

I'm not excited about this challenge.  

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