Home > My Biggest Struggles

My Biggest Struggles

June 22nd, 2006 at 01:36 pm

On a daily basis, my biggest struggle is keeping my food expenses down. I'd like to think that as a single person, I could spend $50/week on groceries, but I routinely spend twice that, and my eating out expenses sometimes spike up to $150 in a month. Usually this is when I'm busiest, so instead of the dining out money going to nice restaurants I enjoy, it's going to sub shops and fast food joints where I can have someone else cook for me when I'm too tired to do it for myself.

On the more global level, there are two challenges I struggle with. The first is to develop a more steady income stream for myself. Things have been going well the past few years, but a year from now, a long-term contract I've had will expire, and I'll be struggling with income again.

The second challenge is to learn to do more things myself rather than to throw money at the problem. This is particularly true when it comes to any type of physical or mechanical work. Not only do I find this type of work distasteful, but I have no confidence in myself and my abilities. Case in point: yesterday, I "accidentally" turned my thermostat higher when I meant to turn it lower (left-right dyslexia kicking in?). A couple of hours later I feel the radiators blasting heat and go down to the basement to find the furnace chugging away. Instant panic attack!!! I had no inkling that this was connected to the thermostat turn I'd made earlier, but thank heavens my boyfriend was at home and he suggested checking the thermostat first thing. If he hadn't been there to suggest it, I would have called a repair person and had a major expense because I was terrified that the furnace was about to explode and I have no idea how to turn the thing off by myself. As it was, I ended up calling the gas company and spending $99 for an annual service contract so that any future "emergencies" will be covered.

Is that stupid or what? I know it is, but when I get panicky, all concern about money goes out the window and getting the problem solved becomes first priority.

4 Responses to “My Biggest Struggles”

  1. annab Says:

    Maybe take a look at what you buy each month (groceries) and look at one item that you get, but don't get a lot of value from it. Like for me, it was mini-cartons of orange juice. It was cheaper to get some tupperware cups and bring juice in them. But it wasn't cheaper to buy regular carrots instead of baby-carrots, because I'd never take the time to wash/peel the big ones, so they went to waste. Now I buy a lot of juice in 1/2 gallons on sale and freeze the extras, and it saves about 7.00/month on groceries. I made a couple of posts about this (do a search in my blog for "Tupperware".)

    I think you may be like me -- sometimes little steps achieve what big steps can't manage.

    Good luck! Smile

  2. fern Says:

    Maybe you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the very basic mechanics of your home, like the furnace, major appliances, where is the shut off valve for water/furnace/electric, etc., so that when something happens, you know what to do. There are plenty of books on stuff like this or you can simply collect your owners' manuals for all of the above and review troubleshooting tips, perhaps tag the shutoff valve and son.

    If you call a repairman in panic mode, they'll be more tempted to gouge you.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    Borrow some books on once a month cooking or investment cooking from the library. They will show you how to prepare enough meals in one day to have in your freezer so you won't have to go out to eat so much. Just grab a container, thaw and nuke. Most of these books have a one week plan, a two week plan and a one month plan.

  4. Dido Says:

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I'll have to look into that "investment cooking" idea more--I browsed a little. The "cooking all at once" seems daunting but the idea of cooking a double recipe and gradually building up a stockpile appeals.

    I do have all the manuals and I'll definitely have to make some time to review them this summer. I was shown all the turnoffs and such when I moved in so I know where they are but actually doing it (for the furnace anyway--I know I can turn off the water and electricity) is a bit daunting. Now that I have the service contract I'll have someone come in to clean & inspect the furnace this fall and will have him give me a lesson rather than just pointing at the valve! Good point about not sounding panicky when one calls the repairman!

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