Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Frugal Fatigue

In 2009 my company implemented a 10% pay cut for all employees. That's when it started. Immediately, I looked at my expenses and realized I wouldn't be able to make my car payment anymore. No way, no how. Fortunately, I was up against tax refund time. Unfortunately, I had to plunge my entire tax refund into my car so my family could continue to have transportation.
I hacked services off of the cell bill, cancelled netflix, downgraded my internet connection, etc., etc. When we needed a 2 bedroom apartment I found one for the same price as our 1 bedroom. It was full of roaches and managed by a woman who fixed nothing and stole our deposit and first month's rent.
We had to move, and our current apartment is wonderful--but $75/mo more expensive. We squeak by. I have instituted new money-saving strategies such as not buying any item at the grocery store more than $2.50 unless it is an ingredient in a meal to be cooked at home. I have invested in fluorescent lights and taken the further step of reducing 4-bulb fixtures to 2 bulbs. I go over the details in my bills like a hawk. My cell phone contract is up in November, and I will be cancelling my service, leaving my wife's cell phone as our only phone--we don't have a landline.
And yes, we are signed up for the low-income discount with the electric company, and I receive advance EIC credit in my paycheck.
Even with these, we barely get by. I would cancel my health insurance from my employer and just leave my wife on there if I thought she would let me get away with it. I don't know what else to cut. I am tired of racking my brain month after month for another way to free up more money. I am tired of having to keep hawk eyes on my bank account so we don't overdraw because we live paycheck to paycheck.
I don't even have any debt to pay on, I am completely debt free! All of this money is going for month-to-month bills.
I have "frugal fatigue."

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