Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What can I do without?

The economic downturn has created a situation that I really didn’t want to have to face – ever. Just a little over a year ago we bragged to ourselves how comfortable we felt financially. And, now, it feels like we’re walking on eggshells. Yes, both of us are still working – that’s the good part. So we don’t have to use our dwindling IRAs to eat. At least not yet. But, who knows how long we’ll have viable jobs or be able to keep our jobs because of our age?

This year Bob, who has always earned way more than I, will earn less. Next year appears to be better for him – his consulting expertise still seems to be in high demand. That gives us room to breathe. And, it also looks like I’m secure in my job as well – I hate putting those words down on paper. What I’ve experienced lately is that things change very fast. So, the economic climate at my company could change just like that too.

What we need to do right now is think of ways to cut down on our spending and concentrate mightily on saving the majority of what we earn. And, hopefully (and yes, I know, hope is not a plan) by next year at this time we’ll have both a built up savings account and a reinvigorated IRA balance.

I’ve written down a few things here that I can do without. However, this list seems like tokenism. I really haven’t gone very far beyond very trivial things. It will have to do for now, while I keep thinking about other ways I can save.

Clearly I am spoiled. I still want my cleaning lady and my gardeners, and my facials and massages and manicures and hair dresser and my gym and Pilates instructor. I haven’t put them on the to-go list yet although I have considered limiting the amount of time I use their services.

Here’s what I have put down on my list of things I can do without -- for now:

Shopping at Maxmara
Shopping PERIOD
Eating out more than once a week
Drinking wine every day
Shopping at Bristol Farms – except for fresh fish
Professional eyebrow plucking
Hair color

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