A year ago I got a new job. It was a fine job as far as jobs go, but it wasn’t really a fit for me for myriad reasons that I’m not really going to go into here. But the point is that I needed to get a cell phone for the job. I left the job 5 months later in October. But the damn cell phone contract wasn’t up until this week.
So what did I do? That’s right. I did it. I got rid of my cell phone. I get sick of being so accessible anyway. Besides, I like checking my messages when I get home from somewhere. It’s as fun for me as crossing something off my to-do list, or checking the mail. But I haven’t been able to do much of that for the last year. Nobody leaves a message on the home phone anymore. Damn cell phones anyway.
To be honest, I did really get used to having a cell phone. And I caught several cute pictures of the boys at times when I didn’t have my camera. I even started texting friends ( a – v – e – r – y s – l – o – w p – r – o – c- e – s – s.) And I have to admit, it’s the only direct line of communication I have with the President of the United States. He texts me almost every month. I didn’t just get rid of the phone because the contract was up. Truth is, we’re tightening our proverbial belts. Kim didn’t finish her dissertation yet. Let’s be brutally honest here, Kim hasn’t even finished her proposal yet, so there’s at least another year of school ahead of us. Kim’s scholarship runs out next month, debt is accumulating, scholarship money dwindling, the boys are growing, eating more, costing more. So we sat down with our numbers and actually put ourselves on a budget. No more cell phone. No more cable TV. No more gym membership. No more full coverage insurance on our car. In fact, does anybody want to buy a beautiful but past her prime Saturn named Lucy. She’s dependable, reliable, and for sale. Hello public transportation. We’re still keeping Ruby the Suby. No more Costco membership. No more AAA. No more organic cotton non-bleached tampons. No more Winder dairy. No more organic fruits and vegetables. No new school clothes. No eating out (honestly we rarely do except for the occasional Red Iguana which makes me drool just thinking about it.) No more life insurance. No school portraits (and you all know how I feel about pictures.) No bottles of wine. Fewer bottles of beer. Kim can’t get by without internet, but slower internet never hurt anyone. We even got rid of the USA Network and while part of me wonders how I’ll do without Monk and Psych, another part of me knows that I survived 33 years without them. And since I got rid of Showtime too, please watch the United States of Tara diligently for me, each Sunday, and feel free to send me weekly updates on her therapy. Seriously, we were able to trim $600 a month off our budget just by being intentional and taking a look at all the things we have gotten so accustomed to having – but we really don’t need.
I don’t think we were worse than any other person on our spending. But I do think we’re better than the average American now after taking a look. Guess what else we did. I feel my anxiety rising even as I say this, but we cut up 3 credit cards. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. We kept one just so we wouldn’t have additional medical expenses related to my anxiety. Anyway, it’s refreshing to cut back and I’m excited about our upcoming evenings outside, riding bikes and gardening anyway. Who needs TV? I’m not sure why I’m detailing my budget to internet land, but I do know that my post today has a homework assignment attached. No, I don’t expect each of you to go thru the same budgeting process. But I do ask for this one little thing:
If you’re reading this, will you please call this number (801) 661-5650 and ask for me. Thanks. It’s just a little something I think we should all pass on to the new owner of my cell phone number. See, people called me and asked for Edward for months (actually the calls haven’t stopped yet, though they have dwindled.) and I figured he was the most popular man with a number of good friends. Maybe someone could think that of me. Or if you really want to continue the tradition, you could call and ask for Edward. Give it a day or two though, I want to be sure the number’s reassigned. Thanks.