Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer of Subsistence

I find this hysterically funny: my sister and her family have a cat that, for the most part, stays inside. On Thursday he got out and went missing. Last night at about 9 pm, he turned up at the back door, and when let in made a beeline for...his litter box. Apparently the cat has not yet figured out that the world is just one big litter box for him.

In other news...I spent this morning driving up to Kittery to deposit my paycheck, since the direct deposit hasn't kicked in yet. Grrr. It's not a bad drive, just over an hour, but I hit pockets of angry rain, thunder and lightening which are never pleasant to drive in. I spent the drive thinking about consumerism, which has been on my mind lately, in part fueled by a month between paychecks, a vacation payout that was decimated by taxes, and a post here (warning: knitting blog!) where the author has made a pledge to not buy anything "unnecessary" until the end of the year. It's giving me pause to evaluate my own spending habits, something Wall Street would prefer we all not do at the moment, but when those of us who own cars that get 40 mpg freak out over gas prices Something Must Give.

I actually cut waaaaay back on spending when I moved to NYC, partly because it's an expensive place to live and partly because you can pretty much forget buying clothes there if you are above a size 6. I also, somehow, managed to stop buying stuff like makeup and lotion, which is sort of miraculous given that there is a Sephora practically every few blocks (Sephora, how I love thee...). I did continue my book habit, but for the most part bought them at The Strand, so instead of getting 2 books for $30 I got 4. This habit could be close to cured with a library card.

Yarn...well. I did buy some yarn. Insanely nice yarn which at $20 a skein probably added up. But...most of that has been or will be turned into gifts for people (whether they like it or not...I'm not sure how thrilled my mother was to receive socks for Mother's Day...). I have just the right amount of yarn now, at least for me: several skeins of sock yarn that will keep me busy, plus yarn to make a blanket for one of my nieces, and then a few random skeins that could be scarves or hats. So, I could easily put my yarn buying on hold for a few months.

The only other thing I really spend money on is food. I'm working on that one, which is hard because I gravitate towards organic stuff that costs more. I have started bringing my lunch to work, although I'm on the fence about whether this really is cheaper. I need to experiment more on this one.

At any rate, I think I may try not buying non-essentials for the summer. This is obviously going to be slightly arguable - I'm not going to quibble over whether I really need Newman's Own chocolate alphabet cookies. And I will buy stuff if it needs to be replaced (like new tights) or runs out (like camera batteries, which is why my photo project stopped short). So "need" might be a bit loosely interpreted. I'll make a list of the things that I want, and if I still want them at the end of the summer then I'll buy them. Given my loathing of delayed gratification, I suspect this experiment will last about 10 minutes, but I suppose I haven't got a whole lot to lose.

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