I hate spending money on things I can’t see. Let me take a moment and explain what I mean by “things I can’t see.” This list would include things like utilities (gas, electric, water), cable TV and frequent trips to restaurants. Now, before you begin thinking that Junior and I live in a cave with no heat, A/C or running water, and we hunt and gather our food as we listen to a transistor radio, let me clarify even more.
We live in a ranch-style home complete with a working furnace and air conditioner, and water does run freely through our pipes. We do occasionally dine out at our favorite haunts, and in the evenings we switch on one of our analog TVs and watch our favorite shows. However, we also practice several conservation habits, which enable us to keep costs down. During the winter months, I keep the thermostat at 67 degrees or below. We sleep in fleece PJ’s in flannel sheeted beds, which helps us to utilize our own body heat when the temps in the house dip to about 61 degrees. In the summer, nearly every room has either an oscillating or ceiling fan to help circulate air and keep the house cooler. We also turn off lights in rooms that are not in use and our fixtures are outfitted with those new compact fluorescent bulbs. We attempt to conserve water by using low-flow shower heads and limiting bathing times. We also only run the dish and clothes washers when the loads are full. These household conservation measures help with two issues. (The old two birds, one stone analogy.) They help us conserve the earth’s precious resources, thus “greening up” our home, and I am able to keep money in my pocket/checkbook/savings account.
Junior and I dine out only once or twice a month. This practice also helps to keep money that I can see and touch in my wallet, and enables me to maintain my “fighting weight.” (This has become increasingly difficult to achieve as my metabolism continues to decrease with the increasing number of candles on my birthday cake. Eating out is a special treat where I can indulge myself for that one meal and then get back on track eating healthfully within my minuscule calorie allotment.) All of this extra cashola enables me to purchase items that I can see, such as new appliances, furniture or knick-knacks for the home, or cute shoes and clothes for my closet.
Oh, and don’t let me forget about that great invention, the television. I recently mentioned to a male neighbor that we do not have cable or satellite TV. (I refuse to pay to watch the boob tube.) His face looked aghast as he commented to my son, “Not even ESPN?” I am not sure what kind of reaction he might have had if I had shared with him that on more than one occasion, I have considered removing ALL of the TVs from our home. I just may have needed my CPR skills in order to revive him.