Leverage this

March 2, 2009 at 5:16 am (Uncategorized)

With the economy in, it must be said, the crapper, many people are paring down.  Even though we’re doing okay so far, knock wood, I’m still thinking of ways to cut back.  It just feels like the right thing to do, like the appropriate response to circumstances that are frankly, scary.  I’m already a coupon clipper, see previous post about Dad, but it would be good to actually use more of the clipped coupons, as opposed to doling them out like  special treats for the recycling pile.  My husband and I are talking about other ways to save too: canceling Netflix, getting rid of HBO, getting rid of our cleaning service.  Probably the amount we’d spend in marital counseling if we got rid of that stuff would exceed what we spend on the above, so unless the situation becomes dire we’ll hang on to those luxuries, but we’re really performing an accounting, examining our financial lives and prioritizing how we spend our money.

It struck me during mass this morning that Lent is a little bit like that.  (Today being the first Sunday of the month, my church had what would ordinarily be coffee and doughnuts after mass, but because it’s Lent, became coffee and pretzels…which kind of cracked me up.)  Anyway, you scale back, you pare down, you strip away.  It happens on every level, from the actual forms used at mass (no more alleluias until Easter!, hello penitential rite…) to the prescribed ways we deny ourselves (no meat on Fridays…not really a hardship with the quantity and quality of fish fries in Milwaukee…) to the extra sacrifices we try to make (if I could just emulate the glee with which my kids take money from their piggy banks and put it in the Habitat for Humanity box…)

And what are you left with when you pare down to the essentials?  Well, um, the essentials.  As it turns out, it’s a pretty good idea to take a look at the books every once in a while.  Saves trouble later.



  1. New Mama said,

    Well, we just subscribed to Netflix a few months ago for the first time, we don’t have cable TV, and I would give a kidney for a cleaning service (well, not really, since the thought of cleaning up for the cleaning service is enough to give me a nervous breakdown). We’re pretty scaled back by necessity. And although I find this economy terrifying, absolutely terrifying, the *one* nice thing is seeing people scaling back and trying to be less wasteful.

    • batsinthebelfry said,

      We just got cable this past fall after many, many years without it. And once we’d gotten cable, it was an easy slide down that infamous slope to get HBO too. We started with the cleaning service when I was working part-time at the court and kind of got into the habit. I honestly think, no, I know, that having the cleaning service improves my marriage.

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