April 21, 2010
Other People Spending My Money
When downsizing occurs in the family budget and when you start to live frugally, sooner or later you will be faced with some "social" problems as I am going to call it.
Our DS is in a church youth group. At the weekly youth group meetings a meal is provided. Our turn is this week and we have two other parents helping.
I received a call Monday night from one of the parents who said that she wanted to do this "easy" which meant ordering pizza. For the number of kids that would mean around 12 pizzas at $10.00 each. Each of us is to provide some cookies and chips also. By the time all is said and done the pizza alone split three ways will come close to $40.00 each.
I told this mom that pizza sounded expensive as I am not working. I asked if we could do something else and she said that she wanted to do pizza and she had talked with the other mom and she was in agreement. Both work and live in two income households. She didn't understand my situation.
It became quite clear to me that neither of these moms understood what it is like to not have an extra $40.00 in the budget for pizza. This is the type of dilemma that I have faced since our household income was reduced.
My solution was Sloppy Joes. Supper for the youth group is served at 6:30. Both of the moms get off work at 5:00 so this would have been quite doable. Sloppy Joes could be put in the crockpot and simmered for the afternoon. I was willing to make the Sloppy Joes.
When I am backed against a wall and it is two against one, I give in. I didn't want to make a big issue out of this, but one side of me was very upset. The other side of me tried to put myself in their place.
For people that live in two income households and have not been affected by the downturn of the economy, they do not understand what it is like to lose your job and live on less. They do not understand the daily decisions I make to live within my income guidelines and the need to refrain from spending money. When this happens I refer to it as "other people spending my money" because in my mind that is what it is. Other people putting me in the position of having to spend money I do not want to spend.
When you chose the frugal lifestyle you open yourself up to criticism. What I chose to do with that criticism is up to me. Yes, I have been called frugal and cheap - not in a good way - by others. But then again I am the one at home full time not having to hassle with working a job away from home. Laugh all you want but I am happy being home and it is worth the trade offs.
I will move some things around in our budget and the money will be there for the pizza and I will call the youth group leader and ask to be put with some stay at home moms the next time we need to provide a meal.
What have I learned from this? People either understand or they don't understand. When they don't understand and I am put into a corner, I have to let my feelings go, forgive these people, buy the pizza and move on. It's not worth spending time fretting over it.