Back in May of 2013, I undertook a “no groceries challenge” for myself. Borne of necessity (I had almost no money), I found adding the element of choice into my situation was empowering. Since then, I’ve done the challenge a few times (clicking this link brings you to all of the “no groceries” posts). The last couple challenges were on the milquetoast side of the scale and just kind of fizzled out. I wasn’t really committed. I also wasn’t really scared.
A couple months ago, I backed my car into a telephone pole. I wiped out a big chunk of my savings. I wrote about it in my Bangor Daily News column.
Last month, a client for my business made the decision to shut their doors. As their grant writer, this means I was suddenly not needed. There’s work for me in the next few months, but nothing close to what I’ve depended on for more than 10 years. I’ve picked up good new clients, but my current clients pay as I invoice, due within 30 days. (The client I’ve worked with for a decade always paid immediately, just because they wanted to.) That means cash flow isn’t as liquid.
Last week, I found myself transferring balances from my various savings accounts—I’ve been working on having a long-term “major” savings, a short-term “emergencies” account, and, eventually, a summer savings—to bring both my work and my personal accounts back up from double digit balances.
I still have about $1,000 in savings. For many people, this is a lot. For many, it’s not much at all. For me, it’s somewhere in between. It’s not enough that I feel comfortable or steady. It’s more than I was used to having until relatively recently. Last week I had to consider dipping even farther into it — would this bill come due before the (generous) child support came through? In this case, things worked out. At least temporarily.
I mention the specific dollar amounts because I think people are too afraid to talk about the reality of money. Money can be so complicated an issue, and all of our experiences skew our interpretations.
The point of this post is simply to say I’m going to look at the refrigerator, freezer(s), and pantry, make a trip to the super market, and embark on yet another “no groceries” challenge. It should be a little less challenging now that the garden is starting to produce a bit—August will be even better.