Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snapshots from the New Middle Class

I wheeled LB over to daycare in 9 degree weather.  She stays pretty warm wearing snowpants, coat, hat (no gloves, of course), and a blanket in her plastic bubble.  By the time we get home, my hands are so cold that I have trouble with the buckles on the stroller.  These are the days when it would be nice to have a car, but at least we have a fancy stroller.

I called in LB's expensive prescription, even though my insurance status is uncertain, held my breathe until $10.00 popped up on the cash register screen, and hustled out the store before they could change their minds.  We're very lucky that LB's $300/month (generic) lung meds wouldn't break us, but that's a lot of money that wouldn't be putting towards food or heat or daycare or student loans.

We keep the cozy house at about 60 degrees.  Gas heat last month at that temp cost us a little less than $200.  We've plastic-ed all of the upstairs windows and many of the downstairs ones.  Yesterday I baked cookies to get a little warmer, but today I've turned on a space heater, just until my feet get warm.    B got me a nice warm pair of slipper for Christmas, and we got LB a fleece sleepsack (with feet).  LB sleeps in a onesie, socks, fleece sleeper, fleece sleep sack, two fleecy blankets, and a flannel quilt.

B and I both really enjoy food.  We try to be reasonably frugal, but we would have to be in desperate straits to do a steady "food is fuel" lentils and rice diet.  So far this week we have had the following (homemade unless otherwise noted)

Saturday: Tortilla soup with chicken (I had a random craving for this soup and it was really good)
Sunday: Burgers on the grill and chips (we had friends over for football)
Monday: Red lentil soup (with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, and hot pepper stirred in a the end)
Tuesday: Mashed potatoes, kale, and bacon (we got 10lbs of potatoes on sale)
Wednesday: Cheesy rice and pepper casserole served with kale
                    (the only unhealthy recipe in the World Vegetarian cookbook)
Today: Chicken soup of some kind

Treats: chocolate birthday cake, oatmeal cookies
Lunches: leftovers, oranges and grapefruit, yogurt, cheese, pretzels

Clearly we aren't suffering, but oh the things I would buy if money was no object-fancy cheese! veggie sausage! meat sausage and sauerkraut! ice cream! bakery bread! Aside from LB's medicine, which she really does need to keep her lungs strong, I guess all of the frugalities above are either saving the environment or our bodies, but I'm still waiting for the day when I can go to the fancy cheese store and buy one of everything.


  1. This winter is killing me because it's the first winter since we've paid for our heat that we are actually using the heat higher than a-little-more-than-enough-to-keep-the-pipes-from-freezing. All for the baby.

    Food is one of our money-saving weaknesses, too.

  2. That first winter is rough! We brought a preemie home in Jan. and we were living in a drafty rowhouse, where we had to buy our own oil for the furnace that was so old that it had been converted from wood/coal to oil. Good times. Now that LB is a toddler, she seems unbothered by the cool temps in the house, so hopefully next winter you can turn the heat back down.

  3. Yep. Groceries. We'd gone three weeks without buying groceries - using up the stocks in the freezer/basement - when that outrageous oil bill came through. Just when I was feeling so proud about not using our credit card for so long, I had to use it to make a trip to the grocery store. But no fancy cheese for us either - cheese itself seems to be a luxury these days! We'll survive. Now we just need this cold snap to let up!!