I'm back to clipping coupons.
Haven't done that in years. Once I became "highly compensated," I stopped clipping coupons. I'd go shopping if I was bored and would buy myself something, just because I could. I had no qualms about going out for an expensive outing or dinner. I spent money because, at the time, the steady income made me feel very financially secure. It was a wonderfully, liberating feeling.
Now, I clip coupons. I went out to lunch the other day and chose a less expensive entree than the one I really wanted (chicken marsala for $20.00 or chicken/ham calzone for $10.00 -- the difference was too extreme to ignore).
The problem with the coupon thing is that outside of cleaning products and some health/beauty products, the coupons are not for things that I want to buy. I like the unique things at Trader Joe's, Roche Brothers, and Whole Foods. Typically, there are no coupons for the things I buy.
But, I'm clipping and saving them when I find ones that I will actually use.
Maybe this is all for the good. I really did waste a lot of money on stuff I didn't really need. On the other hand, it really felt great to be able to afford all sorts of nice art work, to not worry about the cost of most things. I wonder if I'll get back to that place and if I do, how will I handle it?
Right now, I seem to be holding my own, financially. Although, every month seems to arrive with some large payment. This month, auto insurance. Next month, taxes (yes, I'll have to pay because of the extra consulting work I did last year as a 1099 consultant). I have not had to touch the emergency fund yet, and have not had to seriously deplete the checking account. My income and outgo were reasonably balanced during this last month, In fact, I'm a little ahead right now. But that's because I have unemployment income *and* severance. That will change next month when I'm relying on the income for my contract job, which is a significant pay cut from what I was earning.
What is keeping me going right now is to remind myself of a friend who was in a similar situation several years ago. She was stuck in a lower-paying contract job for a year or so. She's now in a very good, secure job that pays very, very well. So, I tell myself that if she could survive that situation, so can I.