Don't worry, we're not really deprived. No, not at all.
So I'm reading my first Wallace Stegner ever and I love it already. In chapter two, the husband is narrating their early married life in the Great Depression and he says, "With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation becomes a game."
These words really caught my attention because the night before reading that, my dear husband suggested that we not eat out this weekend (we traditionally eat out once each week). He further suggested that we not go to the grocery store this week. I agreed to both suggestions. We have plenty of food to eat in our pantry.
Yesterday was a coworker's birthday celebration, so another coworker volunteered to phone in a lunch order and run to pick it up. I abstained from doing this for coworkers' birthdays last year, and once again, I abstained yesterday, especially since my husband suggested we not eat out this weekend. Husband encouraged me to go ahead and order, but I just stuck to my usual school cafeteria lunch which is really a bargain at $3. Three dollars is less than a salad at Cafe Rio, for sure. Plus it saves me time from packing a home lunch in the morning. Someday perhaps I'll get to the point where I pack my home lunch daily.
The thing I find interesting about this is that we are DEBT FREE and LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS!!! And yet, we still feel the pinch. We are both employed, though my husband is under-employed. He works two jobs and I work one. We have health insurance. We are so blessed. We have no children. No car payment. No loans. No credit card bills. And yet...I abstain from ordering a Cafe Rio salad so we can make it to the end of the month. We have savings!
Are we saving too much? Putting away too much for retirement? No. I don't think so. Are we unwise with our spending? No...but perhaps an outsider could point fingers at us. Another baby shower this week and another five bucks donated to the "group gift." I feel fine about that five bucks. The temple is free, we have an annual pass to National Parks and the local canyon. I go to the library instead of the bookstore. Yes, we did recently hire a photographer, but only once every five years do we get "real family pictures." So, you see, it's a game. Everyone plays differently. We each have our own style. And for us right now, it's a bit of a pinch as we inch toward payday.
We "deprived" ourselves of our annual Fall Break Trip and yet our little day trip on the Pony Express Trail ended up costing us two new tires. Is that why we're not going to the grocery store this week?
We certainly have more to learn about this "game" of Deprivation! Sometimes it's tempting to wonder how other people do it. Where do they get all that money to buy all those clothes? Where do they get the time to shop for all those clothes? What am I doing with all of my time? Blogging too much? Am I reading too many books? Do I attend too many scout meetings? Am I spending too much time with my husband? Big fat NO on that one (we've only lived together for about half of our marriage)!
I just hope I'm "the right wife" and that this game of deprivation will continue to be something we can work on together. Thank heavens for cans of beans and tomatoes!
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