Cutting down on spending takes on a whole new meaning when you already gave up on shopping trips, nights out to dinner, weekend getaways, and impulse buys when you first moved out of your parents house. Like most millennials, I’m already working far more than most baby boomers assume I am, and the overtime well at work just ran dry. So when my boyfriend and I decided to take the next step in securing our future and buy a house, we decided that some things just had to go.
Sadly, neither of us are big spenders as it is. We’ve had some good buys and fun nights out over our relationship, but between our natural inclination to be homebodies and our lower middle class salaries, cutting out spending turned into cutting out essentials.
I walked into the grocery store with two twenty dollar bills. My goal was to get enough food to last me the next two weeks. To some of you, this is a common goal. To me, it was a short term challenge. I knew that, soon after purchasing our home, our finances would level out again and I would be back to buying red raspberries and gluten free mac and cheese every time I went to the store.
I left the store with four apples, cans of tuna, some discounted Rice-a-roni, a bag of frozen chicken nuggets that would get me a great gas discount, some protein bars, and a stack of frozen meals that only cost 88 cents each. $38.72. I was proud.
Saving money quickly turned into a battle with my eating disorder. For the first time in months, I’m eight days binge-free. Being in recovery from an eating disorder that’s controlled your life for eight years is a beautiful, hopeful feeling. But as I began pinching pennies to save money for my sort-of dream house, I realized that the less I ate, the longer my food lasted, and the more money I saved.
Today, I ate an apple, a quest bar, and one of my frozen meals with 180 calories. Hardly an “anorexic relapse,” but I left work feeling accomplished. I started thinking that, maybe, saving money could make me lose weight too, because everything in my life eventually leads back to me hoping to lose weight.
The scariest part of this is that I’m not quite sure where this blog post goes. I don’t have some grand message for anyone because, like I said, this was today. I’m not sure tomorrow will be any different. All I’m hoping is that this continues to be what I thought it would: a short term challenge.