My walk was worth 10 cents -- and other depressing numbers
Okay, recycling pays next to nothing for cans these days. But I have to have SOMETHING to get myself out the door. So I took a plastic bag, some music and walked around.
There were a pretty surprising number of cans, given how clean I tend to think this city is. Of course, four or five of the cans were in trash cans in the cemetary nearby. Even so, I found a good 7 or 8 cans within a 3 block radius.
Anyway, after 25 minutes of wandering, I came away with... 10 ounces of aluminum. Assuming prices are still at 20 cents/lb, I earned a bit more than 10 cents. But, hey, it's a start. And at least there are fewer cans on the ground (or in trash bins).
I want to try to start checking the recycling bin outside our apartment. Lots of people toss cans in there. I can't imagine anyone caring about my rifling through there.
Okay, it's far from "big money." But here's hoping it gets me out on my walks. And hey, an extra buck or two is still an extra buck or two, right?
I'm a tad disheartened overall, as I run up my first real attempt at our budget. I'll have to tweak the numbers after this first month ends, but when all is said and done we have a whopping $310 left to throw at debt. Terribly depressing. And still not taking Tim's Body Shop products into account, because right now, we're pretty stocked up.
That said, at least we're staying out of the red. I'm simply finding it hard to write down realistic numbers for some of these items. Groceries, for example. I feel like we should spend $200 or less. But my guess is $250 is far closer to the mark. As I get better at budgeting and more aware of our grocery spending, that may change. But for now, it's staying.
More importantly, given how lean our budget is, I feel awful about having $35 a week for delivery/meals out. The frugal side of me sneers at this. But the more realistic side says we may even go over that. We're worn down. It's getting harder to get basic things done. I want to eat more healthily, but I spend most of my nights trying not to constantly shove food in my mouth.
Even if we weren't so threadbare, the simple fact is that neither of us is particularly well, physically. We both sort of shudder when asked what we want to do about dinner. We have no idea. We're tired of worrying about food, sick of cooking it, and probably both turning into pizzas, we've been eating so much of it as a default.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is: All in all, part of me knows that we're doing really well. That we're able to keep outside food down to about once a week, well it's probably a feat. But it doesn't feel like one.
I'm trying to stay sane by celebrating the little victories. Which is definitely helping. And I'm grateful that Tim was able to get an appointment with a new doctor on the 9th. That's definitely a blessing. I just feel like we're running in place, yet we're still starting to run out of road. If that makes any sense.
What about you guys? As these winter months are stretching in spring ones -- it seems the entire country is experiencing an extended winter -- how are you coping with the nasty weather, financial stress and general malaise?
And on an entirely separate note:
I've been thinking for awhile about trying to start up a Q&A feature. You guys ask questions, I answer. But I wasn't really sure if it was best to let it start organically, or if I should just throw the idea out there.
So I'm taking Jackie B's advice and just throwing it out there. If you have any questions you want answers to, preferably tied somehow to finance, I would be happy to do my best to answer them and then open it up to other readers to voice their opinions.
Like most people, I'm much better at solving other people's problems than my own, so I'd be excited to try and help however I can. Consider it your way of distracting me until spring finally decides to show up.