Friday, February 1, 2013

Frugal February Day 1: I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation

How awesome is it that Oscar Wilde has two perfect quotes about temptation? So awesome, that's how. 

So, as you may have guessed by my choice of quote, Day 1 of Frugal February was kind of a bust. Okay, a big bust. If today was an actual bust it would be the offspring of Ice-T's wife Coco and Dolly Parton. There was nothing frugal about this day, no matter how you spin it. I already used TWO of my three "gimme" taxis. I know, I know. But it was chilly this morning and I was lazy and ... even I'm not buying this nonsense. I then went on to get breakfast at the cafeteria (and also a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie) and ate a whole bunch of food at a little shindig in the office. The latter of those was free, but if we're taking frugal as not just a financial decision but lifestyle choice then... I exercised no restraint in any sense of the word today.

It was a blood bath that started with crab dip and ended with coworkers screaming for mercy.

But in my defense, our admin assistant really outdid herself. It was kind of an intense week so there was concern The menu for our casual end-of-day soiree included bacon-wrapped-dates, veggie samosas, cheese dip, the aforementioned crab dip, baguette, cheeses, dolmades, meatballs, chicken satay, tofu skewers, baba ghanoush (not spelled correctly but if I start changing it now I'll be up all night adding and removing U's), garam masala-spiced nuts, chips, crackers and roasted garlic. And except for the samosas and chips it was ALL HOMEMADE BY HER. And is officially more cooking than I... well, than I've ever done in my life, frankly.

I ate it so fast and so thoroughly that I think I actually got drunk off delicious. That can be the only explanation for our decision to invent and drink the "Bloody Santa Maria" (aka the "Caribbean Caesar") with a bottle of V8 juice we found in the divisional fridge and rum. It's as terrible as you think it is. Viva la revolution.

So calories and wallet gone to hell, I kind of just said "eff it" and took a cab home with some leftovers (if I spilled even a dollop of that crab dip I would have thrown myself under the bus that made me spill it). And now here I sit, be-sweatpanted and slightly peckish (I'm a monster), wondering how the hell I'm going to turn it around for the next 27 days. 

I had no idea how ingrained in me casual spending was, and I'm not entirely sure how to handle it. I get Mr. Wilde's quote more than you can imagine. Did I need that second piece of pie? Did I need to get breakfast as well as a snack? Did I need to get that cab this morning to get to work on time or would all have been well if I was a little late? I think I know the answers to all of those but I don't like 'em.

I'll end it on a positive note, however. I did do some things right.

1) The reason I took a cab home was that I brought home a bunch of (shoddily-wrapped) leftovers so The Boy could make a dinner of it. Which he happily did. Friday just feels like a "take-in" day and we usually get Indian or pizza so that $10 cab probably saved us a $30-$60 take-in bill, which isn't terrible.

2) I actually wrote everything down that I spent. The two cabs, the breakfast sandwich, it's all committed to paper now. I remember when I had braces I lost a lot of weight when I actually remembered to put my elastics on. Basically, that 2 second act of having to remove them to eat was enough for me to think if I'm actually hungry or if I'm just mindlessly chewing. The book is those elastics - do I really want to write this $3.14 sandwich down? Probably not. Writing is the worst.

3) I used a coupon! My uncle's birthday is on Saturday and I (foolishly) offered to get the cake. I forgot about my little challenge and was resigning myself to making a (terrible) cake. But then a Groupon came up for Marble Slab Creamery (my closest friend and cherished lover). I had an old Groupon credit in my account from a restaurant that closed (RIP Jean Albert's Soul Food) so I used that against the price of this Groupon. So I spent $5 on a $27 ice cream cake for his b-day. I'm feeling pretty chuffed, I must say.

Also I managed to make breakfast into a meal that has a dessert on the end so that has to count for something.

So, you take the good you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: Frugal February #1. It can only go up from here. Unless there's more crab dip. God help you all, then.

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