When I retired from my job a couple of months ago, my husband, Doug voiced some concerns about the budgetary constraints I was proposing. Clearly the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed was in jeopardy. It's true, and I did feel a little guilty about that. (Only a little, I did point out that if he felt it was too draconian, he could always go back to work.)
Our new budget (and by new, I mean that we actually have a budget now) requires that he pare back his wine purchases and his expectations of the level of luxury on our future vacations. He must get used to the idea of driving our cars until they can drive no longer, and will have to accept replacements that are more economical when that day comes. (Our SUV-driving neighbors will surely mock us upon the addition of a Prius to the neighborhood.)
In this draft of the budget, my labor fills in for services we formerly outsourced such as yard work, housecleaning, and painting. It turns out, this house cleaning gig is hard work! I spent 4 hours cleaning yesterday and barely made a dent. (By the way, to make the budget work I also dropped the gym membership and personal trainer. Now that I'm cleaning and gardening more, I can see that paying for exercise would have been a complete waste of money.)
I have been taking a writing course these past few weeks, the focus of which is writing for magazines. Last week, when I was wondering if I would ever have time to clean the house, I mentioned to Doug that if I sold an article every so often, we could consider hiring our house cleaners back. I expected he would really like this idea. I thought the dirt was getting to him but that he didn't want to risk death by saying something to me.
But listen to the sweet words he uttered to me when I proposed this idea. He said "I don't know, for 300 bucks a month, it seems like we should just put up with a little dirt." I haven't heard words that have made me that happy since "Will you marry me?"