When my husband retired, we went from two paychecks per month to one retirement check per month. Although it’s about the same amount of money, paying all our bills in one shot really puts in perspective how much we splurged on frivolous things, like fast food, restaurant meals, junk food, and the like.
What were we thinking?
A fast food meal for a family of four costs about $8 per person, or $32 total. For just a couple of dollars more we could have bought enough groceries to last the entire day.
- Milk – $2
- Eggs – $1
- Pancake mix – $2
- Bacon – $4
- Lunch meat – $3
- Cheese – $3
- Loaf of bread – $2
- Apples – $3
- Peanut butter – $3
- Hamburger – $5
- Spaghetti noodles – $2
- Sauce – $2
- Garlic bread – $2
The rigid structure of our incoming finances has not only made us more responsible, but it also holds us more accountable for our choices. Sure we can splurge on Bojangles Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and a trip to a restaurant during the first week of the month. We might, however, regret it during those last few days when the finances are scant and the start of the next month seems light years away.
This new budget not only affects how we shop for food, but also how we prepare it. Toward the end of the month every mealtime feels a little like an episode of chopped. I could probably host an episode right now.
- a can of chicken, animal crackers, and mandarin oranges
- ham slices, Italian dressing, and puffed rice cereal
- pizza bagels, microwave popcorn, and two apples that are starting to wither
So what’s the point?
The point is sometimes life throws us a curve ball. How we decide to handle it determines what happens next. It’s not so different than the plot of a book.
For example, Maggie Sawyer planned to marry a lawyer and spend the rest of her life raising a family in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Before the family was ever started, life threw her a curve ball when her fiance decided to dally with his cougar of a boss.
She high tailed it home to North Carolina to emotionally recuperate for a few months. Life throws her another curve ball when the local postman winds up murdered and she inherits his golden retriever.
How do you handle curve balls?
Do you catch them? Swing and a miss? If you’re an author, how do your characters handle them? Let me know in the comments section!