by Francine Prose
I’m doing Liz Frugalwoods’ Uber-frugal challenge this month, and I don’t like it. I mean, I like her and her challenge, but I don’t like feeling like I can’t do things. It brings up the demons still haunting me from when we couldn’t go to birthday parties because we couldn’t afford presents, couldn’t join the activities we wanted to, couldn’t answer the phone because bill collectors were calling.
But ok Paulette, therapy it out. That’s the past. This is the present, and, looking toward the future, you want a sustainable life as a writer.
That’s exactly why Liz asks us to imagine our futures, and what the frugal challenge is for. Here’s the first bit of work she asks us to do:
1. Why are you participating in this Challenge?
Because I’m broke. Just kidding. Not kidding. No matter how much I make, I always seem to spend everything in my bank account. I think there’s something wrong with me. I’m possessed by the urge to spend everything I have. Always have
and always will.
2. What do you hope to achieve?
Reset my spending level down to something that is in alignment with my income. I saw a quote that said, “Act your wage,” and I was like ooooh, I am not.
3. What are your longterm life goals?
To be a lady Anthony Bourdain and a full-time creative writer living on passive income by the time I’m 40.
4. Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Making sweet love on the shores of Cabo while the sun sets. Galloping on horse safari in Zimbabwe. Signing a copy of my book for Beyonce. Things like that.
Also, maybe in a little craftsman or condo of my own in Seattle? Is that dreaming too big?
5. What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?
Lattes, drinks out, laziness, carelessness, lifestyle creep, living in an expensive city, every single time I say “fuck it,” and tickets to see Bon Iver at The Gorge.
What can I do about it? Be honest about it, forgive myself, understand myself, put an arm around myself and say, that’s cute but let’s walk this way instead. Also, I can be up-front about my non-eating-out with people. What should I say, “I’m one of those people?” I don’t eat out? Ooh, I remember, I like to say, “I’m saving for (big dreamy thing here), can we (cheaper thing here)?
Post of Liz’s I’m loving:
“You don’t need to buy things to make yourself feel better when you’ve constructed your life such that you already feel good.”
But…I have a life that makes me feel good and still… ahh we’ll deal with that…