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Monday, December 22, 2008

Mother Nature trumps frugality. . . .

This is the third day straight that I've been basically trapped at home---my car is stuck in the snow and ice down the street, and it appears that it will be there for at least a few more days. We've just been through a giant (for Portland) snow storm which began last week and probably won't end until next Saturday! Meanwhile, my budget has flown out the window.

On the nights before predicted snowfall, I rushed to the nearest (not the cheapest, mind you) grocery store to stock up on essentials (hot chocolate and whipped cream being among the items purchased). I did this at least three times, and while I did bring a shopping list, my main goal was not frugality but finding what I wanted in the least time and getting home before the storms began. Added to this is the fact that everyone and his brother had the same idea, and the grocery store was packed!

Meanwhile, my heater has been on pretty much constantly for an entire week (except during the night), and while I still keep it at a low 58 degrees, I'm sure my gas bill will reflect the chilly weather and the many days last week (and this week) that I didn't go in to work. Today, I trekked out to Target for a chai latte and some books (the libraries have been closed!!!) as well as to get some cash for my trip to California in a couple of days (provided I can get to the airport and my flight isn't canceled). $107, a sweater, a belt, and four books later, I made the long slushy walk home wondering how the last week will look when I put my recent purchases into my zero-based budget for December!

Ah well! I'm safe, warm, dry and well fed. Which many people in Portland can't say right now, from the 40,000 without power to the homeless and very low-income residents. I may be somewhat silent until next weekend, as I attempt to make my way out of Portland to spend Christmas with my family!

Happy holidays, everyone!

5 comments:

marci357 said...

Glad to hear you are doing so well thru it all. Here at the coast, while we are isolated here with no way to get 'there', wherever 'there' may be, the snow in the lowlands has melted and we are back to 35 and rain - which was a welcome high :) I lost one day of work due to the weather, but I'll survive that ok.

Because these things happen (at least here at the coast) on an annual basis, I'd recommend putting together a plastic tote with just those items you mentioned... hot cocoa mix, books, a jigsaw puzzle, easy food, and TP - and then you'll be all set next time it happens and not have to run out :) (Plus the usual emergency stuff like batteries and flashlights)

Good luck getting to the airport - the max is going there with shuttles, and sooner or later a plane has to be allowed to leave! Enjoy the sunshine when you finally make it there!

marci357 said...

Oh, and with 26, 30, 6, and 22 all closed, the mail from Portland did not arrive today, nor did the mail leave here today, and the mail is not expected to arrive tomorrow either. Look on the bright side tho - no bills will show up :) haha!

Merry Christmas!

Stephen said...

I'm glad to hear your safe, warm and dry. I just wanted to comment on being derailed from your goal, as they say in Weight Watchers we hop right back on and keep going. I do have some suggestions which may help in the future storms though, Instead of buying books to read you could check out gutenburg press, or many of the other free ebook sites. If nothing else there are plenty of ebooks which are downloadable that cost very little from places like audible and with the free 30 day trial it would get you through until you thaw.

Also it may really help you if you kept an emergency rations list, this is a list you put together so when a storm is coming you know exactly what you should have on hand and go and get whatever is missing. So for instance the hot chocolate could have been made cheaper with the ingredients and since many people can't be bothered to make it from scratch, the supplies last longer in the store when a storm is threatning.

BTW, I love your blog. we have been following Dave Ramsy's debt free program for about 2 yrs now coupled with you tips on becoming more frugal and we should be completely debt-free by Next Christmas.

BJ said...

We just had a big snow storm ourselves here in Michigan and my wife and I were frantically rushing to stock up on all the essentials.

Happy holidays!

Erin said...

Once you are done with the books if you don't feel like keeping them you can sell them either at Powells or via Amazon.com or you can donate them to the library system and then claim the donation on your taxes :) That way you at least earn back some of the money you've spent :)

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