Rediscovering Ramen Noodles and Macaroni and Cheese

Being unemployed is very humbling, but it’s teaching me a lot about budgeting, and keeping my expenses in check.  I’ve had to cut way back in a lot of areas.  No vacation to Africa this year.  No more delivery pizza or Chinese food.  No more steak dinners at Outback.  Regular gas for me, even though my car performs better on premium.  I can survive turning the thermostat up a couple of degrees, even though I might sweat a little bit more.  Maybe I don’t need the water to be so hot in the shower, and the shower doesn’t need to be so long.  Generic prescriptions at Walmart are cheaper than the Giant Food or Rite Aid which are far more convenient.  Water out of the tap is just fine.  Bottled water is a luxury I just can’t afford right now.  Do I really need to rent a movie on Vudu for $5.99 or should I just watch one on Netflix which only costs me $8.00 per month.  Oh, and I certainly can’t forget about the Ramen Noodles and Macaroni and Cheese.

88 cents for 6 packs of Ramen noodles.  Can’t beat that price.  I can mix that with some pre-sliced chicken breast, and some spinach and mushrooms, and maybe some canned pees of black beans.  I don’t use the nasty flavor packets.  Just the plain noodles mixed with just about anything.  Macaroni and cheese mixed with some of these things are good too.  It’s amazing what you can discover, or in this case rediscover in the grocery store that is so inexpensive, and yet still very tasty.

What hurts me though is having to cut back on pet food as well.  No more Blue Buffalo.  There are other good foods that are not as expensive.  I asked the vet for advice on that one and other ways I could save.  The vet is being very nice and allowing me to email her when there is a problem to see if the problem can be resolved with free advice.  She is also giving me free supplements which my dog needs in her old age when she has them available.

I have a job interview on Monday.  I’m not going to try to predict how that will turn out, but even if I get the job and I wind up keeping it for a while, I’m still actually going to be grateful for this time in my life.  I’m learning once again how to be thrifty.  After all, there once was a time when I was making far less than I was making when I got laid off and I figured out how to survive.  In fact, I was living on less when my mortgage was higher, and I had a car payment which I don’t have right now.  I must have just forgotten about this time in my life at some point, but somehow I figured out a way to pay all of my bills, and eat and take care of pets on much less that I was making.  To find my way back to that time, I had to ask for help and wound up speaking with a financial counselor.  She helped me get my priorities straight, and figure out how to pay all of my bills, and still keep some money aside for an emergency.  My Dad helped me find this free service.  It’s amazing what happens when you ask for help.

Yeah, I think I’m going to be eating Ramen noodles and Macaroni and Cheese even after I get a job.  I’m learning some valuable lessons here about the importance of saving as much as you can for a rainy day or week or month or year.  I was saving money, but I could have been saving more just by making a few simple changes.  Maybe that’s why this happened.  Maybe this happened to teach me some humility and gratitude.  Maybe this happened so that I don’t take a job for granted.  Maybe this happened to help me to realize just how much I can tolerate and still have a positive attitude.  Everything happens for a reason.  I’ll never forget this time in my life, that’s for sure.  I can only control so much of what happens in my life.  Eating Ramen noodes and Macaroni and Cheese is certainly something that is under my control.

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