I start my new job at U.S. Cellular next Monday. I am excited to get back into a routine and hopefully shed the 'useless' feeling that blossoms with unemployment. I'm also keen to see some income. After some scary touch-and-go, looks like we'll be able to make the mortgage payment for May, but we won't have much money to live on. We'll make it, but just barely. And I mean barely.
I don't remember ever living with this high level of financial concern before. I remember having to watch the money I spent, but I don't ever remember being this stressed about it. Indi and I have done a good job at shoring up our expenditures and have done great at stretching our budget. I have had no problems adjusting, save for one aspect: fast food.
Before we left last year, we ate out a LOT. Five or six times a week easy. As we traveled, the vast majority of our meals were eaten out; after all, we normally didn't have a kitchen at our disposal to cook our own meals. Now that we're home, we're eating in, and that's good for money and health. But I long for the unhealth. I can't pass by a drive-thru without wondering what I could do to get a little money so I could get a burger. It's ludicrous; I mean, it's not an addiction. Is it? Sometimes I get downright DEPRESSED.
Is it because I desperately need some pizza or fried chicken? Do I have this unnatural requirement for grease and preservatives? After some thought (and a homemade ham sandwich), I don't think that's it. After all, it's never a good idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach; the roads are nearly paved with temptation around here. I think it is more of a problem with choice.
See, previously in life, if I wanted to eat unhealthily or get something fast it was no problem. I was free to make that choice, even if I didn't. Now I have to buckle down and simply CANNOT stop to get something or make a trip to try out a new restaurant. I will have to wait. And I hate the fact that I am crippled by the last few months of unemployment. I am thankful that this period is almost over. I think I will have a new appreciation for the money I spend. After all, of what worth was my world-wide trip if I returned to my old ways so quickly?