M and I are hosting yet another bbq this weekend. Tomorrow night is a potluck with long-time local friends and Saturday night we are hosting G and K, K’s sister, stepmother, and their significant others (C and A are both working). I actually rescheduled with my trainer tonight to get our shop on and buy guest food.

It never ceases to amaze me how M and I have no difficulty scrounging around in the pantry and freezers and putting together meals for ourselves. Sure we might be eating oatmeal and broccoli for dinner, but at least it’s in the realm of healthy even if it is not particularly conventional meal planning. Mention the word “guest” and I completely freak and start feverishly scouring the cabinets and freezers for ingredients for a sensible meal. After our houseguest-palooza, we are pretty short on mainstays for feeding other people. If it were just G and K we’d be eating from the freezer and supplementing with a simple salad or doing something theme-oriented like deep fry night. But with K’s family coming (the first time we have met them), a major grocery shop was in order.

After visiting 5 stores, we are $394.52 poorer yet ready for our dinner gatherings this weekend as well as meals for the next couple of weeks for just M and I. And to be fair only $238.16 was actual food. M has lost almost 40 pounds recently and desperately needed some new clothing, fluffbuckets can been pretty demanding about ensuring they are fed daily, and M will never let this household run out of toilet paper.

Still, with the haircut I’m taking in compensation from my full-time job, this seems like an especially alarming amount of money to spend in one evening of restocking the household. If I had spread it out over several days I would still feel concerned, but it would be somehow easier to accept. Instead I’m updating my budget file and contemplating what a diet of beans and rice might do to my overall health efforts … except I do not eat beans (except canned green beans and I am even fussy about those). Our purchases are within budget. That’s my spending panacea – I am within budget.

Realistically, the pay change means we will become much more mindful of our spending. Since it will most likely impact our vacation/leisure pursuits and home enhancement projects, we will feel the pinch a lot more when those wants have to be downsized or postponed. We rarely eat out anymore, and most of our entertaining is here at home with the kids and friends who could care less if we are having burgers or filet mignon. We also do not drink alcohol or utilize tobacco products, which I understand can take quite a bite out of the budget. Our big splurge is probably buying organic, especially produce and dairy products. I can justify that far more easily than my weekly lunches out. Well, the gym and my personal training sessions are a splurge as well, but I know I can hustle up enough extra work with my side gigs or making cuts in other spending to ensure those activities continue.

Thinking about it and reviewing our purchases, I have no regrets about anything we acquired. A pair of pants will be returned to Costco tomorrow and the organic baby bok choi and cucumbers we forgot will be acquired. I think with that we should be good until the middle of the month.

Our really austerity program begins in August, when the true effects of the pay cut take hold. We live on the prior month’s income, and I have no intention of cutting our retirement or long-term savings. I will devise a new spending plan once I see the impact in black and white, but we will manage.

I just don’t want to have to manage, yanno? I’m still angry about this turn of events and it shows in my cavalier attitude tonight about spending money for needs and quasi-needs. This too shall pass.

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