With a second hurricane on its way to the U.S. and the cost of living already climbing, my husband and I are starting to prepare ourselves to quickly and drastically scale back our expenses. I have a feeling that the $300 electric bills I've been getting will look like a bargain compared to the gas bills that arrive this winter once we turn on the heat.
It helps a little to have the hybrid car (balanced, unfortunately, by my husband's gas-guzzling Jeep Cherokee). I kept yesterday's $26 fill-up receipt because I predict that it will be a quaint souvenir soon. Rising fuel costs are bound to have an effect on the price of groceries and other consumer goods, and that's what really worries me.
On our budgetary chopping block:
- Cable TV
- Twice-monthly housecleaning
- All restaurant meals
- Non-essential purchases (books, music, clothes, etc.)
That's still not really going to save us all that much. We'll need to keep the thermostat tightly controlled, make a point of turning off electrical appliances we're not using, and probably close off certain rooms of the house.
We're already delaying all kinds of services that would really come in handy, just because our budget is so tight. The cats' shots? They can wait. The exterminator? We'll make do with a flyswatter. The plumber? If you turn the faucet handle just right, the shower only drips a little bit.
I'm afraid this is only the beginning. Let's hope I'm wrong.