Monday, November 9, 2015

new habits of my unemployed life

I've been a freelancer since 2004 and while it comes with it's fair share of insane working hours it also comes with bouts of ridiculous unemployment. This year hasn't been great for us financially because while I've been making more money per day, I haven't worked enough days to even out yet. It's a part of the whole moving up process. It'll take some time and we'll get there so I'm trying not to panic and be patient and in the meantime employ a few new habits in regards to the lack of income.

1) We eat in. A LOT. If I'm home, I'm cooking for our family but we would still eat out at least four or five times a week and now it's significantly less. Three meals a day I'm making food at home and being creative with food options and using up the pantry. It's a fun challenge that is helping break us free of our food rut. Sometimes it's simple microwave burgers and sometimes it's fancy veggies.
2) I DIY stuff. Getting crafty is one of those things I have mixed feelings about but in order to scratch an itch for a new thing or the latest thing that I can't buy, I can join the trend and just DIY it. I made two yarn hangings already and am pinning possible future projects too. It keeps me busy. I even DIY my manicures and instead of paying someone to do my nails, I do it myself. Cutting my own bangs though, I am not insane, I trust professionals for that.
3) We hit up every kind of free museum thing there is. Awhile ago I sent Matt a handy list of all the museum days in Los Angeles that are either free all the time or free some times of the year and now we're taking advantage together. The whole family came up and we checked out Travel Town recently. Having a toddler means any place she can safely run around is a win.
The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena is free the first Tuesday of the month and Alice had a blast in the kiddie room and the outdoor car area.
4) I give myself crazy shopping challenges. The Ikea down the street is moving a little further down Alameda so I'm enjoying the closeness while I can and Alice and I go and just wander around the place. I gave myself the challenge recently, of spending only $5 and finding a gift to check off our Christmas gift list. It wasn't as hard as I thought!
5) We earn credit card points and use the points to redeem Amazon gift cards. Then we buy things we need there instead of charging our credit card.

6) I avoid Target. Why tempt myself? I went recently to buy our annual ornament and stuck to the list except to buy some $5 gift wrap for a mini DIY project.

7) I putter around the office. Trying not to spend money on new things means trying to make old things look newer at home so I've just been changing things around the office using what I have. I've been doing this during her naptimes and try to accomplish some task or project per nap which makes me feel productive and creative all at the same time and it costs zero dollars.
8) We go to the mall and buy nothing. There's a great little indoor play space Alice loves and we let her run herself ragged before bedtime. Works like a charm.
9) We go to Disneyland and spend nothing. Right before the crazy price hike (and a slow work season) we bought annual passes and since mine is the premium pass parking is free. I pack a lunch and snacks for us from home and we enjoy Walt's magic kingdom without spending a dime!
10) We are outside a lot. We do hiking trails, parks, and hang in our front and back yards. Being outdoors does wonders for boredom, health, and happiness.
My hope and goal is that even when I get a job I would attempt to employ all these habits not just as habits when I'm unemployed but just generally good habits. Money does not buy happiness and it actually makes me happier when we're not spending money.

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