Before my daughter Lucy was born, I scowled at people who paid a premium for what I considered unnecessary luxuries. Accelerated service, pre-marinated meat, home delivery.
But since she came along five months ago, I’m tired, pressed for time, and I’ve been bleeding money where I would never have before. Am I losing my frugal edge?
Here are three examples. I know there are more, but I can’t remember them. I blame sleep deprivation!
1. At the airport I lugged two bags to the curb, then hefted the stroller, car seat, and baby to safety. I was traveling alone with a three month old, and the driver of the parking lot van wasn’t much help. I had fully intended to drag everything into the check out line inside when a valet popped up in front of me.
“Curbside check in?”
“Yes,” was all I could muster. I lacked all strength to resist the convenience. He lifted away my bags, and my worries.
I tipped him five dollars. At the time, it seemed like a tiny amount of money. Why had I not done this before, I thought.
2. I was shopping for a birthday gift for my sister at Sur La Table (not exactly a bargain store, but for special occasions it’s easy to find something quickly – another sacrifice in the name of shopping with baby and finding what I need). At checkout, the cashier asked if I wanted gift wrap.
“How much does it cost??
“How long does it take?”
“Less than 10 minutes.”
Five dollars seemed like a small amount to guarantee that my gift would be wrapped. Period. Lucy is an easy baby, but her schedule and needs are so unpredictable. And I was exhausted from waking up two to three times a night with her. Would I be able to find 15 minutes that afternoon to wrap it myself? And if I had 15 minutes, did I want to spend it wrapping a present?
I knew $5 would make the problem go away. I paid up.
3. Meals out. My husband and I have been eating out much more often now that baby is here. Some nights we order pizza. Some nights we hire a babysitter and eat out.
When I scan my credit card bill, half of the charges are restaurants. Half! That’s insane. But it’s so wonderful when someone brings you a delicious plate of food and you never have to clean up. Sigh.
I’m worried I’m getting into the habit of paying to make tough situations go away. How do you maintain your resolve to be frugal under stress?