Now that the holidays are over, I've pretty much reached the end of my rope, unemployment-wise. I could stay on unemployment, continuing to dip into my savings until I hit the time limit, but this lack of true income is starting to affect my judgment. Every time I think about doing something, I stop and do an internal audit; if it seems too pricey, I don't do it. While this is sound judgment for most things, it keeps creeping into odd places.
For instance, at the grocery store I seem to be unable to buy canned beans any more. Yes, cans of beans are too expensive for me to justify purchasing at the local Key Foods. Instead I buy dried beans. They are significantly cheaper than canned, but of course you have to reconstitute them for use. I figured this would be no big deal, the Joy of Cooking says I can just throw them in a pot of water overnight and retrieve fully hyrdrated foodstuffs. I tried this recently, giving the beans a good 24 hours to soak. The water made no discernable impact. Is New York water too hard or something? What's up with that?
I ended up softening the beans up in some boiling water. No big deal but what a hassle. The other bags of beans in the cupboard remain untouched thus far. I guess that's one way to save money: don't eat anything.
Here's another way to save money: spend a hell of a lot of money.
On Tuesday we rented a Uhaul cargo van and went to Costco and spent something in the neighborhood of $800. No one is more aware than I that this seems counterproductive during these leans times. But if we have played our cards right, we won't need another such trip for at least 6 months, if at all. For one great expense has been dealt a mighty blow by our brave quest: the cats have their food. We bought 20 bags of Costco's premium cat food. At 25 pounds apiece this adds up to 500 lbs. of kitty kibble stacked up in the cellar. Our basement looks like a feed store.
But of course we stocked up on human supplies as well. Since I am intent on not spending unwisely at the grocery store, I went kind of nuts at the warehouse store and bought a bunch of bulk items that should help sustain us until I get a job. Among other things, I bought a 25lb. bag of flour and a 2lb. bag of yeast. I've been baking a lot more of late, and I'm always running out of these items, so it sort of makes sense … until you look at the bags.
I have no idea how to store this stuff once I open the bag. I guess I can dole it out into several containers, maybe freeze some of it or something. But I've been going through a 5lb. bag a month, and once I start making all our bread from scratch, I'm sure this stuff won't last 5 months. I'll still have to buy whole wheat flour separately, I guess. They only had white in these institutional sizes. It added up to a big bill, but pound for pound this stuff is dirt cheap!
In other cost-saving measures, I am happy to announce that one of our foster cats will be adopted out this weekend! Louie, who has been with us since the summer, will be moving to Cobble Hill to a home with an other (one one!) cat. He is a fun cat and some of our other cats will miss him I'm sure, but it feels good to be back on this side of the adoption game. If his adoption is any indication, we will be adopting out one cat every month of the year and will be down to zero by Christmas!
Naw, that probably won't happen, but I sure hope we can find these cats some permanent homes this year; it's a full-time job taking care of them as it is. I'd hate for my paying work to suffer!