When Billy lost his job in December, two weeks before Christmas and in the middle of our adoption home study, we had to do a reevaluation of the way we were living. Due to the timing, Billy and I were financially tapped - we had spent our savings on the home study and on everything we needed to do for it, and were using whatever extra we were making for Christmas gifts. We went into financial lock down until we could create a way to live on our reduced circumstances, and we learned a few things along the way.
After reviewing how we spent our money in the past, excluding the adoption of course, we were shocked to see how much we were wasting in our lives - energy, food, money. We would leave lights on in rooms we weren't using, leave the heat cranked to 70 degrees even when we weren't home. I would grocery shop with a menu for the week in mind, and then not stick to it, allowing the fresh ingredients to turn slimy and spoiled in our refrigerator. We ate out too much. We had a pretty hefty entertainment budget as well. We just were not careful or smart with our money, and didn't even realize it.
Obviously, things are not the same - we had to put our adoption on hold until Billy secures employment (anyone hiring?), but we have evolved. Perhaps we had gotten stagnant, and needed this to get us moving in other areas of our life, to teach us to not live so carelessly and wastefully. And now, we only keep lights on in the rooms we are in, and if we need them. If natural light does the trick, we don't flip the switch. We turn down the heat when we are not home and at night. I plan dinners and stick to the plan - and even plan on eating the leftovers, which were formerly tossed. But the biggest change of all is how we spend our money recreationally - rather than going to the bar every weekend, we have been spending more time with friends at someone's house, socializing there, or watching movies. We had always taken advantage of our area Metroparks, but now we are there every weekend. We cook more together, read more together, and I find we have more to talk about, all of a sudden. More ideas, revelations, excitement about different things. It is like we are tapping into the creative sides of our brain more often, the side we may have left the light on in, but never visited.