a follow up

Recently I wrote about how being chronically ill adds a line to my budget and creates cost where there otherwise wouldn’t be. I think I am going to try to view this in another light.

This morning I drove to work. This means tonight I will have to pay $18 to have parked for the day. I do not love this expense, but I am choosing to see it as unavoidable. I don’t park downtown everyday as that would definitely blow my budget. But I am going to make an allowance for an average of a day a week.

Here’s the thing, Crohn’s really doesn’t care if I need to be at work at a given time. I am going to feel crummy/get an upset tummy whenever it damn well decides to. So being able to drive and park myself is a comfort that I need to account for. Not always, but some days it’s just necessary.

Today was one of those days. I had drive the past two days to work because of doctor’s appointments and not feeling well due to a delayed reaction to my iron infusion. So I bit the bullet and just drove to work. Could I have survived the train ride? Probably. But did I want to risk an incident on public transportation when I really wasn’t feeling well? Definitely not. So I drove. And I paid to park. And I’ll do it again tonight.

It’s annoying but necessary. It is definitely NOT frugal. However, as someone with a chronic illness, there is really no way around it. I will continue to do my best and take the train to work as many days as possible. Some weeks I manage to take it every single day. Some weeks it’s just not going to happen, and this was one of those weeks.

So instead of beating myself up over it, I decided to account for it in my budget. That way, I know it’s coming, and I know I will have the money for it.

These little changes can go a long way towards a budget and goals. If I take into account that I may need to spend $18 a week or so on parking, I will be mindful of that extra spending and account for it elsewhere. It’s not perfect, but it’s what will work for me. Living with this illness is a constant struggle and learning curve. I am working on figuring out what is best for me, and this is just another piece of the puzzle.

These flowers have nothing to do with this post, but we could all use more flowers.

Reading: my favorite frugal activity

My dad will tell you that I am the most well read individual he knows. Personally I highly doubt this to be true. But I will admit to being a voracious reader. I have a list of to-read books a mile long, and a stack next to my bed to match. I read at lunch, before bed, on public transit. I read every single day.

I like to read books recommended by friends or family, I read books mentioned in blogs or news articles, books by favorite authors, or simply books I happen upon. So ya, I read A LOT.

Most of the books I read come from the library. I update my “books on hold” list weekly, so that I have a constant supply of books available to me. Sometimes I have to wait months for a book I want to come in, but that’s part of the fun! It means I get to randomly read the new one by Murakami (one of my favorite authors) when I happen to be in picking up another book on my list.

You’ll see from the photo above it’s a “Lucky Day!” selection. These are books that typically have a waiting list a mile long. The library keeps a small number of them available so if you happen to be lucky and get to the library the day it’s available, you can check it out without the long wait! Needless to say I was VERY excited about this one.

There are still of course a few books I will always buy. Murakami tends to fall into that category. However, the last book of his to come out I was less than impressed with sadly. So I wanted to read it first to determine if I was willing to shell out the hefty price of a new hardback book. Even if I waited until it was out in paperback, it’s still close to 800 pages, so I knew it wouldn’t come cheap.

Any who, back to the library. For someone who reads as much as I do, it is a total game changer. I average anywhere from one to three books a week. Even buying used that would be a minimum of $5 a week, times 52 weeks a year. That’s a minimum of $260 a year. Even though that isn’t a huge expense, it certainly would impact anyone’s budget. If I bought a new hardback book weekly, they average close to $20! $1,040 a year! I definitely could put that money to good use elsewhere.

So I turn to the library. Our library system has branches all over town, including one just a few blocks from my parents’ house. I use this opportunity weekly to pick up my books and spend an hour or so catching up with my family. More often than not, my mom and I end up on the porch reading (I got it from my mama). And it is truly one of the best parts of my week. Sometimes I’ll also have it so that I can pick a book up from the location on my train route to work. It allows me to pick them up on my commute without having to drive anywhere. I call that a definitely win-win.

Reading calms me, centers me, reminds me of all the things that are good in this world. It allows me an escape from daily life and shows me all that life CAN be. The fact that I can get books for FREE from the library is one of my very favorite things in the world. And it happens to be super frugal to boot!

So tell me, read anything good lately?