After graduating college in 1987, I accepted my first full-time job as a health insurance customer service representative at Blue Cross Blue Shield of CNY. I took this job after a temporary position so that I could earn some money to have fun over the summer and to buy my first car. I remember thinking that this position was way too entry level for me and that I would move on after the summer was over. Afterall, I possessed a Bachelor of Science college degree and I knew that a better career was calling my name with higher income potential.
I eventually moved on to a new career after working at Blue Cross Blue Shield. That was eight years later. I did manage to work my way up the corporate ladder in various positions to management. My career in health insurance was not all that bad. I learned a lot about health insurance and healthcare which set the foundation for my future career in medical practice management.
To go on record, I had worked a full-time office job for 24 consecutive years up until May 18, 2011. Then my life changed.
May 19, 2011 marks the first day that my husband and I went from being DINKS (dual income no kids), a phrase coined in the 1980s when the baby boomers were holding off having kids due to their careers and desire to have more disposable income, to OINKS (one income no kids).
At first, I was really nervous that we would be broke and have to live on an austerity budget for survival until I found another job. I thought that I would have to give up everything that was not considered a necessity. I am happy to say that we have been able to do just fine with one income supporting the household with a few minor changes. Fortunately, my husband and I were smart and did not purchase a McMansion that required two incomes to pay the monthly mortgage and household expenses.
Here are some of the things that we have been doing that has helped our monthly budget and allowed us to continue to have fun. Perhaps these 5 suggestions could help you out if you are ever in a situation where you lose your job or need to make cutbacks.
1. Shop my closet vs. shop online or in the stores -I thought that I would have the most trouble with this concept. It’s not a secret readers. I love fashion therefore I love to shop! However, I realized that since I already have sooooooo many outfits and s0000000 many shoes that I rarely wear or have never worn, it was a good time to start utilizing the things that I own. I still read all of my monthly fashion magazines to stay current with the top trends. Now, I just adjust my wardrobe with a few accessories to match what’s in.
2. Groceries- My husband and I are probably considered food snobs by some. We like to cook with fresh ingredients and use quality fish and meats for our main course. We did discuss that we weren’t going to compromise the quality of foods we were accustomed to eating, instead we decided that we would modify how much we purchased of a particular item to prevent waste. I’m not a fan of leftovers and my husband can only eat so much, which meant lots of money on food going down the garbage disposal.
3. Eating out- Yes, I still go out to dinner. I just don’t make it a weekly event. This summer my husband and I planned a picnic just about every weekend. It was so much fun planning and preparing the menu. Then we would make a day out of it. It was nice spending uninterrupted time together , kayaking in beautiful weather, and enjoying delicious food until sunset.
4. Cable TV- I reviewed all the services on our monthly bill and canceled the services that were not being used. i.e. HBO- Don’t get me started on this topic. It’s just not fair that they offer the best monthly deals to new customers and make the long-term with great payment history clients pay for all the great deals they are offering new customers.
5. Mani/Pedi – this was my decision to cut. I took matters into my own hands. Since I already owned the Dr Scholl’s foot spa and the required instruments and nailpolish ,it was a no brainer chopping this off the monthly expense list.
Bottom line, I don’t miss my career in practice management at all. And I am definitely not bored like I thought I was going to be. The only thing I miss is the partially funded health insurance benefit and 401K retirement plan. I’m not sure what my next career step will be. But one thing I know for certain, that no matter what path I take, I will do what I love and love what I do!
Please feel free to share any cost saving tips with me. I would love to read about them.