Cutting back

In celebration of spring, I'm cutting back on quite a few things. Okay, it's not really in celebration of spring, it's out of necessity — financial, physical, and sanity-saving necessity. I've survived and dare I say even thrived (in non-financial ways only, of course) after corporate cutbacks. Now the time has come for a few personal cutbacks.

Here are the ways I'm cutting back:

Telephones — This week, Jim and I officially drop the land line and go to cell-phone-only mode. Which is fine by me, as I loathe phones ... and loathe even more telemarketing and political phone calls. Good riddance, home phone.

Cable television — This week we also drop all cable television and will rely on Netflix, Hulu and television networks (thank heavens for HDMI cables!) for our television fix. Farewell, DVR and On Demand.

Screen time — Not only am I cutting down time in front of the television screen, I'm cutting down time in front of the computer screen, too. I have a life ... I need to live it, not let it pass me by while I'm blogging and commenting, tweeting, e-mailing and Facebooking.

Idle time — Less screen time equals more active time: gardening, cooking, crafting, reading, playing piano, walking the dogs. And plenty of time to figure out if "Facebooking" can legitimately be used as a verb.

Dog food — Speaking of walking the dogs, they're officially overweight. The vet says Mickey weighs twenty pounds more than he should. Which means Lyla surely rates the same in rotundity. So not only do I need to walk the dogs more, I need to feed them less. Per the vet. Which is hard because they love snacks. And we love giving them snacks.

People food — Jim and I love eating snacks, too. But we're cutting back, working toward a more healthy diet. So we not only look better, but so we feel better, too. A lovely, thin, and healthy friend of mine recently recommended YOU: On a Diet. So I'm reading it, taking it to heart, implementing some of the suggestions, such as replacing white rice with brown, enriched flour with wheat.

Sugar — Per the suggestions in YOU: On a Diet, the cut causing the most trepidation has been sugar. Because Jim loves his sugar. I recently purchased for the first time ever a package of Splenda. It sweetens my iced tea and Jim's chocolate brownies just fine so far, so I plan to continue buying it ... as long as my pared-down budget allows for the outrageously expensive sugar substitute. Or until Jim cries "Uncle!"

Spending — Jim and I, like most of those living above the poverty line, have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle — a lifestyle unnecessary filled with stuff. Too much stuff. Stuff we don't need. So I'm paring down and no longer spending as much on stuff. Stuff of any sort. I've committed to grocery shopping every other week instead of every week so there's less food stuff. I resist temptation for all non-food spending by refusing to look at the bright and shiny ads in the Sunday newspaper, and I immediately delete e-mail offers from and — heaven help me to continually find the strength! —

Photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

What have you managed to — or plan to — cut back in your life?