Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Money, Money, Money.....It's a Rich Man's World

Economy, recession, budget, money, yada yada yada, blah blah blah, Charlie Brown's teacher......

Yep, that's pretty much what I hear too when the news regarding the current economic state comes on or I hear people discussing tightening their purse strings.

Let's face it though, it can't hurt any of us to "downsize" a little in this consumer hungry world.

In light of that, I saw a couple on CBC Canada that challenged themselves to "not spend" for a year. They allowed groceries, obviously, and necessities. However, if a necessity came up, they looked in thrift stores or tried used or trade. (you can read all about their year long experiment at www.ourcompactlife.com) As the year progressed, they started caring where they spent that money. They grew a garden. They started buying Fair Trade. The products they used were mostly organic or naturally based. They wanted their money to COUNT.

This was very interesting to me, so I proposed a challenge to my family as well. Now, clearly, this would be a lazier, less hard core, slacker kind of challenge than the one described above. Anything resembling close to that challenge and MY family-well, that's just crazy talk.

So, I proposed that for 6 months, we try to cut back on what we spend. That beer my husband buys every week or so? Reduced to one case a month. We cut back on our cable-going to digital only as opposed to HD. (there were tears involved in this one) I started making my menu plans for the week based on store flyers and what was on sale that week. We plan on eating "meatless" two nights a week, and fish another two. No more eating out-at ALL-for the 6 months. I'm trying to make meals that are "cook once, eat twice" so that my freezer is stocked. Biggest one? We are looking at trading in our minivan for something more cost effective, and with the current times being what they are, are actually looking at some good deals.

I know these aren't HUGE changes, or that this isn't rocket science for most. But for a family that is used to buying when we want and eating out every week or so.....this is making an impact. It's changing our eating habits, our buying habits, our CONSUMPTION in general.

And really, recession or no recession, I think that's a better quality of life, and a better lesson for our children. It may be small changes to some, but hopefully for us they'll snowball into something bigger. My hope is that after the 6 months, we see other ways we can comfortably cut back. That we continue on for another six months with more changes in place. Baby steps.......

Now, how many of you actually "heard" a word I wrote? Or did you just start reading and......yada yada yada, blah blah blah, Charlie Brown's teacher???

1 comment:

  1. Great Challenge!! Good luck! That's so funny, P has been following that couple's page online. We've taken all of the steps you mentioned with the exception of trading in the van though once we get more than one kid in a booster, that topic will resurface. It's been an eye-opener for me and a relief for P (that he finally got through to me). I enjoy the menu planning, the veggie meals and the shopping challenge.

    Two things to consider adding: 1) Consciously shop garbage-free items. That means no meat wrapped in plastic and styrofoam, no packaged granola bars, cookies etc. If we can't recycle the package it's in, we tend not to buy it. You'll find you'll avoid the food that is bad for you and be attracted to the food that is good for you (ie: the food on the outside aisles of the grocery store). We put one small bag of garbage out every two weeks and always an overflowing recycle bin (or two). Even toys are bought at consignment stores to avoid the plastic wrappings.

    2) Budget. We sit down every month to review our budget. How we stuck to it or not and what to do better next month. Absolutely nothing is purchased on credit. We've increased our savings by $$$$ and it feels great!

    Again, good luck and keep us posted!!