Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thanks for reminding me . . .

I've spent several years moving towards a lifestyle of frugality and simplicity. Partly for financial reasons - but more in part because it feels right. I feel centered and satisfied when I'm on track with that.

But lately, we've been spendy. We've been continuing our (my?!) movement in some ways. Planting from seed, growing food. Buying locally and local organically. Reducing. Reusing. Buying secondhand. Making beer and wine at home.

But somehow, sometimes - the little things get out of control and I'm suddenly surprised to see how far off track we've gotten.

That happened this morning, when I paid the credit card bill. I pay on it weekly, I had a plan to have it paid off in a year (we didn't owe much). So imagine my shock when I checked the balance today and it was almost maxed out! HOW did that happen?!

Well, the little things I guess. A little here, a little more there. Little+little+little= a whole stinkin' lot.

And on top of that my car essentially caught on fire last week - there was all sorts of nasty smoke billowing out on my way home. Something about something dying and burning some belt and yada yada 400 dollars to repair it. That's after a grand in repairs between the cars in March.

So a whole stinkin' lot on the credit card + obscene amounts in car repairs + a ridiculous fee for a lawyer to write up a simple contract (for the fab new house) = Me Stressed.

Thing is, we like to spend. I like thrift shops (hey - they're thrifty, I mean - it's in the NAME!). Kev likes microbrews. We both like live music (and festivals)

We don't spend extravagantly. We don't. You know, just a little here and a little there. : /

But it's cool. I mean, it sucks. But it's also cool. Or will be. Maybe.

This happens to us sometimes. The husband is a student. Which means no reliable income from his side. My income is pennies. Or close to it. So we scrimp and save and just get by. And then we do really well for a really long time, so we loosen up a little and treat ourselves just a little. And then a little more. And, well, we've already been over the Little Equation.

At any rate, it's good - or can be - when this happens. I mean, it's no fun being broke. Especially not during the summer. But it helps to recenter and remind us. It has us choosing the free little things again. We got the Empire Pass this year - so we don't have to pay to get into State Parks. Free hiking. Free Swimming at the beach(es).

And there's still other things too. The kiddie pool out back. Painting rocks. Examining bugs. Reading books. Making ice cream at home instead of going out for it. And on and on.

AND, it recommits me at home too. Reminds me how I wanted to sew up new couch pillows, and make aprons. Finding vintage aprons at rummage sales and thrift stores is fun (and addicting!) - but I can make my very own. For free, from my already huge fabric stash. And who knows, maybe someday some one will be scooping up my aprons at a rummage sale and squealing with joy at such a great vintage find. Or maybe one day my daughter in law or grand daughter will be cherishing those items. Vintage is fun, but homemade is cherished.

It also reminds me how important and wonderful our progress has been. By planting seeds for food this year, we have lettuce producing now - and cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, scallions and (hopefully!) broccoli on the way.

We've been slowly stocking our freezer with market meats. Fresh picked to freeze berries. Extra homemade bread. I've been learning to can.

We're not broke - just close :)

But this is a reminder that we are on the right path, that sometimes we may slip, but we have protection to catch us if we fall. We know how to get by on less. We have food. We have the tools to get by. It's also a reminder to keep on truckin'. To keep on saving. Simplifying. Stocking Up.

What's great is this next year will continue to bring us closer to our goals. The new house will give us the option of relying completely on wood heat. The woods are already bordered by raspberries and blackberries for picking and storing. There's enough land to get a respectable potager going. Composting.

We're on our way.

So yeah, this morning was a bit of a shock. A bit of a reawakening. But also a wonderful, timely reminder of what we really want, where we are really going, and what really matters.

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