As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I’ve started cutting back. This Monday was banner day number one wherein a huge amount of stuff left the house either via the trash bag or to the Childrens Home (I called them and dropped off clothing, toys, and kids movies the next day). The job is by no means done, but it felt good to make such a big start.
I’ve also added a few folks to my blogroll who are doing the same thing, and were my inspiration – if you’re so inclined, check out Chris, Nita and Rachel when you get a moment. They are all at various stages of this journey, and we all have different approaches. I learn something from each one of them.
It was Rachel who blogged about “eating what you have“. This hit me when I read it. Too often I will go to the store and end up buying more food that gets stuffed into already full freezers and cabinets. And when do we ever eat this stuff? So I’ve resolved to make more of an effort to make our meals out of food already in the house, as much as possible. So what if we eat frozen veggies with waffles? What’s wrong with that? Tonight it was bologna sandwiches for the girls (leftover salad for me) and they thought it was great fun to spread their own condiments on. We have oodles of packaged foods, both frozen and non-perishable. If I wanted to get militant about this, we could probably keep grocery purchases to milk and the occasional fresh vegetable and fruit for quite some time. But I don’t want to get militant – I want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. The ironic thing is, I bought a chest freezer last September so I could stock up on things when they go on sale. And now I see there is probably little need for this – eat down what’s in the ole freezer and there should be plenty of room to stock what we actually will eat.
One thing cutting back does not mean to me, at least not explicitly, at least not yet, is saving money. While I do expect this to be a natural side effect of not doing so much shopping and bringing in more stuff, that is not my primary goal. For instance, I will confess to being a bit of a gadget head, and we do own a 42 inch flat screen TV with accompanying HD cable and DVR service. I also just recently signed up for Netflix (because of the TV writers strike!). And I tell myself I deserve these “luxuries” because as a single mom with no support system, I don’t do anything. Those are my treats to myself. For now. I may decide, especially as the girls get older (and are therefore staying up later!) that TV needs to take more of a backseat in our lives. And the cable bill will go down substantially. Which will be nice. But right now, not my goal.
Something cutting back definitely does mean to me is, less stuff. I don’t need it, my kids don’t need it. K just had a birthday where she got a lot of stuff from friends at her party. B’s birthday is coming up and we’ll live through this again. I wish I had a way to combat this. Part of the fun of birthdays for kids is being the center of attention and opening gifts from their friends. I have read stories of some kids choosing to forgo gifts and raising money with their friends to contribute to a charity, or other variations. I admire these kids. I don’t know how to get my kids to do the same, and I would never force it on them. When K turned 4 she attended a school where a lot of the families were receiving public assistance and I didn’t want anyone to feel a gift was necessary to attend. So when I sent out invitations I specified that the only presents we wanted were their presence….and still everyone brought a gift. In fact, much to my surprise, two children who were unable to attend the party gave her a gift anyway! But all that is beside the point. My point, and I do have one, is that I want to start spending our money on experiences, rather than things. I just need to figure out a way to explain this to my children.
It’s Friday night and I’m now going to take my glass of wine and watch a TV show that has been previously recorded by my DVR. Because I’m worth it! 🙂