Monday, August 17, 2009

Money Monday: August 17, 2009

*sniff-sniff!* Ah! That new project smell!…smells like a need for seed money…hmmmmmm…yes, I am definitely detecting the piquant undertones of a spending fast

OK, all kidding aside, this is both part of the whole project and a means to get to a certain end, to wit, having the extra capital I need to buy the raw materials I need in order to start replacing the ready made with the home made.

A spending fast is a lot like the detox phase of a diet. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

The wrong way would be to spend the whole time thinking about what you’re going to buy the instant this spending fast thing is over. I’ve watched people succeed and fail at diets through the years, and I have to admit one of the common threads in the ‘failed diet’ group has been that the person dieting spent the entire diet obsessing about what they would eat at the diet’s end.

As soon as I’ve reached my goal weight, I’m going to plow myself face-first into the very things that got me into this overweight state in the first place and never come up again even if I LITERALLY drown in the pudding!

Same thing goes for a spending fast. If you spend the whole time thinking about all the stuff you can’t wait to buy, you’ll spend yourself right back into the mess you’re trying to escape within days of lifting your spending fast.

The right way (at least if you want the change to stick) is to embrace it as the first step of a brave new way of life.

For me right now, you know, duh. I’m talking about really stepping off the consumer treadmill, and getting into a kind of…modern day homesteading, I guess. Using my natural resources, from my land to my time and talents, to provide for our needs. Making money more by not spending it than by actually having cash flowing into our accounts.

A spending fast is only natural.

Generally speaking, you do a spending fast because you’ve got somewhere else you need the money to go. Debts or large purchases are the usual suspects.

I need the money to go straight into things like a second-hand tiller if I can find one (or renting one if I can’t), packages of seed, fruit tree saplings, more Mason jars, raw materials for crafting…in other words, I need to be shaving money out of immediate consumption to put it into another immediate need.

So, I’m fasting in the midst of plenty. I’m avoiding the supermarket, and convenience foods in all their forms. No quick hot dog at the Costco after an exhausting battle with fifty pound sacks of flour and sugar; no throwing a box of macaroni and cheese at the problem of what to make for dinner after a particularly insane day.

As those things are used up, they aren’t being replaced.

Instead, that money is going into those other things. Buying raw materials to make the things we used to buy, and some of the tools I need to do that. Buying the food we hope to be producing ourselves next year, in the same form we’ll be getting it from our own backyard. Raw, ripe and desperately needing to be eaten or preserved immediately.

Logistically, the spending fast is nothing new to me. I use them all the time to get things I want that I otherwise couldn’t afford. Sometimes, I even use them just to remind myself just how few things I actually need; it’s an excellent way to put the brakes on a rampaging case of the Gimmies.

But it still feels very different, probably because if I succeed at what I’d like to do, it’s not a temporary kind of thing this time.

If I succeed, I won’t be buying many cans of corn in the future.

If I win, all the things that are “give ups” now will be “not needed anymores” next year.

It still charms me…but at the same time, as each empty can or box hits the recycling bin and I find myself contemplating how, exactly, I’m going to replace that food with something I’ve grown at home or bought with other things produced here in the Den…I feel rather like I’ve decided to eat an elephant.

I’m really not sure I’m woman enough for what I’ve so cheerfully put on my plate.

But, having very little common sense and perhaps an over-enthusiastic confidence in my ability to at least give whatever crazy thing I’ve undertaken a good college try…I’m still game.

And as we eat what we already have here in the Den and I avoid automatically replenishing the boxes and cans and bags, already cash is starting to magically appear in my checkbook.

It really is true, you know…the fastest way to double your money is to fold it once, and stick it back into your wallet…


Anonymous said...

Regarding the tiller: I'd recommend you rent one and till up everything. After your soil gets nice and amended with compost you don't need it anymore. If you don't walk on the garden beds you won't even need to turn them with a shovel. Warning though: the tiller is heavy and hard to manage. I thought I could do it, but my husband ended up tilling the bed for me.

Firegarnet said...

Our soil is mostly rock so I'm building lasagna beds - layered composting really, to plant into. Similar idea to yours, really. Next summer I will be canning tomato paste and diced tomatoes (the main thing we buy canned). Several herbs will go in, and lots of garlic and green onions, some bell peppers etc. At some point blueberries, grapes, avocado trees, apple trees, and such will follow. I want it all now. But eventually, we'll get there. I do draw the line at flour. Like you, we simply don't have enough land!Good Luck!

Unknown said...

this is starting to sound like your SECOND book. ;-)

Caitlan said...

"As those things are used up, they aren’t being replaced."

I got shivers.