That's what our accountant called it
when we were discussing our taxes recently.
I am a planner - not much for surprises,
especially if they impact my finances.
Mr. LB and I have had several talks about this.
Haven't we all?
We don't have a crystal ball.
(Voodoo dolls maybe, but no crystal balls - heeheehaha. Not really.)
So what do we do?
We live pretty organically - that word seems cliche any more.
But we are not extravagant.
We've decided that the best thing we can do is to get ourselves
into the best situation we can be in heading into the unknown.
There are hundreds of posts and tips on "how to save money."
This is a little different.
We've been rolling along on cruise control,
not paying much attention to the fuel gauge.
We don't give it much thought when we expect
a fuel station around every corner.
Isn't it pertinent to top off the tank when we have the chance?
That's what we are doing.
We don't generally carry debt but do still have a mortgage on the mountain house as well as rent here in town.
Many folks have at least one or the other and possibly other debt.
In the last post,
I spoke of circles.
I like circles. They flow with no abrupt corners.
We can't omit a portion of the circle and still call it a circle.
There have been several breaks in our circles recently:
supply/demand, social, travel, and on and on.
We've been fortunate in that we haven't had to cope
with a real travesty as a whole society.
Instead of trying to "save money" so to speak,
we are trying to build security.
"Saving money" implies that we are still going to spend it
and purchase whatever products, just for a lesser amount.
Building our security is an attempt to eliminate as many expenditures
as possible so that we are no longer dependent on those items.
It's not a simple task!
I already track our expenses and challenge myself to try to set new lows.
Now, the challenge will be to completely eliminate
as many of the expenses as possible.
To do this, we must prioritize those things that cost money.
In looking at what we spend money on,
I'll put those in order of importance.
Obviously, those items towards the bottom of the list
will be the first items nixed.
I'm not trying to make predictions or
saying anything awful is going to happen.
I hope it doesn't,
but like the accountant said, we just don't know.
There are a few things we are doing now
"just in case."
As always, I am continually trying to lower our power bill.
I've mentioned before, where we live now,
everything is electric - not my first choice.
We are keeping our possessions in good repair.
From changing the oil in rigs to mending clothes, and
making healthy personal choices.
Now is not a time to take our health for granted.
Whatever our things are that we have,
we are keeping them up the best we can.
By doing so, we are decreasing our chance for needing them
repaired or replaced down the road.
That one alone can seem a little tedious.
It's like nagging at myself to get some of those little tasks done.
As spring progresses,
I am planting the garden - still kinda early here.
I even planted the garden up the mountain.
I planted carrots, onions, beets, beans, and lots of spaghetti squash.
The deer don't bother those things (as much) and they are
pretty low maintenance.
If it comes down to it, we will have the extra food.
It would make for a pretty boring diet, but it would be food that stores well.
Here at home, I am planting a "normal" garden with items
that will require a little more care and proper preserving.
If all goes well and the garden up the mountain produces,
we will just have lots to preserve and/or share with others.
I'm keeping our stores topped off of things that we use
to make our own household cleaning and hygiene supplies.
It is amazing how with just a few items/ingredients, we can actually make
most of the things used to clean ourselves and our homes.
If you think about it,
they didn't have all the variety of products in the past
and were able to keep their homes and families clean.
Again, this takes some doing.
We've been moving this direction for years,
but now it seems 'there is a chance' that it might be necessary.
Again, maybe not.
I know many of you already do quite a few of these things.
If it's all new to you, and you're just digging in,
start with what you can and build from there.
Right now, at least here, most things are still available.
I know it might be different in different areas.
We're just trying to top off that tank a bit :-)
We are really evaluating what money goes out
and if there is a way of eliminating the expense.
Just to get the juices flowing,
here are a few of the things we no longer purchase:
paper towels, laundry detergent, fabric softener, soap, saran wrap,
waxed paper, napkins, shampoo and conditioner, multiple misc. cleaners,
toothpaste, deodorant (for me), furniture polish, air fresheners,
packaged foods, candy, seasoning mixes (taco, chili, etc.), garbage bags,
lotion, internet, television, games, lawn and garden fertilizers, . . .
(I'm still thinking. At first all I could think of was paper towels.)
A few things we will purchase until we really can't:
coffee, tea, olives - we can't grow these things where we live.
Hubby just went to the little place where we buy bread
and on occasion a few produce items.
They use/provide all organic items so he can actually have their bread.
While he was waiting for the kind he wanted to come out of the oven,
there was a gentleman about 30ish who walked in to talk to the owner.
He was looking for work and/or a handout
since he's not able to work right now.
He evidently said he couldn't afford food or diapers.
(They had stepped outside so Hubby didn't hear them.)
That puts the owner in a tough situation.
He wants to help, but he has to make money too.
He's already paid for the supplies and ingredients to make the foods.
If people are paying for diapers right now when they can't afford food,
I would question their ways.
I mean that in a "Are they aware there is another option?" sorta way.
Every household has its own ways and capabilities.
There are no right or wrong ways, just different ways.
Some ways cost a little more than others,
and that can even vary by what prices are in different areas.
I will say, this is where there was value in having
multi-generational homes in past times.
A grandma could mend clothes for the family and
help the mother in the kitchen
while those who could were out working.
There were rolls, and it took everyone doing their part to make it work.
For a single person or a couple (like Mr. LB and me)
that makes quite a bit for each person to take care of.
And on the other side of that, there is far less in the way of
laundry, food prep. etc than with a large family.
It will be interesting to see if changes occur
once we are able to get back to "normal" whatever that might be.
My hope is that we heed warning and make positive changes.
This has become a lengthy post
and rather heavier than usual,
but there is definitely a bright side.
We have options and opportunities to improve upon what we know.
We still have access to most of what we need.
If there's something on the list above that you are curious about,
just leave a comment.
Likewise, if there's something that you don't purchase and have found
a better way or option, please let us know.
We can be here for each other.
The more we share, the better off all of us will be.
And one last little note:
The dogwoods and lilacs are blooming.
They are absolutely stunning!
Don't forget to recognize your blessings.