Monday, October 29, 2007

Simple Living . . .

There seems to be some question about whether or not our economy is headed for a recession. I don't know about that, but I do know that Jackie Wellwood is on the right track, for more than one reason.
In her book The Busy Mom's Guide to Simple Living, Wellwood talks about simple living as if it were, well, simple. In one sense it is, but it's also hard.
Take doing things for yourself, for instance.
You have to know how to do things for yourself before you can save the money she refers to, and in the meantime, learning can be expensive.
Cooking is a good example. Convenience foods are usually, well, convenient (except for hauling them in from the car) but they are also expensive and often, nutritionally deficient. That doesn't mean we don't use them around here, but we try to keep it to a minimum.
As a young wife I knew how to cook, sort of. My cooking consisted of an awful lot of opening cans and jars and boxes. The idea of making anything besides chocolate chip cookies from scratch intimidated me into a good nap.
Our family grew faster than our income, though, and pretty soon I figured out that if I could trim our grocery budget it would help us have money for things like, oh, the electric bill. So I went to work, learning to cook inexpensively – which meant those lovely cans, jars, and boxes became scarce in our kitchen, while whole chickens, raw potatoes, and bags of flour and sugar became staples.
It took time and it wasn't simple or pretty for awhile, but I learned! I can do all kinds of things for myself in the kitchen now that I used to expect would be already done for me – scratch cakes and pies; homemade mashed potatoes; spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes . . . and it all seems to taste better, and the house smells cozy and warm – but it wasn't simple!
There are all kinds of things we can learn to do that eventually result in saving money, and once we learn to do them are actually fun. Sewing, for instance, and mending. Changing the oil on our vehicles. Gardening for food and pleasure. Those things enrich our lives and eventually, our bank accounts.
Simplicity lies in being able to do those things for our own selves, without relying on someone else to do them for us; we gain a certain pride in self-sufficiency, as well as comfort in knowing how things are done.
Simple, not always easy, but worthwhile.

No comments: