We had the pleasure of our friend Jill's company for dinner last night, in addition to W surprising us and coming home for the weekend. The food was simple, Joe is a master of throwing a few things together and coming up with something that is very tasty and nutritious. It was a spur of the moment invitation and worked out perfectly for everyone.
The fact that we (ok, J) made a wonderful meal out of what we already had got me to thinking: this is something that is very easy to do. In the past, we've thought nothing of running out to the store to pick up a few extra ingredients to make a meal, or get a special dessert at Trader Joe's. Since gas prices have skyrocketed, we've been trying to do one or two big shops a week and if we need something additional, such as milk, we'll walk to the store to get it. When you to walk, it really makes you think: "do I truly need this, or is it just something I want?" Oftentimes, it's the latter.
All those little trips to the store for extras add up, $8 here or $10 there, in addition to the gas, on things we didn't really need. So, last night when we found out Jill and W would be joining us, we talked about picking up a few extra things for the meal.... but then we paused a moment and thought: "wait a sec, the meal will be fine without those extra ingredients." How accustomed we are to purchasing things for pleasure, not necessity.
If we can apply this to our food shopping, what else can we apply it to? Anything and everything we purchase! I've read that before any major purchase its good to use the 30 day rule, in which when you want to buy something, you should wait a month and then see if you still feel the same way about the item. I know if I employed this rule, after the month had passed, I'd probably have forgotten all about what I wanted to buy!
I know it probably sounds crazy, but I do believe this recession has many good aspects to it, as evidenced by the example above. It's really making us think about how we spend our money, what is important and the difference between need and want. Even though times are difficult for us right now, and surely they are much more difficult for those who have less than we do, I think its important for us to be grateful for what we have; to look at the way we live and what is important to us. I think that given some time a more frugal way of living is going to come naturally to us and hopefully it will get us away from consumerism and the emptiness that brings. I hope that then we will be able to say we are living a more authentic and satisfying life. Happy Friday!