Well. What a hiatus that was. It's been about three months since I've written anything, I didn't even post my last budget vs. actual but will soon. I'm also going to be playing catch-up on the months I've missed documenting what I spent each month.
I'm not sure why I stopped posting so suddenly and for so long. I could say it was because of work and this is our busy time or this or that. But I think I just got nervous. Maybe that people weren't reading what I was writing, or that I sounded naive or unintelligent. Maybe afraid of failing? At what, I don't know. I am a firm believer that it is better to try than to not try at all. Because of this, I'm finding it hard to explain my absence.
What I do know is that I've actually missed coming here and posting, realizing that I really am doing this for myself, because I enjoy it, and not for the validation of readers (although, I am surprised by the stats recently even without new posts).
So, I'd like to apologize for the abrupt lack of writing, to anyone who may be reading, but mostly to myself. I am going to try to not get in my own way again.
One of the largest expenses I have is groceries. I could certainly lower my grocery spending if I stuck to cheap foods like pasta, rice or beans and bought conventionally raised meat. But that's not what I want to eat and I budget accordingly for what I do want to buy. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with buying the above-mentioned items, I just like to keep those things out of my diet for personal and health reasons.
I also love the idea of harvesting food from your own backyard. Fresh produce that wasn’t treated with chemicals that taste amazing and help the environment at the same time. I live in an apartment and can’t do that on my own so this summer I decided to volunteer at a local community garden. I wanted to learn about soil health and just how to garden in general because I know almost nothing about it. It has provided such great food, and in large quantities where I haven’t had to buy any produce! I’m eating food I grew myself and not having to pay anything! It gets me so jazzed.
This week I brought home potatoes, onions, Swiss chard, Hungarian hot peppers, green beans, and cucumbers. You can see all the beautiful freshness in the photo above. This will most definitely feed the both of us until next week’s grocery trip. I'll even have to give some cucumbers away because we will not waste food!
Do you ever look around your home and feel a sense of dread? Claustrophobia? Anxiety? I did, and still do sometimes. I hate that feeling and it only happens when the apartment is messy or cluttered. Sometimes it’s clothes strewn onto the floor. Sometimes it’s dishes in the sink. Mostly, it was the overwhelming lack of space due to all the things we owned.
I previously talked about growing up low-income. That means I didn’t always get the things that I wanted or thought was important. When I finally got the freedom that comes with turning 18 and getting my own apartment, I thought the world was mine! Little did I know that that would come to bite me in the butt about 5-10 years later. My boyfriend was the same way. We were natural spenders and it showed.
We accumulated things. Just stuff. I can’t even describe all that we bought, it was useless. I mean, maybe it brought some short-term enjoyment like books, movies, or clothes. But the fact that I can’t even tell you where entire annual incomes went should tell you something.
Finally, I just got tired of it. I’ve had many sudden eye-opening moments and this was one, and it correlated with my desire to spend less and save more. I saw everything that was in our home and noticed that hardly any of it brought any joy to our lives. We started to purge. Purge, and purge some more. Books, movies, clothes, kitchen supplies, clothes, shoes, blankets, clothes. It was mostly clothes. Most were donated to the YWCA, some sold online or in rummage sales. It felt great. All these things were taking up not just physical space, but mental space. Every time we would see these items, they would register in our minds like an inventory system and how we never used any of it.
We are constantly re-evaluating what we own and determining if it’s something we want in our lives. Sentimental attachment is becoming easier to separate from because we know that it’s better to be free from things than to be attached to items. It’s a constant work in progress but something we are constantly working one.
If this is something you can relate to, try to look around your own space and find one or a couple things to donate on your next drive into town or to work. Also check out The Minimalists and their documentary on Netflix called Minimalism. It’s totally okay to not become as extreme as the people in the video, but the message is so freeing! What is something that you are holding onto but isn’t bringing you joy?