Which budget covers haircuts?
We just wrapped up week one of our 100-day limited spending challenge! We don’t have any spending to report this week. With the pantry, fridge, and freezers full, we haven’t needed anything yet. Last year we focused on food, this year we are trying to stop all the unnecessary spending in the whole budget. The biggest challenge so far is finding all the little leaks in the budget that I would normally spend money on. Unconscious spending will quickly deflate our limited budget if i'm not careful. Think of my budget like a tire that leaks air. The spending freeze is like putting the inner tube of this leaky tire in a pail of soapy water and looking for the bubbles that tell you where the leaks are. Turns out they are everywhere! It is so easy to spend.
Day one began with a fun challenge. Steven had forgotten to get his hair cut before we started. "No problem," I said. "I've cut it before and we have all day." To clarify, I have cut his hair before, once like fifteen years ago. Apparently, the results were acceptable, but it never really caught on. However, to this day, we have kept a barely used basic haircut kit under the sink in the bathroom. "Do you want to look up how to cut hair?" he inquired politely. I took this as acceptance of my offer, and confidently said, "No, I can just wing it." I was thinking at the time that if I totally messed it up it would quality as an emergency and would therefore be covered in a different budget.
However, let the record state that Steven, who apparently really does trust me agreed at this point for me to cut his hair, and also that while he was away, I quickly looked up several YouTube tutorials on how to do a basic men's haircut, and tried to quickly commit the steps to memory. Steven and I were very pleased with the results, but so far no one else has taken me up on my offer to cut their hair. My oldest who was concerned I would somehow talk him into a home style haircut, went the next day to get a professional cut paying his own way. My youngest was very interested in the process of cutting her own hair. Way too interested! Speaking of emergency budget items, I probably need to find those scissors!
Less shopping, less waste
One week into our challenge we still have a counter full of fruit and a bin of veggies in the fridge that need to be used up. Shopping usually works like this. I look at the ads, find the deals, go shopping and return with bags full of perfect fresh food. The beautiful produce fills me with visions of healthy home cooked meals filled with gorgeous vegetables. Mentally, I'm committed to this plan, I might even make a great menu. I do try, and we do have some great meals, but it turns out that this whole-food plant based cooking thing that we do takes more than a fridge full of veggies and a menu. Frequently, when I get busy or I'm tired, I don't make the healthy and delicious meal I intended when I went shopping. On garbage night I guiltily slip the leftover limp cucumbers, brown lettuce, slimy celery and other shriveled fruits to an ignominious burial in the bin. When the weather is warm enough, they get a more merciful burial in the compost pile, but it is the same guilt.
This week I am trying harder to use the veggies before they expire. Whole-food plant based cooking can take a lot of time, but a few tricks help me save my produce and time. On my "clear the fridge Friday", I'll dice and saute carrots, celery and onions and freeze them into packets that are easy to add to soups. We will make a LOT of banana muffins and freeze them for later. Maybe I can give some away. Heads up, if you end up with a plate of these on your doorstep, just know I’m trying my best to waste less and save the planet, and the tastiest way I can think of is sending my three big bunches of bananas to banana heaven in the form of big beautiful muffins. Seriously it is a fantastic recipe.
Do we miss anything yet?
There is some excitement in coming up with a great plan and acting on it right away. One thing we are adjusting to is not running out to the store whenever we want. I have five fabulous drivers in the house who can all run errands and drive places. Choosing to make do with what we have on hand is a great challenge. Online shopping is another thing I miss. It is so easy to order whatever we need. I never have loved shopping in stores, but I really like the convenience and selection of online shopping and packages that come right to my front step.
Speaking of online ordering, we are looking forward to our 2020 spring plant sale! We are getting out the catalogs and making lists of what to order (business expenses like seeds don't count against my challenge). If you see something amazing in your seed catalog that you really want to try this year let us know! If you had a favorite last year that you want to make sure we are still going to grow, send us a message or email. We can start them for you and have your seedlings ready to go in the spring. We have had several requests already and we are getting excited about the spring lineup. Now that is the kind of shopping I really do like to do. Let's go!