My friend P realized that over the summer, she had unwittingly been spending a lot of money at Starbucks. For one, they were often heading out for adventures out & about, so she was stopping in the drive-through in their neighbourhood rather than lingering over a homemade drink at home. Her kids out of school meant more people in the car requesting their own hot chocolates or iced teas or whatever, adding up more quickly than usual. By the fall, the unthinking minimal treat expense had become a full-blown, costly habit. This reflected a bigger trend in their spending habits that had developed in the midst of some stressful family goings-on.
The financial situation, months later when they were forced to reckon with their decisions, was overwhelming and stressful; it needed immediate lifestyle changes. But, she also knew that going from full-on to cold-turkey would be unrealistic. If she tried, she knew it would just result in failure, disappointment, and discouragement. So, she decided to budget for $15/week at Starbucks: enough to get herself a couple of things a week, or splurge once for the whole family.
I respected so much that she had the wisdom to set herself up for success and to create a goal that was realistic & attainable.
You may be very financially stable, but it’s easy for little things like this to run away with any of us (and our spare change).
I believe that we have a chance to start anew every single day of the year, but certainly, times like the New Year are great opportunities for assessment. If you want to “do better” in 2016, start with one item, one area. Create a little budget, and stick to it.
Dig around through your expenses; there may be one area that perhaps became the norm over the holidays but wasn’t previously. Maybe it is coffee at a coffee shop or meals on the go. Maybe you bought fancy cheese for some holiday hosting and now it’s nestled itself into the regular grocery list. Maybe it is booze or soda, which are such a prevalent part of holiday consumption that they may have become the norm (guilty!)
If you are consuming any of these things at a higher rate than before, do an estimate on the difference (say, currently vs. what you were spending in October). Do a little quick math on what the difference would be if you add it up over a month, or a year. If you’re happy with the results and have the resources to sustain it: great! If it seems unreasonable to you ($200/year on havarti cheese?!), tackle that one thing and make a change.
No judgment. No guilt. Just you & your wallet. I am a champion of the small steps!
(Photo courtesy of Friends of Basha)
Reflections from my experience visiting a Brothel in Bangladesh
As impossible as it is for me to believe now, earlier in 2020 I flew around the world. The primary objective was to visit Bangladesh and see, in person, the life-changing work in which dignify has had the privilege to participate over these past 8 years.
A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).
I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.
But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention?
And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?
Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!
[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]