A few weeks ago, I bumped into another grade 1 parent at the park, an acquaintance I knew from school events. As we chatted about our strange time since mid-March (working from home; restless but resilient kids; he hadn’t stepped foot in a store for 3 months...), he made an interesting remark:
We’ve looked at our bank account at the end of each month and thought, “what were we spending all that money on?!”
Many people have lost jobs or decreased employment this year. But, there are many others who have continued to generate the same salary, with reduced expenses.
Some everyday expenses were simply on pause and will eventually come back around (or have already by this point): haircuts, dentist appointments, errands deferred...
But, there are other missing expenses that, like my neighbour, may have you wondering: What even were we spending on? Did we even miss these expenditures?
I suspect that some of my neighbor’s mysterious spending could fall under the banner of “lifestyle creep”. Coffee shops, meals out at restaurants, birthday party gifts, idle spending while browsing the mall or the grocery aisles (this phenomenon doesn’t exist with online grocery shopping!)... etc. Not the essentials, but some of the things we spend on with discretionary money, as we have margin.
What a fantastic opportunity right now to re-assess this kind of spending!! To ask: does this kind of expenditure actually improve the happiness of my life? When I didn't do this or buy that, did I miss it?
For some of the subjects of these questions, the answer will be a clear yes, and some will be a (perhaps surprising) no.
We went for a dinner date and felt delighted to both enjoy the meal at a favorite restaurant and support a business that we want to succeed. On the other hand, Wayne also said that he had been getting a $5 coffee every time he delivered our parcels (pre-covid) and after the cafe re-opened, he felt like he only wanted to go once in a while.
Does this experience resound with you at all? What are the yes-worth-its and nah-maybe-nots that have arisen from a decrease in expenses? Share with me in the comments below, or email me.
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!]
A few stories, as I parse through the complexities of privilege & justice…
We spent time visiting in Dhomina’s relatively large home. The space had been expanded to include a separate cooking space — built upon because of the income she earned making kantha for Basha, for us. Amazing!