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.
Birthday gifts! For any age, receiving gifts is a delight.
But, giving gifts... can become overwhelming. Like a wave that comes reliably and relentlessly, everyone has a birthday every year!
Here are some ideas & tips for streamlining awesome birthday gifting.
It all started with a wedding.
Did you know that the first blanket we ever bought was for a wedding gift?
We knew about Basha, and I loved the blankets. But, we were living the student-life at the time; I wasn’t spending $4 on a coffee, much less $100 on a blanket — no matter how much I loved it!
This is a question I was posed by someone I love, someone who knows me and what I do. But this was a rant borne, I think, of the powerlessness and overwhelm of learning more about the world; of being faced with the cruelty & despair of suffering; of coming to see — and really feel — the frustration that some people with money, power, & influence, continually wield it unjustly with no end or recourse in sight.
Do I know what a big problem human trafficking is?
Yes, it is a big problem. Yes, I am aware of it.