So if you are living on a budget and trying to impose some hard-to-maintain limits on your spending, I have a simple tactic that works for me:
STAY AT HOME.
You know, that ‘stay-at-home’ part of SAHM??!? What percentage of your time are you actually at home? Carpooling & chauffer duty aside, how much time do you spend in your home? For me, with my kids still young, this percentage should be fairly high. I don’t need to be out galavanting every single day. And when I stay home, and make home the place I want to be, well, inevitably, we spend less money.
I would post a picture of our home, our sanctuary, the place we love to be. But my camera batteries have died and I cannot find the charger for the life of me. If I had a dog I would venture to guess that he ate it. I seriously have sat down to my computer several times in the last 3 days of searching wistfully yearning to type into a little google box: “where is my camera battery charger” and have it actually tell me! Or better yet, just search it in the images section and it could show me! ahhhh, the limitations of technology.
As for the 30 Days of Nothing, well…
It has been… well, hard.
It has been nothing like what I imagined it to be.
I guess I had very romantic notions of vast feelings of solidarity. Where are those? Instead, I feel isolated. I feel alone. I feel embarrassed to even say to friends that we as a family cannot (in this case, “will not”) attend certain functions or do certain things with them that cost money. Not this month. I feel like we are forced into lying and covering up…. is that what people go through who don’t have any money? The shame? They are ashamed of the real reason that they cannot do something so they make up a reason. Hmmm…. there is something there to be said for the way we have stigmatized the less-fortunate and made them to feel ashamed.
We had a day without running water. And as I crept to the bathroom to finally flush the toilet at midnight, I thanked God that I could. And you know, I reflected on the people who cannot. I do not mean those people in third world countries who simply do not have access to running water…as grave as that is. No, I reflected on those people in the cities where we live who for one reason or another do not have the means to pay for running water. They have the access but not the means. They wake up and can hear their neighbor’s shower running, or their landlord’s washing machine on spin cycle, or they see a neighbor watering his lawn….his lawn…. while they are in a drought.
The shame. It brings me back to the shame of it all. If they have no running water, their showers are few and far between at the Y or at friend’s and relatives homes. They cannot maintain the hygiene that you or I take for granted. And when they present themselves to the world at this less than commonly accepted level of hygienic standard….there is shame. And lies to cover the shame.
It is here that we must acknowledge the dignity of the human person and help eradicate shame.
1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth. With the help of grace they grow in virtue, avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son1 to the mercy of our Father in heaven. In this way they attain to the perfection of charity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
We continue on. Our fridge is a little more bare. Our hearts are full. And we prepare for a week ahead of centering ourselves and making our own contribution to our interior growth!