Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Drop in the Bucket

Today I have been thinking a lot about the little things.

Yesterday (or the day before?  I can't remember) I read this post by The Thrifty Couple, and it got me thinking.  While I am a frugal person by nature, my frugality is mainly governed by a natural lack of interest in acquiring stuff, and a native dislike of spending.  I'm not really all that good at being intentional with our resources.  I can be wasteful; I can be lazy.  I forget to plan ahead.  I can sometimes despair because I don't see a way from point A - where we are - to point B - where we want to be.

Here's what got to me, from the post linked above: "When you’re trying to cut a few pounds, you don’t just mindlessly graze on the snack jar next to your chair – you intentionally consider how that and every decision you make will help you towards your final goal.  Its the same whether its your budget, your spending, earning extra income or any other decision you are working on.  If you have your end goal in mind and decide the next step based on that goal, you will have a much higher success rate." 

When I read this a great big light bulb just went off in my head.  NOW you're speaking my language!  See, I gain weight when I'm pregnant.  News flash, right?  Except I gain a LOT of weight - usually 50 or 60 pounds.  With each pregnancy I tell myself it's not going to happen again - but so far, no luck.  So, I spend my time in between pregnancies trimming some of that back off, and over the years I have become intimately familiar with the mechanics of calorie-counting and weight loss, at least as it works out for me.

So I understand that successfully losing weight requires commitment to the little choices.  You don't lose a lot at a time.  You don't starve yourself for a month and be done.  You eat a little less than you need, day in, day out, for months.  You don't feel like you are getting anywhere, usually, because it is so slow.  You have setbacks; some are your fault and some are not.  You want to just forget it!  Avoiding such a modest amount of food, through so many pitfalls and errors, seems insignificant, pointless.  But, barring other circumstances, it all adds up if you persist!

Thinking about our finances this way is so INCREDIBLY encouraging, I really can't adequately express it.  I am the kind of person who knows I need to save money, but I will not bother to stop a $5 monthly bill that I don't benefit from.  I will throw away bread scraps rather than taking a minute to freeze them for future use.  Because, what possible good will saving a few cents on bread do, in the face of the rather daunting goals we have set ourselves?  Just a drop in the bucket...

But now I am realizing that that is the key:

Just a drop in the bucket.

What is a bucket full of, anyway?

Just a bunch of drops.  If you have ever put a bucket under a slow dripping leak, and then forgotten about it for (ahem) awhile...and had it fill up and get my point.

I love thinking about it this way.  It's encouraging to remember that small, slow progress is REAL PROGRESS, and will eventually get somewhere, God willing!

Be blessed -

Linked up at: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways  and also at:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where I've been...

So, some of you wonder where I am, I suppose.

Call it writer's block...
or mother's exhaustion...
or my tendency to have a few too many irons in the fire.

It's been one of those kind of months where if you asked me, "So what have you been up to?"  I would probably say, "Ummm...I don't really remember.  We've gotten pretty muddy..."  Not because we haven't done anything, but in my life sometimes the wild, endless flurry of activity kind of all blends together.

On my agenda...
  • Clean off that dresser.  You know, the one I pile everything on now that the rest of my bedroom is clean.  I think I keep putting it off because I know that once I do, there will be nowhere to pile things.  Ah...then what?
  • Make a plan for the last quarter of school.  Time to survey how far we have come, how much is left to do, and prioritize what has to get done, and what can be good enough.  Because, it's time to admit that there are a few books we're not going to finish.  Tell me I'm not alone! :-) 
  • Make a plan for summer school.  We don't school year round, and we don't do much bookwork in summer...but we do do a little, and I also like to use summer to increase our focus on life skills, crafts, individual interests, etc.  
  • Think about next year and begin to budget for new books.  This is a love/hate project.  I hate spending money.  I love buying books!
  • Clamp down on the grocery budget.  I am Sisyphus...
  • Plant the garden once our absurdly late frost date rolls around.
How about you?  Is your school year preparing for the end, or do you zip along all year?