Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Anyway Project, One Small Change, and frugality in general

Along with the goals I’m working towards for the upcoming holidays listed in yesterday’s post for One Small Change, I’m working towards restructuring my lifestyle to be less focused on the influences of “modern” life by following Sharon Astyk’s The Anyway Project. My interpretation of this project is how you value things, how you let objects draw from your monetary and emotional reserves, and what you are willing to forego to reach a happy balance, all while considering what your actions do to the resources on the planet. (Pretty deep, and maybe off-target from the Project’s intentions, but that is my personal reading of it.) This month was spent just scratching the surface of what needs to be adjusted. Having seven areas for improvement seemed like an easy task. Daily commitments however, such as work, have an impact on this. This is where I stand after one month.

Domestic Infrastructure:
Additions are slowly being made to my small kitchen "pantry". I search the store flyers for storable items when I prepare my grocery list. Rest assured, I do not drive around to all the stores. I pick the one that will give me the best deal for that week and shop carefully, no impulse buys. After all, saving two dollars is a moot point when the trade off is four dollars in extra gas. (Please note that since I live in a city, where there are many grocery stores near me. It is almost silly that Stop and Shop has a store one-half mile from me heading either north or west!) Also, since one of my goals is to drive less, I combine stops into one trip or forego the item.

Household Economy:
I’ve updated my old budget spreadsheet. Limits have been set in all categories and I’ve determined how much to set aside each month for emergencies. I've scheduled an automatic transfer from my paycheck into a short-term savings account to build a reserve for property taxes.
I reviewed the allocations in my 401K. One fund wasn’t living up to expectations, so I researched the other funds and found a suitable replacement. (Something that needed to be done, anyway.)

Resource Consumption:
Regarding my drafty windows – I’ve seen a few online photos from folks who have restyled drop cloths into draperies. Considering their weight (thickness) and blocking drafts, I think this will fit my needs and my budget. I just need an inexpensive rod to hold the weight. Also, this week the plastic will go on my bedroom window after the forecasted unusual 60+ degree Wednesday.
Energy, in general - folks who have been reading my posts may remember that I have extensively cut back on energy usage, eliminating a television and the cable provider, using power cords on appliances, and replaced very old appliances, among other things.
Driving – for the next three weeks I’m tracking exactly how many miles I drive, and where (or why). I’m also asking myself “Do I really need to go there?” for each trip.

Cottage Industry and Subsistence:
I’ve gathered all the vintage items that I want to sell and I’m trying to source a consignment shop in this area.

Family and Community:
A nearby town is hosting a holiday evening on Dec 3rd, and I've asked a co-worker to join me. Also, the company holiday gathering is later in December.
I’ll be watching for the continuing ed flyers for the evening classes that start in January.

Outside Work:
Find ways to improve my workflow/workload – asked supervisor if a temporary worker in another office could help with a current project.

Time and Happiness:
Maybe something in the continuing ed classes?

There is much more to be done. Being much less dependent on that paycheck and being prepared for emergencies means starting now.

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