We’re entering our final month of consumer-free living. I’ve spent a lot of time lately asking myself “what’s next?” Will I return to the old Perri on January 10th? Will I shop till I drop? Will I emerge on the other side forever altered…wiser, richer, greener, five pounds heavier? Stay tuned to find out how we transition back into the “real world” of spending, shopping, and consuming. For now, it’s time to check in and run the numbers:
Q: Have we saved money?
A: Damn that trip to Old Navy. And feeding 4 extra people for 4 days at Thanksgiving, and starting to shop for Santa. Not such a good month on the wallet.
Q: Will we create less garbage?
A: We’re still maintaining–creating roughly 2 bags of garbage each week. Although talk to me after we open Christmas presents and I’m sure we’ll be singing a different tune. Did you realize that American’s create 25% more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Years? And that the amount of ribbon used to wrap gifts at Christmas could stretch around the entire globe? I don’t plan to wrap Christmas gifts in the Sunday funny papers, but I’m seeking out some better alternatives to traditional giftwrap.
Q: Will the kids learn from this experiment (and more importantly, did I purchase Baby Alive)?
A: I’m really proud of my kids this year. Their “Dear Santa” list was quite reasonable. My two year old only wants a rocket ship with batteries, some cleaning supplies and an Enya CD (this from the kid who was a fan for Halloween…what can I say, he’s one of a kind). My five year old wants an Easy Bake Oven, a Pogo Moon Hopper, and a Cabbage Patch Kid. I was able to convince her that cleaning up Baby Alive poop wasn’t going to be such a fun way to spend her Christmas vacation. Crisis averted.
Q: Will we cheat?
A: Again, damn that Old Navy. And so far I’ve only purchased Santa gifts, but I’ve decided that in addition to Greendimes, I want to purchase a few additional gifts for my family. This was not part of the initial plan, so officially, it’s cheating. I’m trying to be reasonable and put a lot of thought into the gifts…but at the end of the day, I’m still buying stuff.
Q: Will we feel free?
A: I still find myself wrestling with a lot of “I want…” or “If we only had…” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if we, too, could buy…” and I’m spending a lot of time wondering “When is Oprah going to call?”. There are times when I think back to the stuff I wanted early on (e.g. the black cashmere turtleneck, the minivan, the overhaul of our master bathroom) and I realize that, although I still want them, I don’t want them quite as badly.
We’re in the final stretch with the holidays ahead of us. Thanks for reading and keeping us honest!