Final stretch…

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!

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2 Responses to Final stretch…

  1. Bella says:

    You are so much fun but sound not as exciting as I see you drifting back and away from the simplicity idea.

    Maybe beside restraining ourselves from shopping it would help if we change a little bit some rooted ways of thinking. So, congrats on your progress and Cheer Up!

    Feeding 4 extra people during Thanksgiving for 4 days (and specially if they are family or friends), it’s not spending, it’s investing, it’s nurturing, it’s is enjoying life. Tip for next time: You didn’t need to feed them caviar…

    Santa list…yes! it’s brutal spending… I don’t know why but my son asked only for a lego set, and daughter is still clueless.

    Brainwash yourself with these ideas: 1) If you want Oprah to call change the date from Jan 2006 to Jan 10th 2008 at least, and she may call then. 2) You my be helpless but extending the experiment may reinforce simplicity in your kids. 3) After two years of savings you may be able to buy cash, the minivan or another bigger item (house in Toscana, a trip to India, Bangladesh or Alabama) without having to pay interests.

    Merry, merry Christmas and keep up with the example, think of all of those that will fall back behind you…in the rotten abissim of cruel, shameless, inmoral consumerism…

    🙂 🙂 ;-)))))))))))))))

  2. Pingback: NEAT LIVING BLOG - Neat Ideas for Living

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