It's budget time of year here. My wonderful husband is the Deacon in our Church who heads up the Finance Committee. I am also responsible for setting the budget this year for our Ladies Ministry, after taking on responsibility for that ministry a few months ago. We are also continuing to work on our personal family budget. So my days are filled, after chores, with various spreadsheets full of budgets. Until this year the Church Secretary has done the administrative side of budget season, but it has now become my job, as my beloved's secretary. I must confess I rather enjoy the challenge. I like to keep my mind busy, and thinking through layouts, formulas, and sub-headings on spreadsheets gives my mind a little extra exercise.
It is not lost on me that I am taking this one as we are deep into a recession. Money is tight everywhere. We live on one income, in a two income society, so I am very aware of how every cent counts. Now that I have got used to prices over here and actually thinking in dollars, it is great timing to be surrounded by this work. It is making me evaluate where the money goes. At the same time I don't want to get caught in the trap of a "poverty mentality" and never be able to enjoy a luxury or two occasionally.
I really enjoy Italian food. I also really enjoy cooking Italian food. My favourite thing is a freshly made tomato sauce with basil and garlic served with some homemade ravioli. I want to cook from scratch, but fresh tomatoes are way too expensive compared to tinned tomatoes. Somehow the taste is so much better when the tomatoes are fresh. So last weekend we went to Walmart and got a few tubs for the patio, some potting soil and a couple of tomato plants. We also picked up a basil plant for the herb tub. I already had pepper seedlings I had grown from the seeds of a couple of peppers we ate recently. We deliberately picked two different varieties of tomato. One will be ready for harvest in about 7 weeks and the other about 4 weeks after that. We also picked up some organic tomato seeds that I will start in another few weeks. This will give us a bountiful harvest of tomatoes to provide months worth of fresh tomato sauce. A true luxury that will cost more in time than money. Already my mouth is watering in anticipation of the first batch ready for the pot.
Are other recent luxury decision was regarding our drinking water. My beloved used to suffer from kidney stones, which he has assured me is more painful than childbirth could ever possibly be. He was told it was probably caused by a mineral build up from the water he consumes. So he switched to bottled purified water. This was great for him while it was one person living on one income. But with me at home all day our water consumption rose more than double. After months of discussion and research we finally found our answer in a Berkey Water Filter. It arrived on Tuesday, and I got it set up Wednesday morning. I got to enjoy the water first, and it tasted so good I had no problem motivating myself to drink water all day. Then Rob got home and had his first taste. He loved it too, so much he thought it tasted a lot like the normal water from my home area in Scotland. It was an investment, but it will easily pay for itself in less than eight months, and it's healthier than either mains water or purified water.
So my goal for the rest of the year is to find at least one idea a month that will save on spending while adding to the sense of luxury in our lives. Afterall our lives are to be enjoyed rather than endured.
With a break from spreadsheets fulfilled, it's back to budget work until dinner.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.