Hello fellow Wanderers, the more I read about our current situation, it makes me more aware of how incredibly uncertain the future is. I know there are many contradictions in the various forms of media, and it can be hard to determine who is right. I’m not here to tell you who is right or wrong because I don’t know, I’m here to make you think. What happens in six months from now? Are we really going ‘back to normal’? Did we like ‘normal’? Is the economy just going to forget everything that has happened? Are you?
Yikes, those are a little scary right? Let me explain why I’m asking you to think about all that. Big scary words keep getting tossed around… Depression, Recession, Unemployment, Permanent Closures, Food Shortages… Think about those words, what do they mean for you? For your family? Let’s be real here, enough ‘experts’ bring these words up daily, so that should be a sign that you (and me) have to prepare in some way. I’m not saying let’s all run out and build bunkers and hoard toilet paper, but maybe we should get ready for a different kind of lifestyle. What do I mean?
We have to change how we live. We’re used to living a consumer lifestyle. We buy buy buy, use use use and toss products daily with the assumption that we can just buy more later, right? Maybe that isn’t true anymore. Has anyone noticed the lack of really random products at the store? I don’t mean food, I mean candles in jars, bath towels, toasters, storage containers etc. those things are dwindling or totally gone. I went to a few different stores to be sure I wasn’t crazy and noticed it was a common trend at all of them. Sure, maybe the stores are not ordering these things because they aren’t that essential, but its proof that we can’t just go out and buy random things anymore. Plus there are the jobs to think about where we made the money to buy the random things. Those jobs are now uncertain. Many of us have been let go, laid off or put on standby. Will we truly get to go back? What will happen when we do? Lots of businesses are closing permanently because of lost revenue so that is something to think about too. Here’s what we should be doing.
Save Money: All of us should be putting away as much money as we can spare. Not to spend on toasters or candles but for bills and essential items. If you lose your job in a month from now or three months, you will need a way to pay for the basics or fill in the gaps for a while before you find another job. Saving money is something we all should have been doing to begin with, but we live a consumer lifestyle–and I really like buying candles and clothes–and that has got to change.
Learn to Garden: If you can replace just one item you buy weekly at the grocery store with your own home-grown stuff for a couple months, that can add up to quite a bit of savings. You don’t need acres of land to grow food. It’s becoming trendy to grow everything in pots, so really it can be very easy to grow on a balcony or big window. All you need is some good soil, sunlight and water and you can probably grow anything you want. Most herbs used for cooking can be grown in window pots indoors right in the kitchen. Squash and bush beans can be kept on a balcony and peas can be too as long as they have something to climb up. Each season has a variety of fruits and veggies that you can replace with homegrown.
Learn to Fix-It Yourself: I’m not that good at fixing things, but if something breaks and there is a way to fix it without having to replace it, I better learn. In just the three months I’ve been trapped inside and trying to save money and pay down debts, I’ve fixed a skirt I love that didn’t fit–my quaranbelly made it too tight. I built a garden space. I remade some old jars into storage containers and I changed out the radiator in my truck. None of these are huge fix-it things, but the more I can do the more money I’ll save. Plus with the internet, there are plenty of how-to videos that can be very helpful. If you can’t fix-it, find a local business to replace or repair it, so your money goes into the pocket of someone who really needs it.
Cook at Home: Now, I worked in hospitality for many years, so I am not about to take away the income of those who need it in that industry. Support that industry when you can, absolutely, and always tip generously. That being said; learn to cook. You don’t need to be a chef, but learning to make things you eat all week may be a good money saver. Bread for example is a good thing to learn to make–or delicious bagels. Instead of buying packaged cookies, make your own. Pasta sauce can be made with your homegrown tomatoes from the pot on the balcony if you find a good recipe. It can cost you less than 1 dollar to make homemade brownies versus buying them for $5.99 at the store. Its a huge money saver.
These are just a few things to make you (and me) think about what we’re really capable of. Do we really need to consume as much as we do? Why can’t we make things ourselves or fix good quality things so they last for a long time? When you do spend money, spend it at a small business and buy quality over quantity. The world is changing and if we do it right, we may end up making it better. We have the chance to bring back small towns, small communities and small businesses. We can go green by learning to reuse, buy quality and consume less. Maybe there will be a better ‘normal’ when we come out of this because humanity will have the opportunity to rediscover its roots.
Until next time, keep them boots wandering and those little towns filled with love.