Change One: Tracking Expenses

One of the first changes we made towards trying to live a tiny life was track our income and expenses. Neither of us are particularly good at such things, though R is much better at it than I am. First step was to put a box right by the door into which we are to put our receipts from the day. The idea being to collect the receipts and then enter the data into a spreadsheet. I'm not sure how effective that's being, both in terms of remembering to put a receipt in the box, of making a paper if there was an online transaction, and of actually sitting down to enter the info into the spreadsheet. I made it as far as catching up to half of last month, and have been procrastinating on doing the rest. Also, some info's not been going into the box, like vet spendings, mortgage payment, corner store purchases, etc.

On the plus side, R has finished the roof sides and fascia boards. Now we just wait for the roofers to come in and redo the roof. And then we put in some insulation and replace the siding that got ripped out as he rebuilt part of the north side of the house. Am so looking forward to when he can come home from his day job and relax and not feel rushed to get outside to work even more hours on the house.

But for today…I'm hoping to finish some sorting of food books, fold clothes, catch up on the spreadsheet financials, help my daugher with her health insurance problems, and then relax at a friend's house who's making us an awesome dinner tonight.

Speaking of which, I recently expressed guilt to her that this will be the 3rd or 4th time she's cooked for us, while we've only had her over once. She smiled and said that she enjoys cooking but only has herself to cook for. While I have two to cook for, and I hate cooking. (More on my cooking issues in the next post.)

 

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Guiding Principle: Mind&Body as Resource

About a month or so ago I read an interesting article on a blog.  It brought up how our minds and our bodies are our greatest resources.  I’ve been mulling over this ever since.  And have decided to use this as one of my Guiding Principles to help me on my path.

Humans wouldn’t have survived, nor grown to what we’ve become without our minds and bodies.  Such an obvious statement, yes?  But take that to a more personal level.  You wouldn’t have survived, nor grown to what you’ve become without your mind and your body.

I wouldn’t have.  It was my body that got me out of the messes that my mind had gotten me into.  And my mind that got me out of the messes that my body had gotten me into, lol.  Stuff may have helped, but if it weren’t for my mind knowing how to use the stuff, or my body’s ability to manipulate the stuff, I wouldn’t have survived, nor grown to who I am now.

Stuff will come and go.  It will break, burn, get lost, get stolen, etc.  Regardless of what happens to the stuff, my mind and body are my greatest resources.  Stuff can be replaced.  My mind and body can’t.  (Not for me, at least.)

Have you ever refused to loan some thing to someone, because they aren’t the kind of person to take care of it?  Have you ever gotten annoyed with someone who wastes or damages a precious resource of yours?  At people who don’t take care of theirs, nor others’, Stuff?

Yet, how many of us don’t take care of our own most precious personal resources: our minds and our bodies?

I’ve spent too damned many years, trying to salvage a mind that I had considered damaged.  Mostly I had viewed it that way because other people had wanted to use it for their own personal gain, regardless of the damage they caused by using it in a way it wasn’t suited for.  I had lost trust and confidence in my own mind.  Yet it was this same mind that has kept me going, has kept me fighting, and has found creative solutions and options for myself and others.  My mind may not be a resources for a certain group of people/organizations.  But it’s certainly one of my own, personal, greatest resources.

I’m taking back my mind.

Some people may not agree with it.  Some may say that I’m being selfish, or lazy, or living off the work of others.  Yet, by taking back my mind, I’ll actually be able to give back to the community.  Not by making someone else richer, nor by letting them drain me of my resource, but by making the community itself richer, and helping others to find their own resources.  And thus, this resource of mine becomes ever renewable.

In similar token, I’ll be renewing my body as a precious resource of mine.  I have come to rely on Stuff, rather than my body and mind.  I have allowed my body to become weakened and sickened.  Part of this comes from our cultural habits/expectations.  Part from our natural incline towards conserving energy.  We want to conserve our own energy for survival, and by doing so we come to rely on using the energy of others, even of Earth’s non-renewable resources.

Over the next month I will work towards relying on my body more, for meeting physical needs, rather than relying on Stuff or non-renewable resources.  Why do I need an electric rechargeable toothbrush when I can use my own muscle power?  Why do I need an electric dishwasher, when I’ve got two hands of my own, and a good cloth?  Why do I need a car to get me to a grocery store, when I can have a garden?…

Oh wait, see, there are some things I’m not yet ready to rely on my body for, not just yet.  If I lived in town, I wouldn’t need a car to get me around.  But I don’t live in town.  And the nearest bus stop is just over 5 miles away.  AND…my back isn’t at the point that I can walk 5 miles each day like I used to.  I get excited when I can last half a mile without overwhelming pain.  And the road to get to the bus stop?  Not safe for bicyclists.

However, I have a mind that can help me find a solution.  One that follows the Guiding Principle of using my Mind and my Body as my Greatest Resources.  And while I may not be able to find a perfect solution for everything in my life, at least the combined solutions will be an improvement.

And I can’t help but imagine how our culture, and the world, might improve, if each person relied more on our minds and bodies, rather than on Stuff.

 

btw, the blog mentioned above is:  http://artofgreatthings.com/2009/10/a-guide-to-self-reliance-minimalism/

 

 

 

If Someone were to walk into your home…

…would they immediately recognize what was most important to you?

…would they immediately recognize your priorities in life?

…what would your home say about how you spend your time? your energy? your focus? your life?