Saturday, October 18, 2014

Three Rs {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is spending.

The end of spending... or, at least, of Spending week. Consumerism is a near-inextricable part of Western culture, and while I know there are self-sustaining people out there who grow their food and make their clothes and only set foot in a store every few weeks, that's not really a possibility for a Southern city dweller.

That said, this project has gone extremely well so far - events have conspired together (or maybe that's God...) to have sales on things we need and would have to buy anyway, a drop in gas prices, a busy work schedule that reduced eating out opportunities, a visit from Fayetteville (instead of us driving up), and even almost silly things like having a free ticket to the State Fair and not having to pay for parking either, or a jeweler Adam got me a Christmas gift from a year or two ago sending a "free pearl earring" postcard in the mail for our anniversary (I took them up on it - I love pearls!)

I've still had to be intentional - slowly retraining myself - and I've discovered that wise spending (at least for us) can be encapsulated in three Rs:

Reduce... Just buy less (I know, I know, just buying less isn't that easy) - examine need vs. want, and if we're feeling deprived, we should compare ourselves to someone who has less than us (they do exist) instead of more. Make things out of what we have instead of buying them, or just make do.

Rethink... When we have to buy, consider the source. Choose fairtrade, second hand, or exchanges with friends whenever possible as alternatives to big box bargains. Check the book out from a library instead of buying it (especially if you've never read it, or tend to collect unread books). Just because they make it (and put it in an engaging package with a temptingly low price somewhere near the check-out) doesn't mean we have to buy it. And a little preliminary research will reveal all kinds of specials and promotions that allow us to attend events and attractions for less than the general admission.

Restore... balance and community. Every time we reduce and rethink, it's a blow to consumerism. And if we mindfully pass on the things that are still usable (imagine being well enough acquainted with the needs of those around us to be able to bless them with needed items!) and recycle (hey, another R!) the things that aren't, we're doing our part to help out our global community and respecting God's Creation - both the resources He's provided and our fellow souls.

Tomorrow I'll be starting a new focus and I hope you'll join me - and thanks for sticking with my journey so far!
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