The other day I was talking with my mom and she told me there is a new word floating around. The word is "recessionista." Which obviously, means a woman who takes on these times of financial trial with grace and style. I figure I will never be a fashionista, and using that same definition as my logic, I will never be an exercise-ista, a mom-ista or an art-ista (wait is that already almost a word?). Well anyways, there are plenty of things I just don't think I will ever do with style, and certainly not with grace. So when my mom mentioned the word recessionista to me I was instantly intrigued. I think maybe I can do that! When Ryan and I first got married, we had a very tight budget. He worked two jobs and I worked one. We had moved to California from the more affordable Washington State and really had to work hard to get the bills paid. We never struggled, which I would consider being in a place where we couldn't pay the bills (and to date we have never struggled in that respect). But we did have to be creative with our money and content with very little. Examples of my humble beginnings, setting the foundation for the recessionista I hope to one day fully become, would be: 1. cheap dates like going for walks, or pretending we had a million dollars and then pretending to spend it. 2. Getting a small cash allowance to spend on whatever I chose and 3. using Quicken to keep track of every dollar spent. Over the years things got better for us financially and we stopped worrying so much about how much we spent. At one point when things were going well we considered upgrading to a larger house but we decided against it. This decision ultimately allowed us to go to Israel last year and travel the world thanks to a good amount of home equity from our home which was very affordable for us. In Israel I continued on my journey. I learned to 1. walk instead of drive 2. buy local produce and plan my menus around the good deals rather than plan a menu and then purchase my food. 3. air dry my clothes 4. say no to my kids sometimes 5. make my own bread and soup 6. avoid the mall.
And then of course that brings me to this year, where Ryan is working three jobs (which I am grateful to God he has them all!) and we are still feeling the crunch. I am so happy to be in this country and so happy to have a roof over our heads that it matters little to me that we have to give up some extras. I am hoping that counts for the "grace" part of the above definition. Now for the style - I am working on that. But here are some habits I have added just this year. 1. I go to the dollar store - we have an amazing dollar store near our house that has organic produce, yogurt, canned tomatoes and even rose bushes sometimes. I also get toothpaste and tortillas there and wonder why I ever bought those things at the regular grocery store. 2. I go to the goodwill - I figure this is being hip like Jack Johnson and reusing, reducing and recycling. I bought a brand new stock pot there last month to make homemade chicken stock in for a few dollars. I also spent my five dollar allowance on a $168 dress with the tags still on it - not too bad. 3. I barter with my friends. I will cook you a meal if you provide babysitting for my kids, sew me some pillows, or cut my hair (apparently all I really know how to do is cook a meal).
Some good ol rules though that I think any respectable and aspiring recessionista should follow are: 1. get all books and DVD's from the local library or from your friend's houses (but ask first). 2. Borrow whenever possible 3. Realize the huge difference between what we need and what we want. 4. Remember how fun riding your bike can be with your kids or how adventurous it feels to hike with them (without spending a dime!). 5. realize that popcorn on the stove is so much better than microwavable. 6. tythe if you go to church 7. no matter how little you can set aside, even if it is a dollar a month, make sure you have some fun money! One dollar can buy a piece of Sees candy, a Tuesday night at the dollar theatre, a McDonald's ice cream sundae or a cucumber to slice and put over tired eyes (convincing someone to take your children and make the house quiet could cost you a little more unless you barter).
So there you have it - a little glimpse into my life and my newfound purpose. Let me know if you, too are an aspiring recessionista and please do tell your secrets!