After spending a month SpiritZapping, I think my next focus will be: “What great things in life are FREE?”

With the zapping, a profound thread emerged. How can we maintain a quality of life on a shoestring budget? I surely did not invent thriftiness, but I will continue to share what I can :).

I also want to mention that you are not alone out there. I did receive several private emails during the month, and thank you all for sending them :). It warms my heart to know that I can support you on this journey, and that my posts may have made a difference, or just opened a door to new thoughts!

One of the recent emails, published with permission, although I changed the names to protect the Lovelies :)…

“I love your new spirit-zappers postings!

Welcome to my world! We pay cash for everything and it’s really difficult when you need things like new tires or any kind of extra expense. It SUCKS! We have no credit cards and probably couldn’t afford the payments if we did. Credit cards can become a crutch and then people end up paying monthly on them and don’t have cash so they have to keep using the cards. I’m glad we don’t have credit card debt but sometimes I wish we had them so that we could use them in an emergancy like when we need new tires (my tires are bald and could pop anytime) or to pay for dental work. I recently broke two of my molars and don’t have dental insurance so I am really worried. Even getting a hair cut is such a luxury. It cost me $40 for XXX to cut my hair which might as well be $400 with our current budget. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) LOL! I can just imagine that John would flip out too if you paid $40 to get a hair cut. Maybe I could go every two or three months. We’ll see. I can totally understand that she has to earn a living so I don’t begrudge her at all and she does a fantastic job and is worth every penny.

Most of the time I’m just grateful that we have a roof over our heads. This economy has really taken it’s toll on us. Luckily XXX was able to get some handyman work and painting/building some cabinets on the side for some extra cash which helped a lot. He still has not found a job. My sister was laid off from her job last week. She had been with the company for 10 years.

We don’t have cell phones because that was the first luxuries to go when XXX was laid off. XXX always wonders how teenagers and people on welfare manage to have fancy cell phones. That’s a pet peeve of his. Our luxuries lie in distraction through TV and Internet. We have a comcast package that includes phone, internet and cable for $100/month and my internet is high on my priority list because it offers a gateway into so much information and keeps me connected with friends and family. I would go bananas without it! Recently I splurged on Netflix, though I don’t know for how long. I feel guilty spending $9/month on it even though it isn’t that much, it is when you live on a shoe string. I LOVE Netflix though. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) I get the sale ads from Safeway and SaveMart and buy ONLY what’s on sale. Haven’t bought new clothes in over a year. I guess I spend my clothing budget on my internet. Thrift shops don’t usually carry anything I would want to wear in my size.

When I watch the news on TV I get depressed hearing about unemployment and state budget crisis…etc. When I saw what was going on in Iran, I did feel very fortunate that we are not it that kind of crisis and I felt sorry for those people. I think we have taken for granted so much that we were accustomed to enjoying in life. Having the rug pulled out from under me has been a real eye opener as to being grateful for the little things. There was a time in my life when I could not even fathem living the way I am now. I expected more, perhaps I still do. I know I do. Even when I thought I didn’t have a lot, I really had more than I imagined and even now, when I am living on less, it’s more than some people have. I just wish it would get better and soon. Universe?!? Are you listening?!?

One of the things I admire about you is that you live simply and you do it with style. Your home is warm and cozy and you make not having a dishwasher seem tre~chic. LOL! You find things to do that are free or low cost and it’s fun to be around you. We have some other friends who keep asking us to go camping and stuff but I told XXX that as much as I love these people, they are likely to want to go out to a nice resturant for dinner or something that would cost $$$ and we wouldn’t be able to afford it and I wouldn’t want to be a damper on their fun or even have them pay for us. You know what I mean? If I went camping it would be very simple and we’d be eating what we brought, no fancy stuff. No stopping at the casinos or anything like that. When we say we are on a tight budget we mean it. What we have is what we got and if it’s gone, it’s gone…. There ain’t no money tree growing in my back yard. Hell! I don’t even have a yard right now!

It takes everything I can muster to stay positive and focus on moving forward with hope and determination that this time in our lives will get better. Somedays I just have to take a xanex and try to block it out. =)”

I am sharing this with you, because I think it is important to see that no one is alone in this. ONE of my responses is that when you decide to live your authentic life, those around you will respect you for it, and those that do not will fade away. It takes a certain amount of courage to be authentic :)…

So now I am enjoying this beautiful Sunday! My men are off on a fishing trip on the search for the GIANT carp :), and my daughter and I are preparing for a day of making Goddesses and girly stuff.

P.S. The picture above is one we took on our recent Blackberry adventure…complete with scars and spirits :)…you can read more at Green Sub Mama.

Enjoy your Authenticity!

What I am reading: “Voyager”. Finally! Drawn back in, feeling a connection with the Highlanders….
What I am grateful for: The simple things in life that me happy.
What I am manifesting: Sales….

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