One young Catholic family on a Journey towards Intentional and Communal Sustainability. One Artist, one full time Mama and two babies, we'll tell you about all our successes, and failures, as we try to make it in our overly Consumeristic society on just the bare necessities.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Experiment

Welcome to our new blog!  We're a young family, with two beautiful daughters, and we're both educated-and unemployed.

We're Joey and Brittany, married in early 2009 while Joey was finishing his degree in ceramics and philosophy while Brittany was working as a non-profit social worker.  We've never expected to make a lot of money doing the things we love to do, and still don't.  But after we had our 1st daughter, Charlotte, in November of 2009, and we realized that it would cost us money for Brittany to continue working with daycare and travel costs, so we became a no-income family.  We were lucky enough to have the remainder of Joey's school and some of our basic living expenses paid and saved for, but we never expected to have to live on that for this long.

Joey graduated in December of 2010 with a BFA in Fine Arts  and a BA in Philosophy-aka "bartending".  In the first few months after school, we worked hard looking for a job for him, but realized quite quickly that this was not likely in this economy.  In the 8 months since graduating, he's had 2 interviews. 

But life is good!  We've grown as a family so much!  Brittany's learned how to cook everything from scratch, we've given up soda, and take out pizza, and lots of other "luxuries" that most people our age consider "essentials".  But in all this, we are still finding ourselves part of a very consumeristic society.  If there's something we need, we head to the store- the thrift store usually- or onto amazon.  We research and we fret over that last penny, but we still go over our budget.  We're just too comfortable with the availabilty of our credit card.

So we're starting a family experiment this month to kick start our new blog.  We're going to spend no money for the month of September!

The Rules
For one month, we will not buy things.  Paying our electric bill, obviously, does not qualify as buying a thing.  Going out to eat, on the other hand, does.

We will be paying our recurring monthly bills during this month, but we will be trying to keep them as low as possible.  Quick showers and no more AC and a few more rules should help.  We'll be comparing our water, electricity and phone bills at the end of the month to see how we did.

We will attempt to feed our family on no money, but will allow a small budget for fresh fruits and vegetables to keep our family healthy and strong.  We will not compromise our Real Food values in the interest of free food.

Our first resource for food will be what we already have in our house (and no we didn't stock up on anything, except butter which was on a great sale this week, beforehand).  We will eat from the back of our pantry and freezer and from what is left of our poor little garden before we buy anything.

Our second resource for food will be bartering.  We have a farmer's market near us on mondays and tuesdays with a farmer we've already established a bartering realationship with who will be a good go to for this.

It there's still something we need, we will purchase it at the lowest price possible.

We won't just "hold off" until October 1st and go on a spending frenzy.  We will genuinely attempt to source out those things that we would otherwise purchase in a free or nearly free manner.  For example,  Joey is currently looking for lumber to build raised beds for our gardens for next year, and Brittany is looking for things like a yogurt maker, and books.

Necessities don't count.  If we need to purchase medicine, we will do it.  If we have to go to the doctor, we will go.

In the end, the goal isn't to spend no money, but to not make purchases. 

The reason people buy things is because it's convienent.  The less convienent something becomes, the less expensive it becomes.  That's the society we belong to.  We don't want to do things, so we pay people to do the things we can do for ourselves.  But our goal isn't to remove ourselves from that society (go "off-grid") but to find our resources through the community we live in, in as low impact a way as possible.

Want to follow us on this journey and see just how good (or poorly) we do?  Jump on board and see Our Live Active Culture in action!