Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Consumerist addiction

If I'm going to quit the whole consumer hamster wheel, it makes sense to examine the insane ways my money disappears from my wallet.

Let's examine.

Not too bad. Two filled compacts, one of Mary Kay products, one of Arbonne products. Total at this point: 9 eye shadows, 3 blushes.

Skin care. All Mary Kay. Daytime, nighttime, and exfoliant. I'm not horrified or embarassed yet.

Oops. Here's where we see something a little scary. 14 eyeshadows, 4 blushes, 3 eyeliners, 7 lipsticks/glosses, one foundation, one eyebrow wax. Yikes.

One bronzer, one powder, another foundation, a couple of concealers/highlighters, and another ten or so lipsticks. And a homemade lip balm in a tea container. Hey, at least I'm recycling!

Under the bathroom sink. Lots of products. Hair, body, face, etc.

And more products. 90% of them are lotions. Two hair conditioners, and some fantastic ducks!

Here it is. My shame. 14, yes FOURTEEN hair products. 7 of them are curl enhancers. Are they truly different from each other? Not really.
If I added up the cost of these products, even if I only added up what they're worth now (that they're half gone, 25% gone, etc.), I think I could feed my family for a month or more.

Do these products make me look or feel better? Do I use them

Honestly? No, no, and mostly, no. My hair responds best to a weekly shampoo, every-other-day conditioning, and a little massage oil. My skin prefers the soap I make out of chamomile flowers, sage, rosemary, lavender, and unscented Dove soap. I wear makeup MAYBE once a week (but I wore it daily when I worked outside the home).

Which means I obviously have a bit of a problem when it comes to acquisition of products. Part of my year of non-acquisition will be dedicated to not only not purchasing, but also using what I already have. It's clear that I have no business buying any kind of hair or skincare product for myself for quite a long time

I know I'm not alone here. What's your poison? Where do you spend money that doesn't make any kind of sense? What would make you change that pattern?

Friday, December 25, 2009

New adventures await

Merry Christmas!

We're celebrating the holiday with my husband's family, and all has gone very well. No drama, no strife. And everyone seems to like their gifts, which makes things even better.

My mother-in-law found a fantastic book for me, and I'm looking forward to embarking on a creative journey. The book's exercises are intended to last a month or a year, and I'm opting for the year option.

I will use this space to share my progress, and I'd love to have some of you join me. It's certainly a good time for me to embrace such a project. Definitely a good time.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Unemployed holidays

If you'd asked me a year ago, long-term unemployment was definitely not on my list of concerns for 2009. I felt very secure in my job and even was making plans to make myself qualified for further promotions.

And then life happened.

My kids have gotten fairly well adjusted about our family's decreased income, with fewer and fewer requests for new games, dinners out, anything that costs more than a little.

Which brings us to the holidays. Over the past few years, we've tried to reduce, to minimize the whole present thing. Part of it is economic, part of it is philosophical, part of it is just a desire to reduce in general. And part of it is the simple fact that tween kids don't need new toys. Their "play" consists of computer games, football, faceb00k, and video games. And with video games being so easy to rent, we hear fewer and fewer requests to purchase them.

So I have the strangest dilemma on my hands. My kids haven't asked for anything for Christmas, and I don't know what to get them!

Does that mean I don't get them anything?

And yes, I'll freely admit that this post was very much inspired by the book I read yesterday: No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. It shook me up. A lot. No, I don't expect my family will go off the grid anytime soon, but even if we did a quarter of what his family did, we would be making some major changes.