Simply put - we can sustain what we need or live within our means. For example the Bank of Canada Carney has been in warning mode for the last number of years on house values and household debt that is currenly running at 163% or well over income earned. Here is a very recent news story (like today). That means that Canadians are spending more than they make - not good. And man that must be very stressful. I'm not saying it is easy but I'm suggesting that 'we' the royal 'we' need to start re-thinking our spending, what makes us truly happy and what is important in life?
The Sustainable Table: Take Back Your Plate - focuses on our food and encourages (I hope) people to consider cooking from scratch, growing their own food, fishing or foraging in the wild, and more family time. Basically, simplier times and a more sustainble table for you and your family, not to mention healthier - No GMO.
From a housing point of view - our homes in a lot of cases are too big - I know we downsized and love it. There is a great new movement for tiny houses and really in the 1950's if you had a house 1,000 square feet or more you were middle class or higher....now our homes are reaching 3-4,000 square feet AND we have fewer children. What are you doing with all that space? Cleaning it for sure! And filling it with stuff - and in the classic song The Consumer by Stoppin Tom Conners "save a lot of money, spending money we don't got."
That brings to me to the reason we just sold our home and built a 1,200 square foot house that has 'NO OIL' I wrote about the experience in Building a Passive Solar House: My Experience Shared. Basically, from a sustainability point of view we considered - that the price of oil is only going to go up considering we have passed 'peak oil' and that while we might not run out good ole economics teaches that as supply drops (think oil sands scrapping the barrel so to speak) and demand increases (think China) the price increases too. Building a house that is heated by the sun is more sustainable that one that has an oil furnance. We downsized since we didn't need all the space we had since we started to really question our purchases of 'stuff' so our new house is more 1950's in that it doesn't have huge storage areas, a basement or a garage. That said there is nothing we own that we don't use or have a place to put it. We also were looking financially at our expenses and the move will definitely help get our fix expenses fixed. I'm not saying everyone should downsize and build a passive solar house but I'm saying that a closer look at:
- what space you use? how you use it?
- do you have too much stuff/clutter?
- where is your money going?
- can you save on your heating costs in some way?
- if you lost your job tomorrow could you maintain this lifestyle without much difficulty?
Expenses - Now I'm the first to admit that buying 'something' is like a hit of crack and it is really hard not to buy more than you came for whether it is the grocery store or a department store - those bad marketers! They have brainwashed us....so we really need to shift our mindsets and get them out of our heads. Start thinking do I need this? or want this? and so on......love to have your ideas on how you have simplified and saved in your household. Next blog I'll share a few ways we reduced our expenses....since it is easier to reduce your spending than make more money.