What would it look like if I wiped $1000 worth of expenditure from our household per fortnight? It might not smell or sound much different, but I'd wager it would taste different.
I'm very fortunate in that I'm making a choice to embark on this project. It must seem extremely privileged to people who have been laid off or made redundant. 'Redundancy' implies some kind of financial compensation for the loss of employment, but it is also a horrible word in its implication that a person is merely a unit of labour, of no persisting value.
When I was at home with young babies, particularly the second time round when we also had a mortgage to service, I spent a lot of time both saving money and reading about ways to save money. I'm okay at it rather than exceptionally good.
The short answer to saving money is not to spend it. Almost as short is 'don't get unlucky'. Don't lose your job, or get sick. Don't buy a dud car or a house with unforeseen plumbing problems. Don't be married to someone who takes off with someone else after racking up credit card debts which will be shared in the divorce settlement.
There's not much point, to my mind, in thinking about being unlucky. Some things can be insured against (formally or informally) and some cannot.
I've been thinking through strategies for retaining the quality of our family life and individual lives throughout the one thousand project. I've been identifying significant expenses beyond the obvious food/petrol/power/phone. Today I am thinking about nutritional supplements.
I need to establish from the outset that I've read and experimented with various nutritional supplements for many years, and I have identified positive benefits for us all which extend beyond the sceptics' notion that it is all merely 'placebo effect.'
Fantastic stuff. I have some very expensive liposomal vitamin C which is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and works very well for dealing with infections. Government subsidies mean that antibiotics are much cheaper for the New Zealand citizen than liposomal vitamin C, but my dramatic reaction to the last lot of antibiotics changed my evaluation of risks, costs and benefits. Because it is easily taken, we often reach for it when stressed and run down rather than the cheaper powder form. Following a pile of reading, I always look to use sodium ascorbate (SA) rather than the cheaper ascorbic acid. The cheapest way to buy sodium ascorbate is in powder form. I buy both the liposomal and the SA powder from John Appleton. I include that not as a plug, but so that you can look and see what I am talking about product and price-wise if you are sufficiently interested.
So step one is less liposomal vitamin C and perhaps more SA powder. But what about upping vitamin C in food forms? After all, our bodies are designed to ingest nutritional goodness primarily through our food. There are rosehips. We do have some in the garden, but apparently you need lots and lots. It would be a project involving lots of my time. There are greens. Like kale. Kale is the best vegetable in the world. It grows through winter and contains zillions of good things. I don't bother growing it through peak white butterfly season. Excellent for winter.
Mesclun and rocket and miners lettuce are all good. I grow and eat them now, but mostly for myself rather than the whole clan. Mostly I embed green things in cooked food for the children. It works for one of them. Parsley is also good. Mostly we access its goodness by putting it into hummous.
Oranges are good. Price in supermarket is the flat reality though, as it is too cold to grow oranges in Wetville. I've got a functioning lemon tree as of this year, though it doesn't provide enough to meet our voracious lemon appetite the whole year through. I bought a tiny one last week, with a longer term view of expanding our supply.
Blackcurrants are good. I've got one good bush and have planted cuttings to grow three more. From past impatient experience, I can now report that blackcurrants take three years from cutting to crop.
These are my thoughts so far. I haven't researched the price of things like acerola powder as a vitamin C source in supplemental form, but I'm open to, indeed keen on, suggestions of other vitamin C-rich and wallet-friendly options.