Thursday, 19 August 2010

No Compromise

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Lately the budget has been a bare-minimum-essentials-only kind of budget, which has made me think about what one can go without and what items are not up for negotiation. I am sure the list looks different for each of us as our families are in different seasons and our bodies need different things! Currently I'm going without tv (4 months + now), a car, pets, cell-phone or visits to friends further than my two legs will carry me :) However there are some things I haven't gone without (yet!) and I thought I'd share here!

My No Compromise (Yet!) List:

  • Organic milk (admittedly I drink very little milk, so really this is a once a month purchase at most!)
  • 3 fruits a day and 3 veg a day (although I actually find this cheaper than junk food! My grocery bill this week was $22)
  • A swimming pass - nothing fancy just a local rec centre!
  • A phone card ($5/month) to phone close family members half the world away!
  • A bare bones vitamin regime - Currently taking folic acid with Vit D & Calcium and a Vitamin E; when the budget allows I'll go back up to my 5 vitamins a day!

Looking at my list almost everything relates to health, this could be because I have a long term health condition, so staying in good health includes quite a bit of work on my part! I also can think of a lot of things I now am willing to go without which before were more important, cable TV is one example, magazines are another!

So I'd love it if we yet again played a little game! What do you not compromise on in your budget and why? Has this changed as you've grown on your simple, green & frugal journey?


Paula said...

Alcohol. There will come a day when I won't be able to drink because of a new heart valve, so until then, bottom's up. No compromise.

Looby said...

My budget isn't bare bones at the moment, but it has been pretty close and my no compromise points are:
-Free range chicken and eggs, I cut way back when needed but will not buy non free range.
-Dance class, I am very bad about consistent exercising but love my weekly dance class, I'm sure if I was truly at bare bones level this would eventually have to be cut, but it would be near the end.
-Daily probiotic yoghurt drink.
-Good, comfy underwear, to be fair these last a long time, I just got new bras and knickers but my old ones were at least 3 years old, but I do only find one expensive brand comfortable, I have wasted much money in the past trying to like cheaper brands.

I think that might be my full "no compromise" list, although I'm not sure what it says about me!

Konnie said...

What I do go without and what I can are two very different things. But what I will not go without is my dog Beau who is my constant companion, my chickens who provide me with eggs, and my medicines and vitamens as I am recovering from cancer and need these. Also as organic and as local of food as possible.

Kathryn said...

Well, this could be quite a list, so i'll stick to one item: milk.

I'm a big believer in raw milk, & it is available in California. However, it comes at a price. That price is almost $20/Gallon. So i buy some for drinking. When it is no longer sweet i will use it for cooking. But i've decided to compromise on cooking too. I can't help but wonder why i'd buy raw milk (sweet) & then use it for a sauce or something when it is "pasteurized" by the cooking. So for sauces & baking i've decided to go with simply organic milk/cream that has been pasteurized. It is about 1/4 the cost of the raw milk.

Joyful said...

I don't think I have a no compromise list when it comes to food and beverages. I'm willing to give up almost anything for a time and diet changes according to what is on sale. I don't buy any special organic or raw foods. One area where I do not compromise as of yet is shoes. I need a good strong sturdy pair of shoes and this usually means expensive and made of leather. I don't mind because they also last much longer I think. Another area is underwear. Like your earlier commenter, I've wasted money on buying undies that didn't work or fit properly. Nothing fancy here but they are pricey nonetheless. I wish they weren't and I've actually considered making my own. I haven't got there yet.

Hathor's Bath said...

Good, wholesome, local food. It costs me nearly double what I'd be shopping for if I went to a supermarket, but I go without fancy new phones, new clothes, sky tv (I have no telly at all) and a car so I can be sure to put food without things I cannot pronounce that isn't shipped halfway cross the world to feed my son.

Attila said...

This sounds a bit off on this website but..... petrol for the car; I'm disabled so it's a vital thing for me.
And healthy food.
And chocolate ;-)
And as the word verification thingy is "glesses"; translate that into "glasses" and we have spectacles for my husband; I can do without them but he couldn't function without his!

Kate said...

I'm in much the same boat with the food. Animal products are either local and sustainably/ethically raised (often non-certified organic) or organic from the supermarket. Same with produce. We produce most of our own veg, some fruit, and all our own eggs. I do the best I can with our dry goods, usually bought in bulk and organic whenever possible.

We have no tv, and so obviously no cable. But we pay for high speed wifi because my husband works from home 70% of the time and most of his work is on the computer, both upload and download.

I have a special, loosely defined section of the budget for "infrastructure." This applies to stuff that's a one-time purchase that gets us closer to a permanently sustainable lifestyle. My recent lacto-fermentation crock weights fit into that category, as do perennial plantings of food crops (rhubarb, fruit trees, berry canes, etc). These things don't crop up all the time, and they aren't impulse buys. But when it's time to spend on them, we don't quibble about the cost.

erin said...

My budget is definitely cut back. Hubbies been out of work for three months now. We cut cable tv, trips to the lake(to save on gas), pocket money, and most organics we buy. We are still buying organic dairy and eggs. Our kiddos consume a lot of dairy right now so I don't want to compromise that.

Chiot's Run said...

Oh yes, ours is our organic raw milk from a local farm. I would do without a lot of stuff in order to still be able to buy this.

Although I have found that now that I'm picking up at the farm I don't go to the grocery store so I spend so much less. I get most of my fruits & veggies from the garden, the milk from the farm and I get grain/rice/sugar and other staples in 50lb bags from a co-op. Not going into a store and seeing things I want has actually saved me tons.

Even though I'm eating all organic and as much local and fair trade as possible I'm spending less than when I was eating a conventional diet.

Like Erin, we cut cable (not because we had to but because we decided it wasn't worth it). I would do without a ton of stuff before getting rid of organic local food.

Wanderingsue said...

The very bad thing I refuse to include in my running mental account of how green we're being, as well as our budget, is flights to see family.
We're raising an almost-2-year-old in London, and my parents and siblings are all in Australia and the US, and hard as I try in all other areas, I will not beat myself up about my son's carbon footprint from flights.
We always pay the extra to offset- is that for real?

Sarah C said...

Organic milk and free range eggs.

My husband got laid off again this week, and I contemplated cutting cable. But we're already getting it for SO cheap each month, and that's our major form of entertainment now that we can't go out.

Conny said...

This is a very timely post for me as my husband's company just cut salaries by 10%. Since we got his first "reduced" check this week, it's taken a few days for it to sink in exactly how much less we'll have to spend. There are several places I could cut expenses, but so many of them feel like "essentials" (some of which are not) and difficult to priortize this week. But prioritize I must - and get to it quickly!

Thanks for the post and reminder.

Mama Podkayne said...

Because of work, we can't cut sateltite Internet cost, but we declined the tv package that usually comes with it.

We don't eat out if we can help it.

We don't cut costs on animal feed, but that saves us in the long run.

I work extra classes and seminars to that my girls can do art classes in town. We sell our extra eggs and that pays for the gas to go to park day.

We also have to have a cell phone, but we don't have a landline.

Quatrefoil said...

I don't compromise on things like good food or on healthcare. I also pay money for good quality shoes since I think cheap ones don't last and set up problems for your feet. But the real no compromise for me, which I'm sure looks like a luxury for others, is my going out budget. It's not necessarily expensive, but I've found that having the money to see a movie or go to a gallery with a friend once a fortnight makes a huge difference to your quality of life if you live by yourself.