Economic Relief — 3 Odd, But Workable, First Steps

Goats work great for us, but they may not for you. This is one reason why bullet pointed lists are shot full of holes. Evening Encounter, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold.

In the effort to save money, we’re always trolling around for ideas, and bullet pointed lists catch our eyes like shiny costume jewelry attracts a raven. But these lists rarely work for two reasons:

1) They’re too specific


2) They’re too general.

An example of number 1 is:

  • Get a goat and drink the milk. You’ll save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a year on milk products.

This is true because I do it. But if you live in an apartment or housing complex, it won’t apply to you.

An example of number 2 is:

  • Don’t buy things you don’t need.

This, also, works, because it’s the basis behind the lifestyle changes you need to make to actually live well on what you have, but most people’s lifestyles are so consumer based, they don’t truly understand the difference between “need” and “want.”

But this week, I’m giving you a bullet pointed list that fulfills its promise because

1) It is odd


2) It will work, if you give it a go.

So let’s look at three things you can do, this week, that are odd, but workable, and if you give

Living well, and independently, is a dance that we practice throughout our lives. Autumn Dance, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

them a fighting, honest chance, will eventually make a change in your finances — because they will nudge you toward the single most important thing you need to make any lasting change in your life:

Independent thought.

Here we go:

  • Cook for yourself something, anything, this week. If you don’t know how to cook at all, check out my Recipes section at my site. Yukon Gold French Fries are easy and palatable to the palate accustomed to prepared and manufactured food.

If you do know how to cook, branch out and try something new.

Why is cooking important? It involves doing, creating something as opposed to consuming, and breaks the cycle of consume, buy, rely on someone else that drives our national and personal economy.


Read a book — by yourself or with someone you love. Either way, it’s better than sitting in front of a TV screen. Seaside Story, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and Light in the Box.

It also enables you to make independent decisions — and if you work at a retail establishment, an office, or in a cubicle, you know how many truly independent decisions you are allowed to make each day. When we’re constantly told and instructed what to do, we get out of practice making critical decisions for ourselves.

  • Turn off the TV and cable for the week and read a book instead. If you absolutely can’t miss your favorite show, just make sure you take a sabbatical from network news.

If you’re a reader on this site, you’re already looking for alternatives to mass media, so just skip the talking heads for a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fox News or CNN –they are cherry picking items for you to hear, skewing them to a specific world view, and focusing on fear as opposed to information. Do you EVER feel better after watching the news?

More importantly, do you ever feel as if there were anything you can do to make it better?

You’ll benefit by a break from, not only the news it’s determined that you need to hear, but the ads as well. Regardless of what book you choose to read, you’ll get more out of it this week than you would by sticking to your traditional TV schedule.

  • If you believe in a Supreme Power, like God, connect with Him this week and ask Him to show you direction in your life.

According to Gallup polls, 9 out of 10 Americans say they believe in God, so if you snorted at this last bullet point, you must be in the 10 percent who don’t believe in Him. Otherwise, do something with that belief you say you have and turn toward the one an only Person in the universe that you can trust to have your best interests in mind: God.

He answers when we ask — generally not instantly, and pretty much always not in the fashion we expect — but He does answer.

There are your three bullet points. If you give them a try, in a very, very tiny way, you will be

Live life uniquely, in line with who and what you are. Aphrodite, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

slightly more independent at the end of the week than you were at the beginning. I’d love to hear from you about your experience — you can reach me, privately, through the Contact page at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Join me Fridays for articles on Financial Health that don’t look like your average articles on financial health. My book, Live Happily on Less, also doesn’t look like your average money-saving book, because it isn’t filled with bullet-pointed tips that make no sense to the average human being. It is a series of essays, like this one, encouraging you to recognize your intelligence, independence, and ability to find ways to solve the problems and issues in your life. The Republicans won’t do it. The Democrats won’t do it.

Only you care about your life and your family the way you do. Be awake. Start making changes.

If you are a Christian or interested in God, I write three times a week for Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. This weeks’s articles:

King Kong God (What does the Peter Jackson movie have to say about God?)

Your Christian Mission Statement (Are churches looking a little too much like businesses these days?)

The Atheist’s Cry to God (Not all atheists don’t believe in God)

This article was originally published in

This article is linked to Simply Helping Him, From the Farm, Essential Things, All Our Days, Christian Mom Blogger, A Peek into My Paradise, The Thriftiness Miss, Small Footprint Family, The Jenny Evolution, Little House in the Suburbs, Natural Living MamaA Blossoming LifeHomestead Barn HopMoms the WordMama Diane, Growing HomeTeaching What Is GoodA Mamas StoryMy Joy Filled LifeAdorned from AboveA Little R and RWalking RedeemedDeep Roots at HomeWholehearted HomeHope in Every SeasonRaising HomemakersSimply Helping Him, Living Well Spending Less, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, Graced Simplicity, Katherine’s Corner, Natural Living Linkup, We Are That Family, Live Called, Live Laugh Rowe, Thriving Thursday, Day 2 Day Joys, Mama BZZZ

8 Responses

    1. Thank you, Mary. Whether it’s droning on in the background, or we’re sort of listening to it while we’re thinking of something else, the TV, and its relatives, is something we can do less of. So much of what it provides is of poor quality — it’s as if we read every magazine shouting at us from the grocery store rack next to the checkout stands.

      So much more fun to make a trip to the library and pick out 6 or so books to browse through! May you have a lovely week. — Carolyn

  1. I try to do so much more then watch tv. I take my grandchildren outside for hikes. They love it. We bundle up and go out and explore all the wonders of nature. Nature is free. Thanks for sharing at The Gathering Spot.

    1. Diane — this is so very good — time with people, our children, our grandchildren, is precious and valuable indeed. You are giving them a rich gift.

      TV isn’t evil or bad or wretched — but overused, and overdepended on, as it is in our society, it weakens us. TV, or movie, or DVD time, should be fun and something to look forward to, not a regular part of our life, droning in the background. It sounds as if you are indeed walking a good path! — Carolyn

    1. Thank you, Angela. True, good change is a daily thing, and we don’t see how much progress we make until we take time to stop and think over the last several, weeks, or months, or years and see how we do things differently. No bullet point list can accomplish that!

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