Thursday, April 9, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

Since my husband lost his job, our family has become more budget-minded. There's been more sale-watching, coupon clipping, and downsizing in the realm of restaurant meals and movie tickets. Although there's been a fair amount of grumbling -- mostly from the under-18 set -- we have learned some great techniques for creating more out of less and are really no less happier than when John was gainfully employed. We aren't the only family that is affected by the economical climate. In fact, I am finding that instead of focusing on disappointments and feelings of lack, many of my friends and I are finding the opportunities for coming together and sharing what we do have. This has happened to me twice in the last week. My upper back tends to resemble more of a mountain range; I store my tension there and there seems to be a family of knots who are permanent squatters. My friend is a massage therapist and this week I created a homemade lunch for us and, in return, she worked her magic on those knots. What a great trade! She doesn't like to cook and I don't have a massage built into my budget... we each got to share something and both felt satisfied and grateful. My other friend raises free-range chickens and we've always purchased eggs from her. Costco's eggs are more cost-effective for us these days, but she asked if we'd like to babysit for her in exchange for the delicious eggs. Yes we would! She and her husband get a night out and we receive fresh, organic eggs. What a happily hatched idea!

By nature, I'm an optimistic person. I really do try to look for the good in people and situations. What I am finding is that in the face of a potentially depressing time for us, I am feeling more optimistic than ever. I am also thinking that all of this budget-minded behavior is something that could and should continue once John lands that perfect job. There are so many opportunities for sharing our gifts and goods with each other -- why don't we do that more often? Why does everything have to hold a dollar value? My experience is that when I share something from my heart instead of my wallet, the gratitude is immense. Now if only I can convince the local gas station to exchange fuel for a pan of lasagna...


  1. Hi Angie,

    How smart you are to understand that "what you focus on grows"!! You bring humor and grace to the world of bartering and budget living. Thank you so much for sharing, inspiring and offering a much needed laugh at sometimes trying circumstances. I'm so glad we've become friends.

  2. I love the bartering system. I totally agree with you, wish we all did it more. Great post.

  3. I've wondered if my homemade chocolate chip cookies would be good for barter.

    You know, just carrying them into the gas station and letting the aroma do its' thing? :)

  4. My husband and I barter whenever possible. Honestly, we always have. It's a great way to live, exchanging goods or services with others.

    Brenda-I'll trade for chocolate chip cookies! Yum.

  5. Tracey: I'm glad we are friends too!

    Scrappy quilter: Thanks you!

    Brenda: I'm with Sarah -- bring on the cookies!

  6. What a great way of approaching your current situation and I admire your plans to continue it into the future. You're right....there's no reason not to improve the quality of our lives in unique ways!


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