Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Bondage of Convenience Products

The house is quiet. Children are in bed and settling in for the night.
It is times like now when I get my "Momma time." As I sit here at my
desk, a gentle cooling breeze drifts in and gives a portion of relief
from the heat & humidity that still lingers. It doesn't dissipate the
heat, but makes it more tolerable.

My mind drifts tonight. I have so many thoughts and words locked in my
mind to get out onto the blog or some other venue. Some days they are
loud and strong. Other times they come as a soft whisper. I see the
turmoil in the world today and feel heartache for those deeply affected
by the economic and even safety challenges that they face. A part of me
wonders what words of encouragement I may have to offer. One of the
goals of my blog since it's very beginning was to offer ideas and
options to help others become less dependent on stores and more
self-reliant. I hope that in some small way it has inspired others.

I was blessed as a child. I had the resources of people around who were
happy to talk about how they survived the Great Depression and other
economic hardships. I thank the Lord each day for this. So much
knowledge was being lost due to two factors. First is the convenience
of stores and the instant gratification of being able to get what you
need from a store instead of having to make/grow it yourself. The
second factor runs closely beside the first. Our human nature to take
the easiest way out, aka being lazy. We as a society have
"convenienced" ourselves into bondage. Yes, I am using that term
again. Hear me out - it does apply.

As I have mentioned previously in my posts, whenever you take out a
loan, use a credit card, etc., you put yourself into economic bondage.
Another form of self-inflicted bondage is our dependence on public
utilities. Think that is a radical thought? Try telling your power
company that they charge too much and you want another power company to
provide your electricity. They own the poles, the cable, and the meter
that goes to your home. You are forced to use their service -
especially in areas where there is only 1 company to choose.

Being "convenienced" into bondage may seem over the top but it is very
logical. We have a generation or two of people in our nation who have
no clue how to garden, preserve their harvest, or cook foods from a
recipe instead of heating up a packaged meal. These folks have
literally, through the lack of knowledge, put themselves into a
situation where they are dependent on convenience products and
services. When economic hard times come around these families are
struggling far worse than they need to be. Not that cooking from
scratch and growing/preserving your own food will prevent the struggle.
Indeed being self-reliant isn't a free pass to avoid these challenges.
It is however a tool to help your family weather life's storms more

Recently, our family has dealt with this exact problem. My beloved is a
truck driver and paid according to the number of miles he drives each
week. He is a company driver, meaning that the company provides and
maintains the truck he drives. For 2 months, we had the challenge of
numerous truck breakdowns. Several times, the truck was in the shop for
about a week. When this happens, the company pays what they refer to as
breakdown pay. This is a small amount and doesn't cover the payroll
expenses like insurance and other payroll deductions. We have literally
had checks in the negative due to the payroll expenses being more than
the breakdown pay he received. Now, just for a moment, imagine what
would happen if you were unable to go grocery shopping for a period of 3
weeks. Would you have what you needed to feed your family? What about
your monthly bills? Would you have a way to manage those? We were
blessed. Do to being non-electric and only having 1 actual utility
(rural water) we were able to get through that part easily enough.
Grocery shopping (or the lack of) was not a real concern until after the
3rd week when I realized that I have a lot of the basics, we were not as
well stocked on the things that give more variety to the meals I could
make. I may have been content with what we have, but 2 young children
are not always on board with that. We made it through without much
problem though.

I can see now where I need to focus our pantry stores for the future.
We still have stores for several months easily in our pantry. It is the
little things that I missed and will be focusing on. This experience
has made me wonder though about all of those who are not prepared. How
do they cope with challenges that affect their income? It is giving me
a renewed feeling of needed to write more about how to prepare ourselves
and our families. I will be writing much more on this and other self
reliance topics in future posts.