Throughout the course of my adult life, money and its abundance has ebbed and flowed quite a bit. Many of us share the memory of college days survived on Top Ramen and Big Gulps, no? Things changed over time, and as I embarked on my first career, income became steady and so did my ability to shop for food, stock my cupboards and experiment with recipes.
Seven years ago, I was at the height of my income. Things were strumming along and I was taking care of business and playing with what was left. It wasn’t until I left that career a few years later for the one I have now – self employed writer and social media marketer – that the income level dove… drastically. This is often the case when you first embark on a solo gig.
During this time, I had some major adjusting to do. An interesting discovery for me however, is that when I referred back to those financially abundant days, it was always characterized by this line: “Back in the day, I would walk into Whole Foods and buy whatever called to me and NEVER once did I look at the price!”
Wierd, no? I mean, that line could be so much sexier right? Like, “Back in the day I use to buy 3 pairs of Manolo’s without blinking.” But no, mine is about food. And no, I never bought 3 pairs of Manolo’s… EVER.
My budget is much more comfortable now then it was then, and although those leaner years taught me the value of looking at prices, I’m left with some amazing insight. I feel abundant when I’m able to feed myself and those around me in a lush nourishing manner. Its when I have a bowl on the counter filled with veggies and fruits that life feels stable, good, abundant. Its not just about quantity either, its about the ripe, the aromatic, the color and the juiciness that pours out of the food I slice into.
When times are tight, and everything is about scarcity, what foods do we turn to – dried, boxed, canned, or fast food. There is nothing ripe, verdant and juicy about any of that. Whats more, its a reflection of how life feels in those times. At least, this is true of me. Its an amazing connection, and I’m a firm believer that how we feel is how our lives form around us.
This got me thinking. What to do when money is tight and you want to avoid reverting to scarcity thinking when it comes to food? How do we maintain the sense of the earths lush abundance in our lives and kitchens? What follows is certainly not a comprehensive list, but a start. I believe the key is always whole fresh foods.
- Pick 5 herbs you love and invest in 5 pots, some soil and plant them, either from seed or small sapling. Not only will most herbs grow easily indoors, but near a window, in your kitchen, will add some vibrancy to the room, and provide you with fresh herbs to clip on the spot while preparing a meal. You can invest in one at a time if that makes it easier on your budget, but the beauty here is that they will last and last. Its truly an investment that keeps giving and requires minimal care on your part.
- If you have the space and yard, a home garden can be an amazing thing. It definitely takes a larger time investment, and money at the onset, but again, this is something that can be built up over time. A revolution is sweeping this country and more and more people are growing at least one or two vegetables or fruits in their home yards to help feed their family and friends. Check out HomeFarming.com.
- Farmers Markets sell fresh, often organic produce from local farms at lower and more reasonable prices then any supermarket. Most cities and towns have them and if you need to find one, go here.
Edited to add: Red in the comments below also suggested going to Free Cycle for potted plants people need to get rid of! I think its an awesome idea!