Sunday, August 22, 2010

Habitual Change

The other day I commented ... somewhere ... that nothing worth doing is easy. That's how it was for us back when we first started this down this path. It was tough ... almost all of the time ..., and there were many times when I felt like I was butting my head against a brick wall.

I happen to be one of those people who like change. I used to rearrange my room every other month. I'm also the kind of person for whom the Nike slogan was coined - when I make a decision, I just do it. Don't get me wrong - I don't jump into things. I deliberate, usually quietly, doing some research and reading and thinking about it, but once I've decided a course of action, I just need to go ... git 'er done.

Deus Ex Machina isn't like me in that respect. If I move a chair, he gets uptight, and when it comes to making life-changing decisions, he really likes to think things through. And then, he likes to think about them some more. And he likes to hear the arguments for ... and against. I'll think the decision has been made and be waiting for the action to begin, when he'll start talking about what should be done ... again.

Back when I was pretty sure this was our path, but he wasn't completely convinced, it was often frustrating for me.

In September 2007, only a year after we'd started our journey toward self-reliance, I posted a commentary on how my childhood had shaped my early adult habits of consumption, and how I had to work really hard to change those habits. In the post, I lamented that it wasn't just changing "me", though. Thanks to the example I had shown them, my children were also walking down the consumer-lifestyle path, and if we ever hoped to be free, we had to break those addictions.

Back then, I wrote: Hopefully, my children will walk down the path I am blazing for them right now - learning to conserve and save rather than waste and spend.

I know we're off to a good start, though, because my children are excited when I say we're going to Goodwill and act like they've been given a treasure when handed a bag of second-hand dance clothes.

Next step is to change their stock answer to the question "What do you want for dinner?" from "Pizza Hut!" to some favorite dish that only Mom can make here at home :).

Three years later, I'm happy to note that, now, when I ask my children, What do you want for dinner?, the answer is never a restaurant name. Big Little Sister often answers pizza, because it's still her favorite food, but she doesn't need the restaurant stuff, and the pizza I make here at home is good enough (actually better, and it doesn't do awful things to Deus Ex Machina's digestive system like Pizza Hut pizza always did).

It didn't take three years for the change to fully happen, but honestly, I couldn't tell you when the switch was finally flipped. At this point, eating out is an occasional treat, and these days, we're just as likely to discuss eating out and then, decide to just cook at home. Like tonight - Big Little Sister has a friend sleeping over, and we talked about ordering pizza. In the end, I just made pizza here, and it was better, fresher, and quicker than it would have been to have ordered it from a local restaurant and then driven to pick it up.

And it was so much cheaper, too ;). In addition to saving, probably, $30 cash (which is what it would have cost us for a couple of large pizzas from the place up the road), we saved at least a dollar or two on gasoline, and with our homemade stuff, there's no packaging.

Homemade pizza = frugal AND eco-friendly ;).


  1. Ha ha! It's pizza night here too. Every other Sunday. Always homemade. I'm too stubborn (and lazy) to call up anyone to order it. I haven't done that since college.

  2. 5 years of living here and we have still only eaten at 5 places in town out of maybe 30 places to eat at. Mostly mom and pop kind of places here with the exception of, I think, 6 chain places. Even at the old house, after 6 years there, we only ate at a small handfull of places. Versus my sister, they ate at every single restuarant in town within a year, and it was a big town they lived in!

    We've always preferred to eat at home. When I crave a fix for pizza hut pizza or wendy's spicy chicken sandwich, I just remind myself of the price I pay when we eat there-- I have my own digestive issues-- and I quickly change my mind.

    Here's to making changes! :o)

  3. Wendy,
    We are into our fifth year of gradual changes. We have taken it quite a bit slower than most and so I believe right now with the animal and children rearing, gardening, the basic household chores, and construction projects, we are still struggling with that balance. It is so easy to work all day doing chores and then want to call in a pizza. This year our biggest lesson has been restaurant food disappoints and defeats our purpose.
    When we took our short weekend trip to the mountains we ate at a really fancy restaurant but the food tasted like the plastic containers that it came out of. Seriously it was gross. So this year we are learning that although we may be absolutely exhausted some evenings... there is nothing like a home cooked meal. :)