Going green and saving the green stuff for a rainy day…

The recession is still chewing up companies and making people jobless, so it is time to consider how you can survive if you are next – of course I hope this is not going to happen, but you have to be prepared for the worst, there’s no point be optimistic these days – or at least that’s what you are being told by the news.

We have, like any other family in Ireland, been spending too much money on luxury goods and excessive traveling.  There’s nothing wrong with this, but when the Government increases tax and introduces levy on farting, then every penny counts.  Furthermore, in previous years, we could survive on one salary, but this single salary was “thankfully” reduced by 10% in a company initiative – no problem with supporting the survival of the company, as we should in this day ‘n age be happy that we have a job.

Preparation to my family’s survival of the un-fittest, starts by watching essential programs on TV:

  • Ray Meare’s Bush Survival – you never know where you might end up
  • Bear Crylls – surviving on elephant pee episode can save your life (can human urine too?)
  • Extreme Makeover – help us rebuild our house within a week
  • Ancient and Future Weapons – allowing me to build a full size trebuchet, defending the family home
  • Super Nanny – knowing what to do with wild neighbours
  • Jamie Oliver – cooking food of everything and anywhere
  • Resident Evil (trilogy) – simply kicking somebody else’s ass
  • The River Cottage – home farming at its best

So, we are all set and the Digital + receiver has been programmed to record every one of these episodes.

The first thing we looked at, is where the hell can we save money.  It’s not like we have any savings to live of, but we have on the other hand managed to accumulate some debt – similar to our fellow Celtic tiger victims; debt instead of savings.  Hail the credit cards!

Firstly, we looked at our holidays and decided to stay in Ireland this year, seeing some of the local sights and supporting the local economy by spending our money here (check the Irish Vacation series, in my blogs).  Contrary to previous years, we would only visit faraway bounty beaches, by looking at our holidays snaps.  Oh, do we wish we were there.  No need to spend money on expensive flights, hotels and fantastic excursions.

Next we look at were the money is going.  One of the biggest beneficiaries of our wealth (sort of) was Amazon.co.uk. However, where we spend the most money, like any other family, is probably on food.  We overindulge on exotic sausages, cheeses, organic meats, designer cereals and overpriced fruit juices.  So, we decided not to shop in the expensive grocery stores, and we joined the queues at Lidl, Dunnes and Tesco.  And you know what? We saved a lot of money shopping there.  We were initially somewhat prejudiced about the people going there – you know, we felt a bit like the Beckhams having to shop in Jack and Jones instead of Louis Vutton.  But, to our surprise, people were just like us, shopping for food, and we were all getting the same products for less – saving money.
– We did invest in bulletproof windows in the car, just in case.  Carrying cash is never a problem, so nothing to steal from us, we carry credit cards instead – much easier!!

The usual suspects, of money eating creditors, is insurance companies; life, car, dog, house, travel, health, dental, scooter, loan, insurance for insurances, etc.  You get the picture, you need an insurance for everything, and if you don’t have it, you are doomed.  But, we cancelled a couple anyway and merged a few others, all in good faith.  Little did we know that one of our dogs would nearly die, shortly after canceling the pet insurance.

Satellite TV, broadband, phone and mobile phones had to undergo surgery too.  So, we consolidated TV, broadband and phone into one vendor, and only realized after moving across that we would loose a lot of the channels that we normally watch (see above list), and we will have to pay more money to get these back.  There’s always a catch, isn’t there?  We still save money on a monthly basis.

But, the proudest moment in our pursuit of happiness, was creating our very own vegetable and herb garden.  Everything had to be done by us, including building the vegetable garden patch.  So, yours truly used his Jesus carpenter skills and built a vegetable patch from scratch – build it and they will come!  I brought my daughter to the local garden centre, but all we could find was Broccoli and Leeks – better than nothing I guess.  Thankfully my daughter found loads of nice flowers that we could plant too.

A few weeks later we visited another garden centre and got a few more vegetables, and strawberries, and also build our own herb garden with basil, parsley and coriander.  Brilliant.  The only problem is that it rains a lot in Ireland, so going into the garden to pick the stuff we need, results in us getting soaked.  Another, probably even bigger problem, is that none us know when to plant or harvest our crops.  So, we bought an organic gardening book.  We are on the road to getting green fingers, home grown vegetables (at some stage) and saving even more money.

My wife is allergic to bees, so there goes the bee farm idea, producing our own honey – and, I don’t even like honey.  This has been haunting me ever since kindergarten, where the nuns forced a table spoon of honey into me, EVERY morning.

What’s next?  Well, we are seriously considering getting chickens, but neither of us would like to kill one of the chickens for food, so they’ll end up dying naturally.  And, I don’t like chicken pooh on my shoes, so who is going to collect the eggs?  Our garden is not big enough for cattle or sheep, but how would you milk a cow using your Wii remote?

But, having a farm requires you to maintain it and we are not outdoor people – we are built to be inside and have oversized thumbs to better push the buttons on the remote.  We don’t try anything new without doing our research in Google.  However, the TV has taught us some many valuable things. We just need to apply these in real life.  Perhaps we should just stick with the FarmVille on FaceBook?

Thanks, your ego-friendly home farmer

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