This summer was hot and dry, dry and hot. Thinking about it makes me want to drink water and apply a thick layer of chap stick. We talked about the drought a lot because it affected our garden, yard and animals. I was a little scared that our well would run dry. This week, that fear came true. We turned on the faucet and nothing came out, not even a sputter of liquid.
Crap. Did the well run dry?
We called the repair man and he came out to take a look. You can’t imagine the relief when he said, “You’ve got a busted pipe. I’ll have it fixed today.” Phew! Dry well averted once again!
In celebration of our very close call to reverting back to an outhouse and schlepping buckets of water from the river, Clay and I have started Drought Week.
What is Drought Week? It has nothing to do with water, unless you’re talking about purchasing a bottle of water.
We started Drought Week in an effort to survive through September, which is heavy laden with large once-a-year payments like; school expenses, property taxes and our garbage pick-up. Those bills hit us hard and then we don’t see them for another 12 months. We can gauge the cost for most of it, but it’s still a very tight squeeze and rather painful to get through the month. Now we’ve decided to try a few more drought weeks to help boost our debt payments.
So, here’s what we do, ready? Get a pencil and jot this down.
We don’t spend any money for a week.
Many of you have probably experienced a self-induced money drought. It’s kind of fun and really makes you stop and think before you go do ANYTHING. This means we eat the food that’s in the house which can get a bit tricky by the end of the week, but luckily we had stocked up on necessities the week before and our orchard is full of apples and pears. I didn’t run out of milk or produce which are usually the first to go.
I’ve taken to keeping a snack bag in the van so nobody is tempted to stop and get something to eat. I remind the boys that when those crackers/cookies/candy/muffins or whatever lovely treat are gone there is no more. I’ve noticed that during drought weeks they will savor things much more than if they know that Mom will replenish the stock next time she goes to the store.
We have had to purchase gas, which was a bummer, but otherwise we would have been stranded on the highway.
I don’t read sale flyers during drought week, so I’m not tempted to go get that really great deal or feel remorse that I missed it. A sale will come around again, it always does.
We almost ran out of grain for the pigs, so we relocated them into a moveable pen and started rotating them around our garden plot. They are eating everything and tilling the garden area for me. This made it possible for me to cut down on their grain rations and get through the week without purchasing more feed.
But, there are exceptions, because some things can’t be helped. We had to repair the well and I had to make photocopies for a class.
I scrounged around the house for change to pay a parking meter and make photocopies. So, technically I did spend money this week, but I didn’t go to the ATM and get any cash out of our account. Give yourself a break is some emergencies pop up, just don’t make a craving for Starbucks an emergency.
Drought Week can help you build up an emergency fund if you don’t have one or if you’re needing to save for something. Maybe you’re worried you won’t have any extra cash for Christmas, try a drought week in October and November to see if you can put aside a little shopping money.
Things to give up during a Drought Week
1. Eat at home and pack your lunch. Use up all those cans of beans and soups that are just sitting in the cupboard.
2. Car Pool to work, or avoid extra trips that you can do the next week.
3. No entertainment. No renting movies or partying with friends this week. Go to the library and check out a book or movie.
4. No purchases of clothing. Everyone can make do with what they have for a week. If they need something for school (like the dreaded dress shoes that seem to be required for music concerts) ask around and see if they can borrow from a friend.
5. Get creative. Use your brain to solve a problem and don’t panic. There is usually a cheaper option to almost everything, so take a moment and figure out if you can solve the problem for free before you lay out your hard-earned cash. I like to think of the people who lived through the depression as my role models. They made do or did without.
Give your family plenty of warning that a drought week is coming so they know not to ask for anything during that week. I heard my youngest say to his brother, “Don’t ask mom to take us out to eat! This is Drought Week!” which made me swell with pride, because they get it. They really do understand that we are working together to be successful.
Let me know if you’ve tried a Drought Week and what worked best for you and your family.