Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Website Review - Under $1000 Per Month

The website I am reviewing today may seem like an odd choice. The reason it may sound odd is that Under $1000 per Month is a no-longer-updated blog. In fact, this blog hasn't been updated since March of 2010, although I would never have guessed it had been so long since I was regularly following it.

Under $1000 or Month was a blog written by a young wife and mother named Emily. Emily's husband, at least at the time of the blog, was attending college to be a pastor and providing their only income by working at Wal-Mart. The primary focus of the blog was Emily's attempts at managing a household with a budget of $980 per month, of which 60% went towards rent.

I found the blog to be very inspiring. Emily proved that it is possible to live on a meager salary, and be happy doing so. In fact, in one post Emily states that her goal is to be able to manage the household on an even smaller budget, in case after college her husband receives a pastor position with a stipend as long as $500 per month. While I didn't always agree with Emily's methods, such as buying non-organic meat and produce to save money, I had a great deal of respect for her and what she was accomplishing.

Even though the blog is no longer being updated, the archives are still available. There is a lot of useful information there. Many of the posts focus on ways of saving money on food and other bills, such as electricity. Emily was a big proponent of crock pot cooking, and was actually the first person I was aware of who used the method in order to save on electricity. While she may have primarily done so to save money, its the type of action that can just as easily be adopted by someone wishing to reduce their electricity use for environmental or self-sufficiency reasons. Something else I picked up on the blog was the concept of using soap nuts instead of laundry detergent. While we have yet to try soap nuts, its something I occasionally mention to Andrea, as they seem like a great eco-friendly alternative to more traditional detergents, or even homemade detergents such as Andrea currently uses.

Unfortunately, the wealth of information being provided on the blog was cut short, due to negativity and harassment from some followers. I assume that this comes with any successful blog, but it seems to have gotten much worse on Under $1000 per Month. I suspect that it was accusations that the lifestyle Emily and her husband had chosen was somehow mistreatment of their children that eventually led to the blog being shut down. As Emily described it in her closing post, the blog had become a source of negativity for her, and so she chose to end it. While I was disappointed to see the blog go, and knew I was going to miss out on a lot of good information she still had to share, I completely understood her reasons. I live the lifestyle I live, because I enjoy doing so. While individual tasks may seem like chores, but when viewed as a whole provide me with a great deal of joy. I suppose it is what you might call a labor of love. I hope that the way I'm living never becomes a source of negativity in my life, but if the day does come, I am able to recognize the fact and make the necessary adjustments, as Emily did by shutting down her blog.

4 comments:

  1. It looks like you're taking the baton from Emily on this one. Your blog may not be as deliberately budget focused as hers was, but the kind of lifestyle you and Andrea have chosen is inherently money conscious. I'm sure you'll have a lot to say about frugality; it's already come up a few times.

    It's a shame that Emily was driven away from her blog, which I'm sure was also a pleasant hobby and perhaps cathartic for her. I understand how and why people can be disapproving of others' choices, and I understand the anger and frustration that comes with that. But I don't understand how anyone could disapprove of or be angry about one family's decision to forgo material wealth in order to pursue what they believed was a spiritual calling. :/

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    1. If often amazes me how people react to certain things. I think that at times the strong reactions are due to people feeling they are being judged by not doing those same things.

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    2. Defensiveness is a huge barrier to progress, I think. People often feel personally insulted by criticism, rather than recognizing that there is room for positive change, and then taking steps to make those changes. I've wondered if this is an American thing, or if everyone does it.

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    3. I don't agree that it's OK to live on so little if you're happy with it. Happiness in the short term is not all that matters - health matters too. Am I the only one that noticed that their budget does not include health insurance?

      Not having health, life, and disability insurance for your household with children is outright irresponsible parenting, no matter how you spin it. No excuses. If it means you have to work two jobs, TOUGH.

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