Well...today I embarked on a new budgeting adventure. I was up 'pinning' late the other night and stumbled across this blog post. I love it! We have tried several different methods for the 'envelope' system - everything from a hyper-sophisticated spreadsheet of a checkbook regsiter to basic controlled chaos. I think this may be a step down the middle road direction!
So I took my new budgeting tool to Aldi...along with my new grocery/price list effort in my shiny new 'M by Staples' planner! (Lots of 'new' going on around here!)
And so far, so good! I'll update you at the end of the week and let you know how it all turns out. I'm working on my meal planning, as well, trying to find a system that fits our not-always-predictable schedule.
My favorite part of the trip, though, despite all the 'new' and exciting additions to my shopping routine, was a phenomenon that I only experience at Aldi. It's what I call, 'the friendly quarter exchange.' It's that moment where you're walking up to the store to drop your quarter deposit in for your shopping cart, and at the same time some other shopper is returning their's. And instead of making them return their cart so you can rent it out yourself, you smile at each other, say a few hellos, and touch hands for a milisecond as you give your quarter directly to a total stranger.
In that milisecond, I feel a tiny touch of community. It's sad that it takes these kinds of moments to experience it these days. 'The friendly quarter exchange' feels to me like a neighborly hello, and I love it when I have an extra paper shopping bag to throw in the deal when I exchange my cart for another stranger's quarter.
How can we better build community? We no longer live in Mayberry where everyone has grown up together and knows each person at the grocery store by name. In the days of Facebook and Twitter, how can we connect in the flesh with those around us? I long for that. Until then, I'll savor my 'friendly quarter exchanges' and short chats with cashiers. Jesus is definitely in those moments.