The Austerity Program


Beautiful Gift Basket from Dear Friends, Isa and Howard!




Alert! Your credit on is about to expire!

Oh, no. I can’t let that happen. I hafta send flowers to someone. Anyone. Wait a minute! How did I earn credit when I haven’t used in well over a year? Delete!

And then there’s an email from Amazon: Last-minute gifts still available! Whaddya mean, last-minute gifts? It’s only December 15! Last minute gifts? We’re talkin’ December 24th. Now that’s last-minute. Delete!

And then there’s this one: Free shipping! Oy, I can’t miss out on free shipping. I must order something. Delete!

I’m sure the bad dreams came because the fear-of-loss ads triggered it. I jolted awake the other day, hit by a lightning bolt…I must get off the hamster wheel. I’m drowning in credit card debt. Ever since I took the cash advance to help a friend in trouble I have been fighting to keep my head above water, working this job and that just to make the minimum payment. I did get it paid down partly with the monthly payments she sometimes makes, but let’s face it—I continue to use it to live my normal, fun life! Lunch here, a writer’s retreat there. It all costs more money than I have. 

No more. I start the austerity program today. Not after Christmas. Today. The gifts I already purchased can stay. The chocolate chips I already bought will get made into cookies with the expensive butter I bought. After that…no more cookies. Ever. Maybe I’ll lose some of the blubber I’ve packed on.

Yes, the austerity program must extend to the diet also. Whoo hoo! Gonna be fun. 

Plus, after watching a “60 Minute” segment on what plastic is doing to our planet, I’m swearing off plastic. Did you see the part where they examined the contents of the stomachs of dead fish and birds?  They were loaded with bits of plastic! It broke my heart. I mean, I knew about this problem but seeing it on film made a big impact on me. I can no longer turn a blind eye to ziplocks and single-use water bottles. I will fill my metal water bottle from my Brita. I’m now washing ziplocks and reusing. I won’t buy any more plastic straws, not even the cute ones with the fun flamingos on them. Paper only. 



Have I turned into a “Bah! Humbug?” Not hardly. I’m just going to be more mindful of plastic. I know it’s not much, but as Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Join me.

And I will stop living beyond my means. Well, at least until I can get my credit card under control. When I do, there will be a fancy lunch in San Francisco to celebrate my success! Scoma’s, here I come!

Merry Christmas to all!

With Love, Carole-Jean

16 thoughts on “The Austerity Program

  1. I am right there with you! I do not watch Sixty Minutes that often but did see that particular episode and it struck me the same way. Wasn’t that awful to see! Efforts have to be made not to use the contaminate if possible. Serious efforts!


  2. Merry Christmas dear, keep that flag flyin, Paul

    On Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 3:31 PM Carole Jean’s Capers CaroleJean’ posted: ” Alert! Your credit on > is about to expire! Oh, no. I can’t let that happen. I hafta > send flowers to someone. Anyone. Wait a minute! How did I earn credit when > I haven’t used in well over a year? Delete! A” >


  3. Another wonderful post. I too saw the segment on 60 Minutes. Appalling to see what is inside the stomach of those poor birds, not to mention the ocean with plastic littering sands of the most remotest of islands. Keep us informed as to how the New Austerity Program is working for you, three months from now!


    • Thanks much, Pat! I am having a HUGE awakening even though I was aware of these issues before. I was too busy to really think. Now I am taking some time and the reality is hitting me hard…having time to reflect on life, I suppose. Every little step helps. As Rev Deb would say: “Take this consciousness and multiply it!”


  4. Pingback: Yikes! Wrapping Paper, Too? | Carole Jean's Capers

  5. Hello lovely! I am late to the party here but I have been worried about the wrapping paper issue too. And plastic straws! I have paper straws in my house and keep meaning to take them to restaurants but keep forgetting. I worry about the wrapping paper because the recycling firm that picks up our trash says nothing glittery or metallic can go in there. I used glittery wrap for my gifts this time. Gold glittery wrap and upset everybody because the glitter went everywhere. Even my cat had some on his nose. And I hear ya on the New Yorker. I have so many magazines I receive and never read…it also worries me. LOL thanks for the great post! xo


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