Being Thankful For Plenty

I can’t tell you how many times a day I have a thought cross my mind that I don’t have enough.  I don’t have enough cash in savings. I certainly don’t have enough in retirement funds.  I don’t have enough to pay off my house…etc.  It’s so easy to focus on these long term goals and forget about the short term goals that are truly the driving goals of all creatures on Earth that we so easily take for granted.

Last Friday as we finished checking out at the grocery store, I felt a bit of a grumble in my head when the total for our 2 week grocery trip came to $276.  Then I heard our 5 year old nephew say “That’s a lot of groceries! look at this big receipt, it’s the biggest receipt ever!” and holding it out with a giant grin that you usually only see if he was just handed some cotton candy or an ice cream cone. This turned my mood around instantly.

Bread as far as the eye can see

Bread as far as the eye can see

I always feel a twinge of pain when I hear the total for our grocery bill, but I know I shouldn’t.  Food is the number one goal of all creatures and I have at my finger tips on demand a wider selection of food only a few miles from my house than 99.9999999% of humans who have ever lived.  Overall we pay less than 10% of our yearly income on food.    Apparently 10% is about normal (although it might not be for a family of 6.) For such a basic need it is truly amazing to think about how easily we can fill it. Look at all the options for bread that we have! And that’s only half the aisle!

 

 

Fresh Fruit...from all corners of the globe...in the middle of winter!

Fresh Fruit…from all corners of the globe…even in the middle of winter!

My great grandparents were farmers.  Most of their daily effort was to bring in food for their family, as was the case for most people who lived around 100 years ago. We have fresh fruit from all corners of the globe (and from our local area as well), we have frozen ice cream, a wide selection of meats cut to order and a plethora of processed foods that I doubt our great grandparents would even recognize as food. Even when there’s a half foot of snow outside, I can eat fresh oranges, apples, pineapples, grapes, and even strawberries!  And this has been true my entire life.  We really need to reflect on what we take for granted in this country.

Over 50 types of BBQ sauce...Competition at its finest

Over 25 types of BBQ sauce…Competition at its finest

We are so far removed from food scarcity it is insane.  Even when Mrs. C. and I were both working part time jobs for minimum wage we still were able to eat well, although a much higher percentage of our income went towards food. Not only is food plentiful, but the variety and shear amounts would make pharaohs and kings jealous. At my local grocery store, which mind you, is in a town of just under 10,000 people, we have no fewer than 25 different kinds of barbecue sauce available.  oh, and you can get a 20 pound bag of rice for $8.

 

Not only do we have more access to food than others, we also have a streamlined ability to help others who do suffer from food scarcity. Meijer, my local grocery store makes donating to local food pantries easy.  They have cards hanging on end caps that you can grab that cost $10 each.  The $10 goes to your local food pantry to help with hunger in the area. This is much more efficient that buying individual items to donate, because it allows the food bank to buy what it actually needs, making meal planning easier and reducing overstocking of individual items. This also makes things easier on the individuals donating, as they don’t have to shop for items and try to guess what would be best for the food pantry and its patrons.

Take some time today to be thankful that your base needs are met.  Food, Clothing, Shelter.  All of these are so incredibly easy to take for granted. Think about the little things that people in other parts of the world might be in awe over.   Think about what people from 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 200 years ago would say if they saw what we have available.  Grocery stores are only a small facet of our insanely convenient modern world.

  • Owning a device that fits in your pocket that can communicate with any other human on Earth, show detailed maps from space and access a “brain” of the sum total of all human knowledge. This device can be purchased for about what a minimum wage worker earns in 1 day.
  • Hot and cold running water with waste pipes.
  • The ability to travel faster than horses on land.
  • The ability to fly…and you can go across the continent for less money than a minimum wage worker makes in a week for a trip that takes around 5 hours.
  • Home heating that doesn’t require an active fire to tend to.
  • Safe and cheap light that doesn’t come from a fire.
  • Literally infinite amounts of clean water on demand.
  • The ability to purchase and consume millions of books in under 60 seconds on a device smaller than a normal book that can contain over 3,000 books.
  • The ability to have any item shipped from virtually anywhere on the continent to anywhere else on the continent for a low price.
  • The ability to see other humans leave the Earth and return…And it not being outlandish to believe that you or your children could actually live on other worlds.
  • An amazing array of tools that make routine tasks extremely simple…watch a guy fall a large tree with a chainsaw, then watch a video of a man doing it with an axe.
  • The ability to protect your children from horrible diseases for very little cost.
  • The ability to store your money securely for free and access it through a tiny piece of plastic that is protected from theft.

Be thankful for something today!  What are you thankful for that you normally take for granted?

John C. started Action Economics in 2013 as a way to gain more knowledge on personal financial planning and to share that knowledge with others. Action Economics focuses on paying off the house, reducing taxes, and building wealth. Check out the Action Economics archives section for all past posts.

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