Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grey Mode

As I mentioned in my last post, my family on occasion goes into Grey Mode.  My partner was awesome enough to ghost write another post that explains what that is all about.  Enjoy!

Simply put, grey mode is the low power mode from Star Trek: Voyager. Now, I’m not one to quote or refer to Voyager so this must be a pretty serviceable metaphor for me to call back to that train wreck of a show.

For my family grey mode refers to a different way of approaching spending, resources, and entertainment.

On the spending front we don’t buy anything frivolous and are efficient with every penny we spend. This means if there’s an essential we need we get the best per unit price – sometimes this means buying half a decade’s worth of bar soap at once resulting in a high short term expenditure that saves money in the long term and sometimes it means just getting the no name brand. For things like food that we will need eventually we use what we call trigger prices. For example we won’t buy a certain size bag of chips for more than $2.50 but if we see it below that price we buy it regardless of whether we need it now or not, we’ll use it eventually and a good price may be a long time away from returning.

Family resources are used in a similarly pragmatic way – we avoid waste and use things into the ground.
Squeeze every last drop of dish soap from the bottle, use that towel until it has a hole in it even if the colour is faded, that kind of thing.

Thus far, this probably just sounds like simple austerity measures and that’s true but you’d be surprised how many people find this hard to do whether in the short or long term.

The third category, entertainment, is where you really see some benefits during the process that don’t just involve your bank account. Entertainment during grey mode focuses on one thing: enjoying what we already have. Never finished that video game? Well now you have the time. How about that blu-ray you bought years ago, watched once, and forgot most of? What about that book you really enjoyed? That board game that was fun but you only played once? The list goes on. If you’re anything like my family your house contains untold entertainment treasures waiting to be enjoyed more fully than before. Sure, you could spend $10 on another new blu-ray but will you ever fully get all the enjoyment or value out of that if you watch it once and forget about it? Your entertainment collection was built by you, you’re going to enjoy it and you’ll very likely be quite surprised by how much.

And then once that injury is healed, new job found, or debt paid off and grey mode ends you’ll more fully appreciate it when you can spend money more freely again and you’ll still realize further savings from those bulk purchases. And maybe if you’re very lucky you’ll be able to experience the opposite of grey mode – gopher mode.

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