a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

Category: Living Deliberately Project

return of the LDP (2017)


Starting in 2013 we began a project dedicated to living deliberately, to acting and consuming in a conscious way. In this the Living Deliberately Project, or LDP, was born. You can see the criteria from the 2013 LDP and from the 2015 LDP.

We did not do the LDP in 2014 or in 2016, and I can personally say I missed having the constraints and criteria that come along with the LDP. Yes, they are self imposed, but there is something psychologically motivating in setting, writing down, and self-monitoring a set of goals. It helps to keep you honest and accountable, which is why I felt it was important to get back to doing the LDP.

This year’s attempt will follow the general format of previous years, but it will also try something new: it will include a variety of lump funds as well as a monthly stipend for “extravagances.” In this way will take a different approach and try to set aside money up front that we know we will probably spend.

LDP 2017 Criteria

Yearly Discretionary Reserves
$300 (each)

We have decided to allot each other $300 for the year for any purchases that we might need or want. We can spend it all up front or in small amounts. When it is gone, it is gone.

Monthly “Extravagances” Stipend

The stipend is meant to cover those items that we don’t need but which we really really enjoy having. It could cover meals out, muffins at the local cafe, or those luxury snacks we just throw in the cart. For instance, Miyoko’s cheeses. Do we need it? No. Do we really really love it? Damn right we do.

The Hattie Fund

We have a kid. Kids grow. Kids need new things. Now, this doesn’t mean new toys or fancy gadgets or fancy-shmancy kid electronics. It could mean water shoes, new pants, or a lunch box. We want to acknowledge that unexpected things will occur, and we want to allow some leeway to accommodate those unpredictable events.



We usually stick to the formula: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. We will not be including Christmas 2017 in our LDP expenditures; just note that these gifts will be their own money not accounted for yet.


Limiting monthly spending is important, but we know that there will be times that we want to go and experience something, go see something, hear something, drink something, revel in nature…That is what the entire LDP is about, really that is what life should be about. That said, we will allow for those times to come and not fret about spending money if need be.


I (Jon) started work on a half sleeve this past summer. I have been saving money to  continue work on it this summer, so the LDP will need to make room for my tattoo.

LDP Month 3 — March

The end of month three. The end of our first LDP month with the challenge of a baby. Since we can’t really take Hattie anywhere there really wasn’t too much money being spent — we just sat and nested. The money we did spend was primarily on random coffee runs — to and from the grocery store, on outings to see family, on the way to teach. Dostoyevsky once asked “which is better–cheap happiness or exalted sufferings?” Rarely will any of us experience exalted sufferings, so I believe that most of the time it is the cheep happiness, the small pleasures, the run our lives. But then, if we experience so many small pleasures shouldn’t we actually say that rather then being “small” they are massive and enormous? Enormously small pleasures (to paraphrase ee cummings)…that might be it.

One other expense was that Jon preordered Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set A Watchman. Our love of To Kill A Mockingbird no knows bounds, so it is quite fitting that we should pick up Lee’s new novel (which is actually old, as it was written prior to TKAM). There is no need to go into all the speculation and angsty rhetoric surrounding this forthcoming story. Suffice it to say we are excited.

That marks the end of another LDP month. April brings more challenges and chances to continue our deliberate, conscious activities of the LDP. I recently spoke to someone about the process of deliberate living, a process that is simple enough to explain if none too easy to describe the mindset and experience of living it out. There is no failure nor success — not really — jus the continual Sisyphusian act of deliberate, conscious pushing of the rock back up the hill.

Keep trying. Keep living. Consciously & Deliberately.

The seasons go round they
go round and around
said the tulip
dancing among her friends
in their brown bed in the sun
in the April breeze
under a maple canopy
that was also dancing
only with greater motions
casting greater shadows
and the grass
hardly stirring
(excerpt from “April” by Alicia Ostriker)
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