I’ve been talking about getting a pressure canner for probably a year now. I think it’s a valuable tool, I have the money for it, and I like the idea of being able to can a wide variety of foods and stock our pantry with healthy, home canned food. For these reasons, I though I’d go out and buy one while I had the car. There’s a somewhat local store that sells what I want, and although I can’t take the bus to get there, it is driveable.
But…I didn’t. As much as I wanted to, I kept finding myself unwilling to actually go and pay the almost $400 for what I wanted. Why? My best guess is two things: the price and how much use I’ll get out of it. Pressure canners are expensive, and while I know I could get one for under $150, I have my eye on the All American pressure canners, which are a great deal more expensive. In general, I’m not good at spending money. This is usually a good thing, and the reason why I now have savings. It’s just no so handy when I wind up freezing when I try to make big, important purchases, even when they’re completely worthwhile. And on top of all that, I’d already spent a pile of money this month, and it felt really, really difficult to put down another $300 to $400.
I’m also feeling unsure of how much use it will get. I think it’s the kind of thing I’d like to have on hand anyway, because it can be a really important tool. But I also want to feel like it will get a lot of use. Truthfully, though, I still haven’t done a lot of canning. My schedule this summer and fall hasn’t made anything other than work all that easy, and winter’s looking like it might be even worse. Although I imagine I’ll get one eventually, I don’t want to buy something now just to have it languish around the apartment for months.
So, here’s the two step convince-myself-to-get-a-pressure-canner-by the end of April 2013 plan (code named Operation No Botulism). First, I’ve opened a extra ING savings account just for a new canner. Technically, I have the cash to buy one now. Psychologically, that knowledge isn’t helping to convince me to just do it. So I’m going to save actively and intentionally for this purchase. And by that, I don’t just mean I’m going to put money away in the account every month. I’ll likely put some money aside every month, although I haven’t decided quite how much yet. But I really want to use this as a way to save in other areas and to put that money towards one big purchase. So, every time I decide to not buy a book, soda, tea, bowl, vase, sweater, or anything else, I’m going to move that money into the pressure canner account.
Second, I’m making canning plans. I haven’t done as much water bath canning as I’d like this year, and I’ve decided that before I get a pressure canner, I need to can eight things – this is less than two things per month. This should do two things. My big hope is that it’s going to remind me that I like canning, that it’s useful, and that I can actually make time for it if I work at it (this has been one of my biggest sticking points this year, and it doesn’t show many signs of improving soon). I’m also going to use it build my savings. Every time I can something, I’m going to put $25 into the account. This should net me some more goodies in the pantry and $200 towards the actual purchase.
As much as I’d like to run out and get a canner tomorrow, I simply don’t spend money all that well, especially on bigger things. Even knowing how important this is doesn’t seem to shake me from my “must save money” mindset. Easing into it with extra savings and more of a plan for actually using the canner should help me to feel better about the whole thing, and I’m looking forward to treating it as a challenge. And, with any luck, it will work well enough that I can also use it again down the road for that fantastic but really expensive grain mill that I’ve also had my eye on for over a year now…