Holy WOW you guys and your comments were great. You gave me a lot to think about, not only in terms of what else I can do, but also reminding me to celebrate the things I’ve already done. So much, in fact, that it took me a week to compile this rambling, poorly organized continuation to the dialog.
Three years ago, we sold The Mc’s house (affectionately coined “The Big House”) in the burbs and my condo in the city, downsizing from a collective 4,000sq ft into 1,000 sq ft. When we sold both and moved into an apartment, we thought we’d only be there a few months and that we’d be buying another house. Most of our belongings went into storage, and it’s probably little surprise how infrequently they’ve been missed. We decided to get the loft for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the ability it provided us to accelerate our plans to build a place in the mountains (status update on that in a later post).
It’s been an adjustment, but well worth it. Learning to share a single bathroom has had challenges that shouldn’t be discussed in polite company, as has the reaction to looking for something you know you have only to realize it’s on the other side of town behind a roll up door.
A year ago, I saved for and bought my kayak. It’s an item I’d been longing for a number of years. An item I’d researched to within an inch of its life and one I can look at and use with great happiness known it was paid for with cash. I saved for a reunion with my siblings, and I saved to celebrate The Mc’s 40th. Those funds may have been better diverted to debt, but alas, I believe in living and that presents its own challenges.
Six months ago, we canceled cable after yet another vacation where we lived without. It was always as liberating to curl up with a book instead of a remote control in a fancy hotel as it has been at home, and I don’t miss the $200 cable bill at all.
Years ago, I established a budget to ladder my way out of debt (more about this on Clark Howard’s website) and I’m coming close. I triumphantly killed one card last year, have another that will die with my tax refund, my truck will be paid off in April (oy, that’s a story in its own, what’s important here is that it’s $600/mo.), and that leaves one. final. card.
Walking/cooking with friends instead of going out has proved incredibly satisfying. Last week instead of going out with a girlfriend, she came over with a bottle of wine and I made us dinner for under $12. Compared to my average tab of $40/night for each friend “date”, this demonstrates a considerable savings opportunity.
Clothing, shoes and cosmetics don’t present a challenge (hello? Have you seen me?). My closet is roughly the size of three high school lockers and I’ve joked most of my adult life about dressing like Einstein . The most I put on my face is mascara and lip-gloss, and with the exception of a pair of sneakers I bought last year, a pair of boots I bought a year ago and a pair I bought 6 years ago, I wear flip flops most of the time. I will say, though, that when I used to run I started justifying bi-weekly mani/pedi’s, and that’s continued though I stopped running when I injured my knee (and fell in love) 5 years ago. I plan to correct the exercise issue, and pair back the mani/pedi’s to once a month.
As for Costco, there’s nowhere to put that volume of items in a 1,000 sq ft loft. As it is, our pantry is the size of a very small coat closet.
Areas that present challenge: dinner/drinks out, knitting, and books. To that end, I also renewed my library card, and have started knitting wraps (1 skein) vs. scarves (2 or 3 skeins) …so I’m pretty happy about my progress and the steps I’ve taken to correcting that which frustrates me.
It doesn’t help that when you think you’re getting ahead – or when I do, anyway – life has a way of putting you in check. This month it’s that our water bill hadn’t come in 2 months and finally arrived, my kayak slip rental was due, our annual water assessment for our lot was due, and the boys are heading in for their annual vet visit. Oh, and I have a friend getting married this summer which requires me to obtain a bridesmaid dress.
Three steps forward, one step back. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the triumphs of frugality and simplifying, and I have SO enjoyed hearing your tips from your own lives.
Once that other card is gone this spring, I plan to start using Mint.com. Truth is, I’ve been too horrified and ashamed to look at things in that level of detail – I’d rather close my eyes and throw money at it like a flailing victim in a bad horror flick.
I’m also practically vibrating out of orbit with my wanderlust. This is a rub with The Mc and I, since he doesn’t share Restless Soul Syndrome. When the financial dust settles, I plan on getting an AmEx for the points, and doing what Matt and his lady do (comment in previous post) – use it for everything (instead of a debit card), pay it off every month and reap the rewards.
So…what else ya got? Your comments were truly inspiring in the previous posts – I love that there’s a disconnected community doing the same simplifying I am, and being fiscally aware.