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Ultralight
10-19-15, 2:22pm
This is an interesting, though not at all scientific, test for reflecting on your simple living choices and lifestyle.

Part one: Write down the top ten most expensive things you own. These must be things you bought (alone or with spouse is fine). These must be material things -- physical possessions. They can be things like a house that you "bought" but are currently paying for or things you bought and own "free-and-clear." Popular examples are: House, car, boat, etc. College degrees do not count. The list does not need to be in a particular order. But fill out all ten if you can (and you most certainly can!). Don't worry about inflation or whatever. Just go with the sticker price at the time.

Part two: Write down the top ten most important things to you. These ten can be anything -- person, place, thing, or idea. Cost does not matter. They can be free, cheap, pricey, etc. Remember, these can be non-material things like your mom or your dog or your personal philosophy or your religion. Obviously they can also be things like your car or baseball card collection.


Here is my example:

Top ten most expensive:
1. Car
2. Canoe
3. Bicycle (with mods)
4. Ukulele
5. Work clothes (professional attire)
6. Laptop
7. Fishing gear
8. Lamp
9. Backpack
10. Soft-rack for my car roof

Top ten most important:

1. Harlan (dog)
2. Friends/family
3. Significant other
4. Fishing
5. Music
6. Nature
7. Health
8. Laughter
9. Simple Living
10. Secular humanism


Now, granted, I just jotted these down and did not meditate on them very long. You can do that too, or think about them for a while and then make your list. The main thing is to be honest. Don't let one list inform the other list if that is not the honest truth.

But the purpose is to see which of your ten most expensive possessions really serve the ten most important things in your life. Examine the interplay between the two lists.

Adjust your life accordingly!

Teacher Terry
10-19-15, 2:34pm
This is interesting because the 2 most important things to me that do cost $ are my dogs & vacations. The rest are all free. All the stuff in the first list I could do without if I needed to.

Chicken lady
10-19-15, 2:54pm
I did this without looking at your list and my top ten were all people, but then I saw you lumped all your people in 2.

I do find it interesting (truly, not judging) that your 1 was Harlan and your people came next.

Also I realized I am spoiled rotten, because after house and car came kiln - which I bought with money that was given to me, and then there are a couple of pieces of furniture, and unless we are going to seperate things like "dishwasher" from house, I'm down to things that cost less than a week's pay. (and I only work 2 days a week). I mostly have a lot of stuff that used to belong to somebody else. (dh otoh wouldn't have to think about the dishwasher, but I didn't help buy his expensive stuff.)

Ultralight
10-19-15, 3:01pm
I did this without looking at your list and my top ten were all people, but then I saw you lumped all your people in 2.

I do find it interesting (truly, not judging) that your 1 was Harlan and your people came next.

Also I realized I am spoiled rotten, because after house and car came kiln - which I bought with money that was given to me, and then there are a couple of pieces of furniture, and unless we are going to seperate things like "dishwasher" from house, I'm down to things that cost less than a week's pay. (and I only work 2 days a week). I mostly have a lot of stuff that used to belong to somebody else. (dh otoh wouldn't have to think about the dishwasher, but I didn't help buy his expensive stuff.)

The truth is that Harlan is all I've really got. Before I started renting a room from my sis she and my BIL were basically strangers to me. I'd only see them once every year or two.

I was thinking that if I got rid of the car and the canoe and the work clothes, then each item I own would be less than $500.

Gardenarian
10-19-15, 3:17pm
If I could include health insurance, that would be #2 on the most expensive list. This is hard to do because dh and I have been married a long time and have things like dishes that were given to us when we married, furniture that's been around forever, I have clothes that I've owned since college and even high school. It seems there should be some depreciation on this. I put the sofa on the list because it is the one piece of furniture we bought for our new house and it cost $200. I spend a lot of money (a shocking amount, when I add it up) on gardening. My clothes are all thrift or garage sale, but I have had to buy good shoes for my sore feet.


House
Car (12 years old now.)
Garden plants
Kayak
Sofa
Bike
Laptop
Cell phone
Shoes
Art supplies


Most important (not necessarily in this order):

1. Dd & Dh
2. My health
3. Dog
4. Nature
5. Books and reading
6. Libraries (I am a librarian, library volunteer, and plan on running for the Library Council in the next few years.)
7. Personal growth
8. Playing (biking, walking, writing and drawing, hiking, swimming, star-gazing, dog silliness)
9. Gardening
10. Home

It's hard to separate these things. Nature is religion/play/environmental activism/health; books, libraries, hiking and gardening might fall under personal growth - putting in something like Joy, Comfort, Love would kind of cover everything.

Ultralight
10-19-15, 3:22pm
If I could include health insurance, that would be #2 on the most expensive list.

I know, it is not a perfect test system. But it does get you thinking!

I did a presentation for a community group about two years ago on simple living and minimalism. I opened the presentation with this test. I could tell it opened some eyes.

Several people told me later that the lists made them re-prioritize. Some people just cleaned out closets. Others said they were going to spend more time on the things that were most important. Apparently the juxtaposition of the two helped.

Chicken lady
10-19-15, 3:35pm
See, I don't have time to clean out my closets because I have to make breakfast for dh and play in the dirt with a little boy and talk on the phone with my mom and my adult kids and find cool project ideas for my students.

So all the stuff just sits around until somebody wants/needs it or it is actively in the way.

And Ultralightangler, now I am sad for you.

bae
10-19-15, 3:39pm
List 1 is all income-producing assets that allow me to live as I wish.

List 2 is: health, family members

Ultralight
10-19-15, 3:40pm
See, I don't have time to clean out my closets because I have to make breakfast for dh and play in the dirt with a little boy and talk on the phone with my mom and my adult kids and find cool project ideas for my students.

So all the stuff just sits around until somebody wants/needs it or it is actively in the way.

And Ultralightangler, now I am sad for you.

Why?

Here is the thing: I have my sis and BIL, my secular/atheist community, my minimalist group, my simple living folks, and my girlfriend. But those relationships are all tenuous. Harlan is my dog, we're pretty dang loyal to each other. haha

Don't feel sad for me. Even if I lost all the above I could start over.

But don't get me wrong, if I lost Harlan I'd be crushed.

Ultralight
10-19-15, 3:41pm
List 1 is all income-producing assets that allow me to live as I wish.

List 2 is: health, family members

Vague... ;) haha

kib
10-19-15, 3:56pm
Vague... ;) hahaYes, but the things that are the most precious to you are not necessarily the most useful. The fact that my house isn't precious doesn't mean I want to get rid of it. I will try this top ten your way, but I think I'm also going to try modifying it - the top ten most expensive things, and then the ten possessions I place the most value on as far as being instrumental in having the life I want. I'll bet that's eye opening too.

bae
10-19-15, 3:59pm
Vague... ;) haha

I thought it was pretty specific, unless you want specific addresses of real estate I own, companies I own shares in, businesses I am a partner in, and bonds/mortgages I hold. No "thing" I own that I personally use in my daily life makes the top 10 list.

Ultralight
10-19-15, 4:03pm
I thought it was pretty specific, unless you want specific addresses of real estate I own, companies I own shares in, businesses I am a partner in, and bonds/mortgages I hold. No "thing" I own that I personally use in my daily life makes the top 10 list.

Haha, no... just teasing. Very cool set-up though!

Chicken lady
10-19-15, 4:19pm
Because you are going to lose Harlan. And because all your people are tenuous. I am far more attached to my stuff than you will ever be to anything, but I can imagine life without my stuff. I cannot imagine life without my people. I know I will lose some of them, but when I fall apart, the others will put me back together. I know that a dog loves unconditionally, but he is still a dog.

Once my bonus daughter was very sick. And her girlfriend had to leave town, and the girlfriend called to check up on her, but she didn't answer, so the girlfriend called me. And I called her. And then I called her 4 more times on the hour drive to her apartment complex. And then I broke into her apartment and shook her awake and made her take her medicine and drink water and stayed until she was lucid. a dog will stand over you and lick your face and watch you die and then grieve.

Ultralight
10-19-15, 4:28pm
Because you are going to lose Harlan. And because all your people are tenuous. I am far more attached to my stuff than you will ever be to anything, but I can imagine life without my stuff. I cannot imagine life without my people. I know I will lose some of them, but when I fall apart, the others will put me back together. I know that a dog loves unconditionally, but he is still a dog.

Once my bonus daughter was very sick. And her girlfriend had to leave town, and the girlfriend called to check up on her, but she didn't answer, so the girlfriend called me. And I called her. And then I called her 4 more times on the hour drive to her apartment complex. And then I broke into her apartment and shook her awake and made her take her medicine and drink water and stayed until she was lucid. a dog will stand over you and lick your face and watch you die and then grieve.

Oh, I know I will lose Harlan. That is why I focus on spending time with my pup now! Just yesterday My gf and I took him on a long walk twice around a nearby lake. He lives a good life -- I provide food and entertainment and healthcare for him. He get tons of attention and snuggles from me, my sis and BIL, and my gf, as well as most anyone who visits. He has a yard to run around in out back, comfortable places to take naps, treats galore, and never gets hit! He rarely gets yelled at for anything.

Life is tenuous for us all.

Gardenarian
10-19-15, 5:25pm
I don't think it is sad to have a dog at the top of your list, not at all! For many years, dogs would have topped mine. A friend or relative I see for a few hours a week is nothing compared to a dog who is almost always by my side

Dogs may not live forever, but as friends, they never fail you. I still mourn my little dog who died 5 years ago at the age of 19, and I treasure the memory of our times together. There are few people in my life that have meant as much to me, or with whom I shared as much time and love.

Ultralight
10-19-15, 5:27pm
I don't think it is sad to have a dog at the top of your list, not at all! For many years, dogs would have topped mine.

Dogs may not live forever, but as friends, they never fail you. I still mourn my little dog who died 5 years ago at the age of 19, and I treasure the memory of our times together. There are few people in my life that have meant as much, or with whom I shared as much time and love.

"The more people I know the more I like my dog." - Mark Twain

"I like most dogs more than I like most people." - K-Von

Gardenarian
10-19-15, 5:29pm
Yep :)

Teacher Terry
10-20-15, 2:25pm
I never had dogs as an adult until 11 years ago & besides my family & close friends they are the most important to me. If I had to choose between my dogs & my paid for house-hands down it would be the dogs. If I had to choose between my family or dogs of courseit would be the family. Dogs fill such an important role for many people & especially I find this as I grow older

Ultralight
10-20-15, 2:30pm
I never had dogs as an adult until 11 years ago & besides my family & close friends they are the most important to me. If I had to choose between my dogs & my paid for house-hands down it would be the dogs. If I had to choose between my family or dogs of courseit would be the family. Dogs fill such an important role for many people & especially I find this as I grow older


Choosing between my dog and my family would be incredibly difficult. I don't even want to think about it.

iris lilies
10-20-15, 2:37pm
We are seriously arguing about a dog being at the top,of the list? For me it's DH
then my dog then all other humans. Keep in mind that this dog is one of the special ones, and my parents are dead and I've got no children.

But yeah, dogs rule.

Ultralight
10-20-15, 2:42pm
I don't have a spouse and my relationship with my family members is unstable and/or distant. So for me, the dog is tops.

When I was married, my life partner was tops.

catherine
10-20-15, 3:13pm
Expensive
house
car-Prius
car-Fit
computer
TV
camera
the dress I bought for my son's wedding, but I'm hoping to sell it now! (Anyone need a gorgeous Tadashi Shoji dress in a 6P?)
Printer
Phone

Important
DH
DS
DS
DS
DD
DDIL
DDIL
DBIL
DB
DB
DSIL
..
..
DP (dear pet)

I couldn't lump my family together as one, so they took up my whole list. I would choose them over health and home. After that I would choose beauty in nature and in art and the opportunity to create and to reflect.

Ultralight
10-20-15, 3:15pm
Expensive
house
car-Prius
car-Fit
computer
TV
camera
the dress I bought for my son's wedding, but I'm hoping to sell it now! (Anyone need a gorgeous Tadashi Shoji dress in a 6P?)
Printer
Phone

Important
DH
DS
DS
DS
DD
DDIL
DDIL
DBIL
DB
DB
DSIL
..
..
DP (dear pet)

I couldn't lump my family together as one, so they took up my whole list. I would choose them over health and home. After that I would choose beauty in nature and in art and the opportunity to create and to reflect.

Cool lists! :)

Alan
10-20-15, 3:22pm
House
Motorhome
Car
Car
Motorcycle
5 Other items under $20K, I'd screw up the order if I tried to list.


Family
Health
Happiness
and nothing else is important enough to categorize

Ultralight
10-20-15, 3:28pm
House
Motorhome
Car
Car
Motorcycle
5 Other items under $20K, I'd screw up the order if I tried to list.


Family
Health
Happiness
and nothing else is important enough to categorize

Motorhome? Can I ask what kind? Did you get it to live in eventually during retirement or for periodic travels?

Alan
10-20-15, 3:43pm
It's a Class C, 28ft, gasoline powered, V10 with three slides. We've had it for 7 years and currently spend 3-4 weeks each year running around the country in it. Beginning in about 2 more years, the plan is to spend half the year in it.

Ultralight
10-20-15, 3:49pm
It's a Class C, 28ft, gasoline powered, V10 with three slides. We've had it for 7 years and currently spend 3-4 weeks each year running around the country in it. Beginning in about 2 more years, the plan is to spend half the year in it.

That answers part of my follow-up question. I was wondering if you thought you could live in it full time.

My parents bought a campervan, though it is more like a very small motorhome. It is fully equipped with a stove, toilet, shower, etc. My dad takes it to MI for trout fishing trips.

When they got it and I checked it out on the inside, I thought: "This is a better option than a tiny home built of wood and sitting on a trailer."

I am thinking of socking away money now to buy one in retirement as a full time home...

Alan
10-20-15, 3:54pm
Oh we could easily live in it full time, with all three slides out there's about 280 Sq Ft of living space, a bit crowded for my taste, but doable. The only downside is the lack of effective insulation, even with the furnace it's hard to keep warm on cold nights with the cold radiating from the walls. We found that out the first time we spent the night at 15000ft elevation in the Grand Tetons.

bae
10-20-15, 3:56pm
When they got it and I checked it out on the inside, I thought: "This is a better option than a tiny home built of wood and sitting on a trailer."


It depends on your resources and skill.

Where I live, housing is insanely expensive. As a result, there are a lot of folks living in *old* motorhomes and such. They don't typically endure well, and require a lot of ongoing repair and fiddling once past a certain age. But it's quite doable. There are also folks who build their own tiny homes on trailer platforms (platform is usually near-free as they tend to be old), using found/reclaimed materials (there's a lot of tear-down-house-to-build-mansion activity here, so there's a good supply stream of building materials to "intercept" to reuse) - going this approach you can invest not much more than your labor and skill, and end up with just what you want. And if clever, end up with something of decent quality that is relatively easy to maintain.

Then there's the yurt crowd.

If I were living this lifestyle here, I'd go with the yurt/open camp approach.

Ultralight
10-20-15, 3:56pm
Oh we could easily live in it full time, with all three slides out there's about 280 Sq Ft of living space, a bit crowded for my taste, but doable. The only downside is the lack of effective insulation, even with the furnace it's hard to keep warm on cold nights with the cold radiating from the walls. We found that out the first time we spent the night at 15000ft elevation in the Grand Tetons.

Makes sense. The slides seem like quite the selling point.

mschrisgo2
10-21-15, 2:02am
This was an interesting exercise ... I discovered that I don't really own any very expensive things...

Car- 2014 Kia Soul (still paying for it, but the most expensive thing I've got)
MacBook
My (new) dog (I have 2: one rescued; this pup I paid a pretty penny for)
Bedroom furniture (matching bed frame, nightstands, dresser)
Sewing machine
Sewing/quilting tools
Digital camera
Glass top dining table
Kindle
Smartphone

10 most important:

Daughter and grandsons (that's my whole family)
Friends
Dogs
Career
Sewing/quilting (sell and gift, and sewing makes me happy)
Photography (ditto above)
Nature