View Full Version : Hi and thanks!

10-18-12, 10:13am
Hi. So happy to find this board. I've sifted through some posts, while waiting for activation. I love that this is a balanced yet diverse group of men and women, all who are somewhere on the spectrum of living simply. Because, I think the definition of that, is very personal (much like finances).

I do not consider 'simple living' to be a new concept. I do feel that there's been a spike in interest and implentation, surging from the recession. A % of individuals that perhaps were gifted some challenges, even hardships that caused reevaluation of their lives, gained perspective, and began implementing changes. Also, maybe it's also gained traction in this useful way of technology, that those that just consider it their lifestye or the way they have always lived, are now able to share on the internet. For whatever the case, I think it's fantastic.

We're a family of 4, with 2 school aged children. My husband is in the military, retiring in 3 years. We've been together 20 years. Prior to our move, I worked as a contract manager, it was a stressful time in our lives which I may contribute more about this in future posts. I'm now a homemaker. We were involuntarily transfered with the military, just after one of husband's deployments. There's a story to that. Approximately two years later, we discovered that I had a chronic condition called Rheumatoid. And began going through the process of both homeopathic and medical treatments, along with ruling out allergy/dietary issues, etc. In the end, nope.. not the case, I full on have it and even being on both Methotrexate and a secondary disease modifying injectable, they still consider the condition progressive and already erosive. I'm in my mid-30's and earlier in the year, was also diagnosed with Spondylitis.

Some things that we've implemented over time:
*Moved to a community where (church, school, grocer, dental, necessary shopping, etc) is all 1-2 mi. bike/walk distance (I do drive when I need to but usually average no more than $20$25 per week needed in the tank which includes my drive out for treatment weekly, which is the only thing I absolutely have to do that is not immediate area.
*Sold one vehicle (a gas guzzler) with auto loan. Used one car for awhile; saved up for motorcycle for husband to use when he is in town. ~ 50+ mpg, low annual insurance, takes up less space
*Lowered our housing expenses to below our monthly stipend, which resulted in our being able to still lease a townhouse vs. house in a great area with parks, preservation, trails, with central location, garage, and lawn maintenance covered. We're also primarily in a retirement area, though, the adjacent neighborhood has several of kids' friends for playdates and neighbors host potlucks. So many of our colleagues (and we were guilty of this, too) spend not only at their stipend but above it. And then, they have electric, water, alarm (if they contract it), and rental insurance above that. Instead we have all housing expenses and still average a few hundred below. But.. what is important is that we do not feel that we live in any 'less' of a place. We use the same champion pools, docks, trails, playgrounds, school district that they use! Husband had the joy in telling that to a colleague, last who was bragging about living off Hole 19 (Golf) then asked my husband smugly, 'and where do you live?' Husband said the same neighborhood and the fact that he's paying roughly $1000 less per month for use of the very same amentities - oh, and he doesn't have to mow the grass. ;)
*I primarily cook at home (including homemade pizza night or we spark off the smoker/grill). Husband puts on reggae or pulls out his Didgerdoo that he picked up in Australia, upon recommendation from some RAAF aircrew guys. He's really progressing with it.
*Because I'm now been a homemaker for several years, I have my daytime to clean and manage the home, run errands. This also includes utilizing the 4 consignment shops within 4 miles of home for family needs or keeping up with clearance at mart stores for socks/underwear, and other things that we choose to not purchase resale.
*Our budget is managed, we've been able to pay off a substantial amount of debt, should be debt free (one auto loan included) within the next 2 years, before husband retires from military. I've found my ability to focus and manage on the money that goes out, is just as valuable as the money that I brought in during my working years.
*We significantly shedded what we own. We donated or sold so much over the years. I could put everything I own into 1-2 drawers (year round clothing). I choose to not possess much yet everything that I have, I love. My husband has also scaled back quite a bit. When he's deployed, he usually will make one large purchase (he's in a technicial aviation field, so he enjoys flight simulator games), so he did replace his aging computer. However, he managed that out of his own personal money, and saved so much for the family. His changes while not as drastic as mine, have shown support and growth for the family as a whole. Small things like we have one set of sheets per bed, one set of dishes for the 4 of us (lunch plates given to children, if we have company, no big drama). It's small changes like that, which give me more time with less things to manage, clean, put away. We go to a store, if we need to replace or purchase something. Our decor is minimal, mostly photos and things husband has brought back from overseas. The kids love the library, being outside. They do enjoy special things at Christmas, Birthdays. Otherwise, they seriously don't ask for 'stuff'. They've really experienced a lot of growth and have opportunities to earn money towards things that they do want (and we at times, will have no issue with chipping in)
*We daytrip a lot, and the family loves history, nature. We're near several historical and nature areas.. so central and that always gives us something low cost to do. In cooler weather, is when we like to hit forts, trails..
*The children are not in any costly activities. Daughter (middle schooler) is musically inclined. Through schools, she is active in chorus, 2nd year Honors Chorus, school play, and Violin (before or afterschool activities) plus Youth Group at church. Son is a runner, and our school offers a Run club, which includes credit when the kids participate in no cost Fun Runs out in our city. He also enjoys Chess, joined Chorus with friends/daughter, and next year will qualify for a Science club that meets afterschool and sounds really cool (they build robots, etc.?)
*When dad is off work, we're all off with him. We have a fishing pond steps away, the kids and I bike, dad takes us on rides on his motorcycle.
*We also have approximately 10 acres of land, West of where we live. It's too lengthy a commute to live on fulll time. However, it's part of the family homestead that his dad has already surveyed out (not yet conveyed to us or siblings but one has already moved onto her portion). So, we built an inexpensive shed/cabin on the property with one bedroom, electric. We go up when we can, have our own privacy which is great. And then, we're able to slowly work on the property, plant trees.

Anyhow, those are some examples of some of the changes that we've implemented. We're a suburban, military family, who part time lives on a homestead, and lives our version of a simplified yet full life. :)

10-18-12, 10:34am
Hi SimplyL! Welcome :) I'm pretty new here as well.

10-18-12, 10:36am
Welcome aboard, SimplyL! You have accomplished so much and I look forward to reading about your journey as we all move forward together.

10-18-12, 10:44am
Welcome! Sounds like you will have a lot to contribute!

10-18-12, 12:08pm
Welcome, SimplyL! We're glad you're here!

10-18-12, 12:53pm
Welcome. The 19th hole, is a bar for the golf course, by the way.

10-18-12, 1:55pm
lol! Good to know. So, was he a 'poser'? Maybe he actually lives down the road from us?

10-18-12, 2:12pm
Welcome, SimplyL ! You have done so many great things already - you are going to fit right in here. So glad you found us.

10-18-12, 2:46pm
Toomuchstuff - funny. Husband just called to remind me of an appt he has. I asked him to clarify what hole the guy told him. It was the 12th not the 19th. This is how little I know about golf (and how my memory operates). So.. 12th hole, the coworker does not live at the Golf Club's bar. :)

Float On
10-18-12, 4:34pm
Welcome and thanks for your great introduction!

10-18-12, 9:03pm
Welcome SimplyL, I found your statement below to be very true.

"I've found my ability to focus and manage on the money that goes out, is just as valuable as the money that I brought in during my working years."

10-18-12, 9:13pm
Welcome, SimplyL. It sounds like you're quite a way down the simple-living road. I look forward to your contributions here!

10-19-12, 7:32am
"I've found my ability to focus and manage on the money that goes out, is just as valuable as the money that I brought in during my working years."

DH told me this in the 70's when we had debts and wondered if I should be working outside the home when I kids were little. DD1 went through this in the mid 2000's with her little one. The skills that she learned from her focus are still in use today.

Welome :welcome:

10-19-12, 9:10am
Thank you. I really encourage a spouse who feels the extra job is causing stress and imbalance in the household, to sit down with their spouse and factor actual costs of working. It was eye opening for us to factor taxes, fuel costs and wear & tear (and I was required to not only drive to office but to meetings and client's homes all over a 6 city area), costs associated with licensure, continuing education, and other expenses, professional wardrobe (and I was required by my employer when sent to meet clients in place of my employer, to be polished and dressed comparable to her to 'give client's confidence' and not think of me as 'lesser'), child care (which I also had erratic/last minute child care for weekends and after hours when husband was working), network lunches, dry cleaning, meals picked up last minute due to exhaustion, extra spending related to the fact that the time was not there to search for better deals/pricing, and requiring a more centralized location so increased housing cost. All of those expenses add up.

It's been 4 years now, however, I believe that we found my true net contribution to the household was somewhere around the $200/month mark. And that does not include the housing factor, where we would have had the freedom to move anywhere within the city or even rural extension because husband was gone most of the year, anyway (so his commute was not as significant of a factor then as it is now with his being on call quite a bit). Surely, we could have found $200 per month to shave off of our budget.

What works for one family does not serve another well. And so, friends that know of my experience do ask for advice. I try to provide them with balanced solutions for those that really want to work, need to work, or want to get out of the work cycle and return or become a homemaker. One just has been able to transition from working 4 days a week (family of 5 and the schedule was not working) to a PRN position that gives the family the extra income that is helpful without the child care drama, stress, and now she has the time to focus on the budget, etc. She's a sub teacher, which is really 'as needed' to begin with. However, she is really good and found herself being the #1 person that they called. So, she got on the crazy train with it and her husband and she found it was not working. Really proud of her that they've found balance.

And yes, when factoring that a family has debt to payoff, it can be scary or considered the only solution (work vs. reducing lifestyle to make up difference to pay off debt). However, we've reduced our debt substantially in the past 3 years while I've been a homemaker again. So, it can be done, slow and steady. And that was from settling into a standard of living that we're happy with.

10-20-12, 6:10am
Hi SimpleL, sounds like you have a lot to contribute to the forums with all the experience you already have in simple living.

Looking forward to chatting with you on the boards! Christine

10-23-12, 6:59pm
Thanks, Christine.