What's a typical day like for you?
I realized on one of the threads here recently that I assumed everyone here was living very simply. I was shocked to find out that many people are working sixty hours a week! I had the impression that most of the people here were growing food, hanging their laundry on the clothesline, riding their bicycle for errands, keeping chickens, etc...
So, I'm curious. What stage are you at when it comes to simple living? Are you reading about it and planning for the future? Have you been at this a long time? Are you retired? How much money do you need for your personal expenses? (I hope that's not too personal.)
What's a typical day like for you? How has your lifestyle changed?
I think we're a very diverse group! Personally - DH and I are in our middle 50s. He is disabled but has some good days. I work full time at a job I really like (I teach juvenile detainees and juvenile felons). I drive a whopping 75 miles a day, minimum, round trip - more on days when it's my turn to look in on my elderly mother in another town, and am gone between 10-15 hours a day. We have 2 children - one a 30 yo DD who has moved back home and is only working one day a week in the real world. She does stuff on the side, and does much of the work here. We also have a 26 yo son in school, with huge loans and not many prospects, who we help support.... long story. He is struggling but still upright. But - we have chickens, do our own minor home and car repairs, drive paid-for cars, line dry our laundry, cook mostly at home from scratch, shop at Aldi's (or eat crappy dollar menu stuff). We grow some of our food but not much, esp. this year with the lack of rain and high temperatures. I have a side business selling antiques at shows and flea markets. We have almost paid off our home (4 more years!!), which will be a huge help. I will have a small traditional pension and SS, due to changing professions later in life. DH has small 401 K's and will have a small pension, plus SS. He can't add to his 401k's as he his on disability. BUT - unless something changes on the health care front, even with the current plan in effect I don't see how I can ever retire.
I've been frugal most of my life, in some areas, mostly so I could do things in other areas. I'm ok with that trade-off. I have no illusions of being FI at any time, and have never really given that much thought - our aim has always been to live our lives as best we can, and do as much as we can, with what we have. Could we have done better? No doubt. But - I'm ok with that, too!
My current simple living is no kids, no pets, no plants, no house, meaning no commitments or responsibilities. To me that's a lot more simple than being a homesteader. Not that I don't want some of that. We will buy a house soon and then I will do the clothesline, food growing thing. I wish I could bike but it kills my knees. So we share one car and I mostly bus or walk.
I work 30-40 hours a week, only in the office 2 days a week - at home otherwise. Currently my husband works 1 week on, 1 week off as a truck driver. We could both work more, but we'd rather not. Simple to me is more about an attitude of relaxation and freedom, as well as making conscious lifestyle choices. There is a huge variation of lifestyles on these boards. Also age changes a lot of things. We work a lot now because we're in the money accumulation stage. In 10 years I should be down to part time. In 15 years we'll be done working if we want. We're 35 now.
We spend about $40,000/yr, not including taxes, for 2 people in Canada. The only way my lifestyle has changed significantly is when I got married I sold my old house and switched to apartment living. And being married my savings rate dramatically increased, even though I'm living a cushier lifestyle. So early retirement is now a distinct goal and possibility instead of a dream. To retire by 50 and live at least half time in an RV somewhere warmer is our main simple living plan.
Wow! This is great! I love hearing everyone's situations and their take on simple living. I'm impressed...
DH and I are seniors, both retired with no kids at home, living very simply in the country but lots of interests.
I work part-time as a librarian (~20 hours), dh is a musician who gigs and teaches. We have one dd and 2 dogs. We live in a small town in the SF bay area, own our home (mortgage is paid off.) We don't have a lot of land but we try to grow as much food as we can (I recently got my permaculture certificate.) I am writing a weekly gardening almanac for our area (I hope to have it done by September.) We homeschool dd, and plan on continuing to homeschool through high school. We probably spend about $50k per year (over $20k of that is on health insurance. We also have hefty home & earthquake insurance.) We are financially independent, but neither of us is wants to retire (we are in our early 50s.)
What makes us simple lifers - being frugal, reduce/buy used/re-use/recycle, growing and cooking our own food, no television and generally trying to ignore pop culture, doing things ourselves (household maintenance, etc.), living green (we have a graywater system, try to use little electricity/gas, compost), creating our own entertainment, awareness of nature and being fulfilled by simple things - walking by the ocean, hanging out with neighbors, making crafts, watching things grow.
Why we are not simple lifers - we rely too much on our cars. We live in one of the most expensive places in the country. We still buy lots of our food from Trader Joe's and Costco (though we have been trying to rely more on the farmer's market.) We (obviously) use computers - my husband has lots of gadgets. For both of us, technology is part of our work, but the nearly constant access to it makes it a bigger part of my life than I'd like.
I have found as I have visited various frugal living/simple living sites that there are really 2 simple living camps out there.
The first is the Walden/eastern philosophy/anti-consumerist camp.
The second is the survivalist/Armageddon/emergency preparedness camp.
Oh, just thought of a third. Those who practice a frugal living because they want to save their money so they can spend it on stuff that's really important to them (cars, vacations, technology, etc.)
I think that all three of these groups employ many of the same techniques to get their individual goals met but they have profoundly different interpretations of what Simple Living is.
My wife and I "retired" in our mid-30s, over a decade ago. We sold our shares of our businesses, our house in Silicon Valley, pulled up stakes, and moved to a remote rural area, where the cost of living, while high, wasn't nearly so high as California.
We now do public-service work, and devote the bulk of our income and capital to local philanthropic causes. I think we are busier now that we are "retired" than when we worked 60-80 hour weeks.
Our typical day isn't typical at all because of the wide variety of our current activities.
I am more of a "practical" simple liver than a "philosophical" one, but I enjoy hearing about all the different kinds of folks here. I have a career that I like a lot, in a rather unstable, poorly paid non-profit field. Over the years I have been frugal to get through grad school without debt, through the early career years without debt, through a couple of lay-off/cutback situations, and now to have a really good cushion to prep for the next crisis. I am not fond of stress and worry, and it is more fun and less stressful to live well below my means than to have more stuff and have to worry about taking care of/paying for all of it. However, at this time I'm not interested in early retirement--I want to afford to be able to do my job! So I work 40-45 hours a week, have an eight minute commute (think I've finally figured out some logistics so that I can walk when the weather lets up). I grew up doing garden and farm work. I am not interested in animals, yards, gardens, or anything that requires weeding, watering, mowing, walking, mucking out, or feeding--I am much more about what Amy Dacycyzn(sp?) used to call passive frugality. Buy decent clothes in classic styles, take care of them, keep them forever. Drive a small car, not too many miles a year, and walk or carpool whenever you can. Find cheap amusements (library books, Netflix movies, free online puzzle games, playing with tiny relatives, cooking). Live in a tiny apartment. And so on. I hate driving and parking, so that keeps me from too much shopping, eating out, carousing, etc.
Things shifted for us about 2 1/2 years ago.
Kids out on their own
I took a much higher paying job
Moved to a large city
downsized to one bedroom apartment
Then a year after that:
Moved to even smaller 650 sq ft apt
Only 2 miles from my work
Only 2 blocks from husbands work
Downsized to one car
We are early 50s, finally able to save significant portion of income for retirement
We like simplicity, but in an urban setting, and with the few things we own being high quality
We like having no yard or house to care for
I work my butt off ... My 8 hour days are sometimes 11 like today, without warning
So Monday thru Friday I work
The rest of the time I do whatever I want ... Almost no commitments
It works for this life stage really well
I don't cook. I hate shopping. I love museums. My husband and I take the jeep camping in the mountains on weekends. We can sleep in it and have a 4 inch foam mattress in it. We have very few possessions in our home but they are things we use and they are high quality. I can retire at age 64 with full pension, in addition to what I'm saving, as long as the state of AZ doesn't implode.
We splurge on vacations to see our kids and our grandson. And eating out. We live pretty cheap otherwise. We still own a condo which our son is using until college is done. Will sell it next year. Can't wait for that. Otherwise we own no property.