I’m a dabbler. I have been reading, studying, following, and thinking about simplicity, saving money, urban gardening, and minimalism for years. Precisely, about 4 years – just about the same time I had my first little bun in the oven. I have dipped my toe in here and there…but I dabble. Actually, I am a cancerian (July birthday) so I quite literally tend to move side ways. Like a crab. Then, when I do decide to dive in, it’s 110%. I’m all in. Like, ALL in.
Back to my point on minimalism, less stuff and saving money; these concepts are not new to me. My father was born during the Great Depression. He doesn’t like having a lot of ‘stuff’; he finds it wasteful. He is also managed to retire debt-free at 57 years old from a city job that paid less than I currently make in my very mid-level, work-from-home job. I am not sure if my money saving tendencies came from my dad or if it’s also inherent (nature vs. nurture) but I have used frugality successfully at various stages in my life.
In college I lived on $150 per month. It was actually the child support money my dad was supposed to give my mom until we were age 21. So at age 18, my dad started giving the money to us directly. My mom’s rule was college or you are out on your own…so this made sense that he would provide to us directly (thanks dad!). The $150 paid my groceries, local & long distance calls (this was the mid-1990’s, no cell phones for the masses yet), my car insurance (basic) and gas. I also had a work study job as part of my financial aid package and that gave me another $80 or so per month, some of which I would deposit into my savings account. The “extra” financial aid money that was left over from my tuition bill covered room and board or rent. The money I saved from working in the summers paid for my books and summer
Although acrylic nails, tanning, and take out were becoming all the rage, I did not indulge in such things. Sometimes it felt lonely and sometimes I felt defeated, especially being around kids who had families that paid for their education and college lifestyle. But I found ways to cope, used the school gym for free, hung with my pals, and was the first one in my family to navigate college and graduate with a college degree. I certainly didn’t know what I was doing. If I had, maybe I would not have been left with $20k student loan debt just for undergrad. Ooof!
Fast forward to different times in my adulthood and I have used these frugal tools again and again to achieve my goals but never as my actual long-term lifestyle. Thats what I have been dancing with. Sideways to the right, then to the left. One toe in. One toe out. Formalizing. No!… Crystallizing frugality into our family lifestyle to achieve goals and the opportunities we desire for our family. No more dabbling except to glean more information, stay focused, and share knowledge. The benefits of focused, long-term frugality have become crystal clear. I know that if we want to get out of debt, out of the city, and into the kind of space our family needs then I need to steer this ship forward and dive ALL in.
Have you adopted a frugal or simple life?