I feel like these two questions are interrelated (at least for me) so I’m going to try to tackle them in one post. When I thought about my long term goals, these questions inevitably rose up in my mind. And because I love that feeling of opening a journal and finding a blank page and then covering it in ink, I started writing a few lists.
What do I value? (not in any specific order)
independence and me-time (to create, to think, to just be content)
time in nature
eating food that is good for me
my animals (and all the other animals out there)
writing and being able to express myself creatively
I just noticed something – money doesn’t show up in that list. Hmmmmm
But now here is the list of why I save:
so I can buy a tiny house to provide shelter for myself and my furbabies
so I can buy some land on which to put my tiny house
to be able to write more often and eventually be able to be more of my own boss
so I never have to face my phobia of being homeless
so I won’t have to work for the rest of my life and can eventually retire
Yes, I have a phobia (or very strong fear) of being homeless. And living in Albuquerque, there are reminders of this possibility at so many intersections, with people holding signs asking for money or food. I think the fear goes back to my early childhood, when my parents got divorced and our income was so drastically reduced at the drop of a hat. It’s a fear that came back full-force when I thought of leaving my husband back in 2010, and ultimately did. I think it’s a fear I will always have somewhere in the back of my mind. But it’s a fear that also helps to reinforce to me what I do value and why I save money with every paycheck.
What do you value? And why do you save? Do you see the two as being interrelated?
Please drop me a line below and share your thoughts. And if you know someone who might enjoy this post, please share it! Thanks, as always, for reading.
This holiday season, if you shop for holiday gifts online, via Amazon, would you kindly use my Amazon Affiliate link? It will cost you nothing extra but I will earn a small percentage of your purchase! If you’re looking elsewhere, please use my Ebates referral link – I will get a small referral fee, and you can save money on something you were going to buy online already it can even be airline tickets or hotel reservations, etc.). Please!! And thank you!!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been getting daily emails from Mrs. Frugalwoods of the Frugalwoods blog. Today’s email asked the following at the end:
When are you most content? When you are spending money? When you are spending less money? Can you be content with fewer material possessions?
The first is an easy one for me to answer – I’m content when:
I am with my animals (The Herd) watching them all sleep peacefully, knowing they are safe and sound, and they will not go hungry, wanting for another meal.
I’m writing (blog post or otherwise) and I feel like I’m “in the flow.”
I’m reading a good book that I just can’t put down! (Check out my Helpful Books page for some of the most helpful to me.)
I’ve just finished an awesome run or workout at the gym. I don’t smell like a rose but who cares?!
I’m spending time in nature, feeling at peace and just “being.”
I’ve just finished up a transcription or other type of project, or accomplished all the goals I set out to complete on a certain day.
I help someone over the phone at work, and feel my inner librarian coming out, and they tell me I’ve been very helpful with all the information I’ve provided.
I check my retirement accounts and see that the balance is growing! It’s hard for me to save right now with such a low salary, but I’m trying to sock away 7% into a 401(k) and $95/paycheck for my Don’t Touch (emergency) fund, my insurance premiums and travel/tiny house funds. (I just calculated that $95 savings amount to be roughly 13% of my after-tax salary!)
As you can see, I’m perfectly content to spend my time in activities that cost me very little, or nothing, and in some instances, actually earns me some money. Also, I can definitely be content with fewer materials possessions! When I moved from my Boston apartment to Utah, to live in the fifth wheel travel trailer, my car held everything of value I owned (and my animals who I don’t own as they are living creatures and my family). All except for one painting of a coastal setting, which I ultimately gave to my friend Michele back in Kanab. I just had this feeling that she was the right person to receive it and her reaction to it confirmed that.
These days, I don’t buy much. When I do, it’s usually something I have thought about a lot, such as my first Christmas tree since 2014. Someone told me that Hobby Lobby was selling all of their Christmas stuff at 50% off, so I bought a 4.5 foot tall tree and ornaments. It makes me happy to look at it, and I feel like it makes the house more of a “home.” When alone over the holidays, it can be very easy to feel down. Believe me, I know. And it’s small enough that I can put it up in a tiny house later on!
When do you feel most content? When shopping or indulging in retail therapy? Or some other type of activity – exercise, etc.? Tending to a hobby? Reading a book?
Please drop me a line below and let me know! And as always, thanks for reading, and if you think someone else would like or benefit from reading this post, please share it!
I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living simply and living in a tiny house for many years now, way before it became trendy. Thinking about living in a tiny home helps me to stop myself from buying things I “want” but don’t necessarily need. Kind of like when I was getting ready to move cross country. The way I made decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of was to ask myself, “was there room for both this thing and my animals in the car?” The animals were definitely going – that was not even a question. It was more a question of whether there was room for this additional thing.
So now I sit and think to myself – is this object I’m perusing, be it a second-hand shirt or pillowcase, or whatever, something that I would definitely want to move into a tiny house when I finally achieve that dream? Or when I move into a small bachelor-type apartment? If I can’t picture it, I don’t buy it. Do I already have something at home that can fill the “need” it would otherwise cover? Usually, the answer is yes.
When I first got out of law school, I should have done what I advise all students to do now. When you get out of school, don’t live any differently. Continue to live like a student while you pay off your debts and get started with your life. Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean your home needs to look like it just walked off the pages of Dwell magazine.
So these days, I live frugally. Like a student. I have a roommate and it’s a one bedroom apartment, so my bed is in the living room and I’m totally fine with that. Every morning when I wake up, I look at the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque. It’s a beautiful view, especially when the clouds are so low they obscure the tops of the peaks. I have a large picture window that lets in lots of light.
Speaking of beds, mine is on a platform of milk crates. Guess what? It’s pretty supportive on my back. It’s also a good way of creating some built-in storage in a very inexpensive way. My mattress cost me all of $129 from Walmart, and I bought it online so didn’t have to deal with transporting it in my small car. It came in a box and once it was opened, my roommate rolled it open, and voila, in an hour or so, it was ready to go up on top of said milk crates. And instead of buying heavy, hard to move bookcases, I have, guess what? Milk crates! When you have to move, you just turn them, your stuff is in them, and voila, no need to get lots of extra boxes to pack your stuff in, because it’s already packed!
You know those plastic white bin type of drawers you can get at Walmart or Target? I bought those to organize my stuff in the fifth wheel I owned in Utah. Still got ’em. The old me of several years ago would have gotten rid of them as soon as I could afford a nice “dresser.” But you know what? It’s hard to move heavy furniture on your own and when you have a small hatchback type car. Plus, these white drawers can be configured in a multitude of ways. I can see everything I have in them. When they’re too full of crap, it’s time to downsize. Looking at them now, I see that yes, it’s time for me to get rid of stuff again. You really do only wear 20% of your stuff, 80% of the time.
I’ve been thinking of what I would want in a tiny house. I honestly don’t need much, aside from room for me and my animals. I think about whether I would want a flush toilet or a composting toilet. To not have to deal with a black tank would be awesome, so I’d likely go with the composting toilet. I’d like to do solar and have as much of my energy needs filled off the grid.
Would I want my tiny house to be on wheels? I sometimes think so, but then realize a shed that could be insulated, etc., might be a more economical way to go. Just have to find a place to put it (and oh yeah, be able to afford that place/land.) So I have begun to save. It’s a small amount right now, but that online savings account is named “Tiny Home.”
You might wonder how all of my animals will fit into a tiny home. If my roommate and I go our separate ways, Morgan will likely stay with him. She does very well with training – her brain likes to be challenged, and she helps him in a great therapy-type way. He has PTSD and a few other problems from having been in the army and Iraq. Also, since Snuggles is so possessive/obsessive of me, he has become “her human.” (It is a trait of weiner-dogs to be super possessive.) Morgan adores him to the moon! Yes, I’m her momma and the one who feeds her, but he’s the one who takes her on lots of walks, and snuggles with her and plays with her in the yard during the day when I’m at work. When he is feeling down, she stays close to him. Every time she hugs him, I see the bond that has formed between them. It makes my heart feel good.
So in closing, if you started reading my blog because of my tiny house posts, never fear, I’m still very interested in them! I still watch tons of YouTube videos about simple living and tiny houses. Yes, I used to live in an RV and that one didn’t work out for me, but I feel like a tiny home is different and can be made much stronger and much better insulated than that fifth wheel was! I haven’t given up on the tiny living dream, so don’t give up on me!
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I don’t like that they’ve become trendy and that the prices have increased so drastically over the past few years. I think they can still be built economically, and I’m willing to put in the elbow grease on mine, if someone is willing to help me figure out what the hell I’m doing!
Are you interested in living more minimally? In a tiny home? Or an RV? Let me know what you think, what you would prioritize, if you’d want it to be on wheels, etc., in a comment below! And if you’ve liked the post but prefer not to comment, please hit that like button or share it!
I recently put my financial picture out there for the world to see and I just got a paycheck a little while ago that finally had my health benefits subtracted from it. For 80 hours of work, the net pay was $699, but some of that went into my online savings accounts automatically. I’m hoping this next paycheck is for 88 hours of work – that small difference of one additional day’s pay can make a big difference, money-wise, when you are living kind of close to the bone, as they say. And yes, I do plan on doing an updated post on my financial picture, now that I received a paycheck that included my health insurance. So, stay tuned for that! Read more →
I have to admit, even thinking about this post’s topic makes me a little uncomfortable. So that tells me it’s something I need to face and to write to get some clarity for myself.
I’ve started listening to a lot of personal finance and simple living podcasts lately and one of them usually asks the guests what their relationship to money was, growing up. I definitely have an answer for that but it’s longer than just a one-word answer. Read more →
If you know me in real life, you know that I can sometimes be what they call, ahem, “decision-impaired.” 🙂 Before I make a decision about something, I feel like I have to research every option, you know, leave NO stone unturned! It might be because of my current full-time occupation of being a law librarian, and having a wealth of resources at my disposal every day. I feel like I need to keep looking for things until I find out definitively that I have found all that is to be found. Read more →
If you are a faithful reader of my blog, first of all, thank you. But you may be wondering how I could go from Part 6 last week to Part 8 this week. Simple. I can’t add. I looked back at my posts and realized last week was actually Part 7. I’m home sick today but had most of this post already written so I thought I would go ahead and hit that old “publish” button. (And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go lie down and take a nap.) Read more →