A few years ago when I was between jobs–basically trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself, I began putting together a folder of what I could do to find myself and still help the family survive. I was concerned about how we would make it through financially while not cheating our children of what we had been able to do in the past. The first time we pulled up roots and moved there wasn’t really a family except James and me. The second time we did it, we didn’t think much through, and thankfully our move was towards family, who were able to save us from ourselves. This final time, I was the one who uprooted, and I figured it was my responsibility to get us through. I started my blog about that time, but never really addressed the whole business of how to keep us going at the time. I think that I am now at the point where I can share some of the ideas I learned/invented/tried out with the rest of the world.
I finally got to a few points to live by. I call it a philosophy for more frugal living and how to gain a better self worth. I think that was my big deal. I felt like a total blob piece of nothing because I wasn’t able to tough out the job that would have over time given us financial security and me a decent retirement. Oh well. Instead, we moved to a rental home and kept our house and property with the big mortgage. Somehow we made it work with two light, water, heat bills, and in the end we were OK and maybe even better for it. Below is an outline of some of the “rules” I put together for us to follow, even though I was the only one who knew they were there.
1: Purchase only what you need–in all areas. This meant a) nothing that we already had. (I was so bad at always picking up two or three of everything.) b) nothing frivolous, if you can make due with something that works don’t get something new just because it looks good or you want it. c) nothing in a size that you cannot possibly consume no matter what the cost. In other words–no waste.
Part of this became use up what you already own. Living in a rental only 30 minutes from our original place really made this a reality for me. I had to check on the house about once a week and pick up the mail there, so I was always shopping at home. We really noticed this with the toiletries. It seemed we had about 20 half used bottles of shampoo, toothpastes were never finished off and baking goods always got old and were tossed rather than used up. This is not to mention the bottles and tubes of lotions and candles and on and on. It was called use it up.
After two years back in this house, I can see the build up starting again. I almost think that I am sharing this to remind myself that cleaning out the clutter of our lives also involves using up what we have and being satisfied with those items before we run out and buy more. I began to understand that purchasing items that were not used or were under used was like taking the cash to your shredder and just running it through. No benefit is gained either way.
I have two more main points, but I won’t bore you with all of it in one post. I think I will take the entire month to drag some of this out. At any rate, I do need to get to work on some of this right now. It occurred to me that we have an overload of shampoo bottles in the bathtub area again, and I am going to see what can be done about that issue.
I will leave you with just a few pictures of the day today. It is cold and dreary. We have heard weather reports of snow in North Dakota. Victoria said they had some in Dickinson yesterday. We have a track meet scheduled for Thursday, hope that works out without freezing all of the athletes. And I was worrying about what to wear if it was too warm. I guess a few layers will work at this rate.