VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby urbanpioneer » Sat May 02, 2009 2:14 pm

I have started dipping in to a book I inhierated from my mother, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I do not normally buy books, we already have too many and I don't want to spend money on something I'll have read in 3 days and then it will sit on my shelf for years. But this book is different. It is a trip through a year towards develpoing gratitude, peace, balance and a feeling of abundance, which ironically involves getting RID of stuff of clutter and things that fill up your life for no good return. (Doesn't this sound like Babrbara's advice?) You can read it day by day, or just open it up anywhere and gain a moment of peace and an appreciation of what we have already. Although I live with a packrat who resists every attempt to clear out half of what we own, or more, I will someday get there. Oh, by the way, we are now the proud owners of a bill hide complete with tail that one of our bulls used to wear. It stinks of ammonia, or whatever they cure these things with and we have no place to put it at the moment. Also, his cured skull and 6' horns will be arriving soon too. We already have one of those from the first bull. Sigh. The first bull's hide was screwed up by the tannery so they turned it into suede, with leather on the other side. My daughter who is very handy and creative has made several purses and packs out of them and branded them with our ranch brand. When people ask her about them, they are very impressed with all of it and rather shocked that we "knew" the bull. On another note, to answer another poster's question, I have planted a huge garden this year and plan to freeze and can a lot. My friends are also planning large gardens so we will trade produce, each of us are specializing in a big crop as well as our personal stuff, under the theory that a large patch of beans does much better than just a few plants.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby serialdreamer » Wed May 20, 2009 5:51 pm

wow I loved ths post. My boyfriend and I have dreams of building a straw bale solar powered off the grid house within the next four or five years. I would also lilke to expand on that and grow a lot of our own food, make our own soap and what ever else we can think of...right now it is just a dream but we are working on it. The first step was to establish ourselves with jobs that are portable and mine totally is as I work 100% at home online. Now it is just finding other portable streams of income to replace his lost income when we move. Cheers, Serial.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby JeannetteLS » Wed May 20, 2009 5:57 pm

Working in my garden today, I realized that this pleasure has given me more peace than anything else I've done for the last decade. And so far I have not spent a dime. I've enjoyed looking at these "rooms" I planned nineteen years ago, reach their maturity and require minimal care and maximal enjoyment. I shouldn't have said I live alone. My son lives in the other side of the house, but we are each of a mind to be solitary, so our living spaces do not overlap. We meet when we wander outdoors. Flower gardening is my favorite simple pleasure I think. My late sister told me she thought it was my way of creating living paintings. Perhaps. No. Probably. The older I get, the less I think I need. I like that.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby urbanpioneer » Thu May 21, 2009 2:10 pm

serialdreamer, I must say that currently, we actually live in town, in a historic house in a historic district quite close to downtown. Our ranch with all the cows is 75 miles south of here, and we do not have a house down there yet. My house here in town is where we have our big garden and for a few years we had a coop and chickens out there too. My husband and I would love to build a beautiful log house down there, but whatever it will be very energy efficient with geothermal heating and cooling. Not sure exactly when we'll be able to do this, but that's the dream.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby serialdreamer » Thu May 21, 2009 2:34 pm

so cool!
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby sallypz » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:38 pm

Voluntary Simplicity is always an interesting topic. I'm working at any things in this area....My daughter, son-in-law, new baby, myself and my 10 y/o daughter are renting a large house together--going back to extended-family living as people in the past did---at least for a couple years...we'll both save on some of the babysitting..as I'm planning to work on days one of them is off and they on days when I'm off...so someone will almost always be there to watch the baby. Also...absolutely stopped using the credit card...paying that off. For groceries I'm shopping around..made a notebook of things I can do to save money..and have the stores in the area listed and rated as to best price on which items....of course, not to proud to go to the 'dollar' stores too. My little notebook has a section on clothes too..to make clothes last longer and look better longer wash and iron them inside out..usually it's the inside that gets dirty first...remaking old clothes is also a good way to stretch the clothes budget..plenty of web sites and some books out on that. I've revived my sewing machine ande am going to put that to good use too. Also reading books on financial planning and writing out my own...doing things like taking 10% of my pay out first for savings..keeping a change jar....Have found many web sites on thriftyness, frugality etc..and am paying attention to what they say. Bought a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon..then was getting paid mileage on my last job. Reviewing everything I do to see what is 'tax deductable' or not....many more business expenses are than people know about. Looking into ways to 'get off the grid' for future reference....next home I own will have, at least, some solar power. Investigating a modern day treadle sewing machine. Staycations for the next few years...looked up web sites from state, and counties in my state for interesting sites to visit that don't cost a lot..
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby messtime » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:15 am

Many useful points made in that book.
http://www.shedandshelter.com
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby urbanpioneer » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:29 pm

Voluntary simplicity and clutter in my head do not go together, ever, at all. Some of you may recall some of my other posts where I lament about my husband's clutter and how it drives me crazy. He recently was retired from his job with a major finance company during downsizing, but his pension will not be enough to keep us going forever. A big community garage sale in a central location was coming up and he finally agreed to let me try and move some stuff out. I made enough money that I didn't need to take out any cash to go on vacation for a few weeks. (Housing was free, went to my family's summer place.) All the books were getting moldy in the basement, so they all came up, and some went away. The rest, my husband's, are still sitting in a large mountain in the middle of the main living room. He will be cleainng those out too. Now he is thinking at becoming an idependent broker and his home office must be approved by the overseeing broker-dealer, SO he has to clean out his office. Even he is embarrassed to show it to anybody. Progress is possible, even with a packrat. Serious life changes tend to be a great catalyst.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby sallypz » Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:39 am

Urbanpioneer--condolences--my parents were packrats too-- especially my dad (he was young during the 1930's and they struggled so he made up for it by collecting 'stuff'--mostly junk) our whole basement was full of his stuff--numerous old TV's, fishing stuff (that I never saw him use), etc..etc...there was only a path there to walk through. My late husband's mother had OCD too..she couldn't even throw out empty old used cans from food, kept them too...every now & then hubby would go over there and clean things out & throw away...she'd have a fit. She was on meds for the OCD. It can be very difficult to live with all that clutter. It's great to have a big garden for vegetables. Freezing & canning can help a lot. I finally live on a lot big enough to try that again. This thread reminds me of a magazine we used to get (among others in the same line) Mother Earth News. (still available & also on line...they may have an archives section of past articles too. There are other Frugal Living magazines out too) They had lots of articles on how to do things for yourself & ideas on 'getting off the grid'. If you've ever read books like "The Millionaire Mind" they all say that people who eventually become millionaires are not wild spenders. Many of them started off with nothing, or very little, and think carefully before spending on anything, they are very frugal people. It seems to me that getting rid of the credit cards is a top priority. Debt keeps us poor, like financial prisoners/laves to the credit companies. Good ideas are pay for your car totally when you buy it...may have to buy used to do that...or get a resonably priced car (instead of the fancy one)..buy a car without some of the 'extras'...look for a vasic car. Mine has manually rolled down windows, locks that have to open by putting in a key...none of the fancy electronic things that cost so much to get fixed when broken. It's a great little car & I love it. Also good idea is not to buy the huge, brand new fancy house...buy a smaller reasonably priced house in a moderate neighborhood. Look to live where the houseing prices are reasonable. Buy a slightly 'older' house instead of a brand new one. It's still a good idea to put as much money as you possibly can on the down payment...the old fashioned idea of 'saving-up' to buy a house is still a good one. It's also still a good idea to get a loan where you can 'pay extra on the principal' with ut penalty...and do so..make it a practice to pay extra on your principal every month..even if it's only $10.00 or $20.00 in the long run that saves you huge amounts of interest money down the line. Make sure the lender knows that that money is for the pricnipal only (write it on the check every time you do it) otherwise they will put the money toward interest or escrow. This is a better practice than paying "extra house payments'....because when you make an 'extra house payment' the money goes to your interest & escrow....not to the pricnipal. Look at your house payment bills...make sure your lender is telling you every month just how much of the money you're paying him is going to the principal, the interest, the escrow...be knowledgable about that. You have a right to know those amounts, make sure your lender tells you in writinig every month. Keep track of those amounts. You'd be surprised...almost always a house payment of $1000. a month ( or any amount) less than $75.00 actually goes to pay off the principal..all the rest goes to interest and principal. It takes years for that amount routinely paid on your principal to get up to over $100. However, if you consisetently pay extra on the principal you will see that amopunt rise faster every month. One of the things that has really put so many people in forclosure is the cost of real estate taxes....it's usually considered in the 'escrow' part of your payment...and when real estate taxes go up your house payment can suddenly, unexpectedly skyrocket out of control. Pay attention to the real estate tax listed when you buy. You can always protest the real estate taxes, but that takes time & work. I like to peruse the real estate for sale in my favorite areas on-line, just dreaming, and one thing I have notices is that although the cost of the homes themselves has dropped the real estate taxes listed has not followed suit...real estate taxes remain high in most areas. And that can make the houses still unaffordable to many people. Like I said there is a lot of information on-line & in books about 'frugal living'--it doesn't have to mean you look cheap, or are poor either. There shousl be no negative connotations anymore to being frugal...wise people save money & spend only after thinking about it. We have found a grocery store in our area (Woodmans) that is employee owned & prices are more reasonable than anywhere else (even better than WalMart/Sam/Costco) & selection of goods is huge. I love it. I feel like I'm supporting the employees every time I shop there. Found a book on how to turn sweatshirts into lovely sweat jackets, a great idea. Also when I do throw away a top, etc...if it has an appilque, or design I will cut that part off & it goes in my sewing collection to be used in the future on another garment to spruce it up. (Store bought appliques can be expensive so I save a lot of money doing that). In line with the remaking sweatshirt idea I have also cut off pockets, cuffs, buttons, a strips of snaps from garments I am throwing away to be incorporated into the sweatshirts as some of the decorative accents. Trading childrens clothes with others, shopping at stores like "Once Upon a Child" ( a second hand children's items store--I think it's a chain) are also good ideas. Belonging too and getting involved in a warm, loving family oriented church is a good idea too. Not only can it be a source of spirituality, but a social outlet for yourself and kids. Churches are a great place to find (G-rated) safe, family activities for kids. Many churches also sponsor lecture series that are low cost..some also sponsor concert events that are low cost. They're a great resource. Also a great way to meet other like-minded people who can be a source of enotional support, friendship, and ideas. Rather than go out for the expensive dinner go to the church pot luck, or social. They can be lots of fun if you let them. (note I say a warm, loving family oriented church....you may have to search around a bit to find one that fits....but remember to receive warm, lovi8ng support from any group you must also give those emotions out to others too). sallypz (MoxieMe)
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby urbanpioneer » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:55 pm

Sallypz, your advice about buying an "older home" cracked me up! I think we went overboard on that one. Our house was built in 1882, and was a wreck when I fell in love with it and had to have it. I paid $15,000 for it in 1980. Oour historic district is doing quite well now. Our house would probably easily fetch $275,000 even in today's market. I just finished reading a book that EVERYBODY SHOULD READ! The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It's about where our food comes from. One of the examples of real, local food is a farmer in Virginia who is "beyond organic". I read bits to my husband, all the while knowing this is what we're going to end up doing with our cattle ranch. It all makes so much sense. We've got to get our girls out of high school first and figure out what we're going to do with "the mansion next door" that we bought a few years ago, currently 8 apartments. Last week on our ranch we discovered enough black raspberries to supply Smuckers! Enough were ripe that I brought home enough for a batch of jam! For every ripe one we found, there were probably 30 that will be ripe this week. I don't mean to imply that my husband's pack-rattiness has reached epidemic levels. It is confined to his office and a few dozen boxes in the basement, as well as our basement store room having too many things in it. I just know that everything that we let go of now will help us move forward with our plans in the future.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby Tituba » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:42 pm

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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby Tituba » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:31 pm

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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby An8el » Thu Dec 25, 2014 9:47 pm

Has anyone mentioned this site yet? It's one of my faves, with a big following of comments and many suggestions from interesting people about how they save money with an attitude of extreme thriftiness.
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

My motives to be thrifty (without ever getting a credit card!) started when I was just a kid who's parents had died. My evil older sister told me I'd come crawling back to her when I told her that I was fed up never seeing any money from my part of the estate that was being absorbed into her household that came in the mail for my underage support at 16. She gave me this bull about how our dad had sat her down and showed her how she could not afford to live by herself the first time she moved out, given what she "needed" to spend. Strangely enough, her "necessities" at that age were expensive (nylons, having her hair done every week, etc.) and the only "luxury" I desired consisted of buying bottled water.

As it turned out, I saved enough money from the time I moved out to buy a house at an auction at 21 for $4000. The rest, (as they say,) was history. Now I wished I'd kept saving...but my experience of living without money has given me a sense of security. I see to be comfortable with having pretty much nothing, because I know I can always land on my feet - as long as I have health.
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby Tituba » Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:10 am

Thanks for the link. Maybe it is time for you to write your book on saving and life choices. :)
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Re: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby An8el » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:28 pm

Ha! You're not the first person to say that, Tituba. I seem to have trouble not writing books, but doing what it takes to get what I wrote published - even as an e-book. But now I have a "buddy" who is an old friend with her own e-book projects and so there's now hope!

Actually, the book I probably should write should probably be "how to survive and prosper if you know you're about to have to exist living out of your car."
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