Jacob's ideology of extreme early retirement is built on what he calls three pillars, which I'll distill here: 1) reduce waste and increase efficiency, 2) significantly reduce expenses and invest the difference (he maintains that without a consumerist mentality, one could live on a quarter of what most do- I think this is the 'extreme' part. I'd be lucky if I could manage half!), 3) find something meaningful to do instead of work. What's interesting about this is that Fiona over at The Cottage Smallholder was sort of forced into this by a long-term illness. No longer being to work in her chosen profession, she's had to develop multiple sources of income. And she says she's forced to be more frugal now but she's happier now than she's been in years. To my mind, that means she's very successful, then.
So between Fiona's success and what of Jacob's book I've read so far, I'm inspired to add a few more items to my goals for 2011. To wit:
Spend 20% less on utilities where we can control it, i.e., gas and electricity.
Reduce active spending.
Reduce trash created; try for one bag every two weeks instead of one every week.
Waste less of everything.
Develop several sources of income.
Already I am considering trying to build a bed for us instead of buying the one we finally settled on; it turned out that in addition to solid pine, it also is manufactured of MDF and spruce veneers. MDF off gases, and it would be near our heads, so neither of us are interested in this particular bed anymore. I stumbled around online to look for a bed and most sites don't want to give you any real information on what materials the beds contain, so it looks more and more like I'll have to make it myself to make sure of its materials. This should mean that it will be a lot less expensive than if I buy it.
There are other projects that I need to address first, chief of which is the Room of Pending Stuff (thank you, Jennifer Montero, for that name- it implies action!), on which I'll start today. But I'm also thinking about how best to tackle a bed, and I know I have longish pieces of 4X4's out in the garage that will work for bed posts. I suspect that Steve will want me to get the kitchen finished first, and I definitely have to get the top bar hive made before the bees show up.
So much to do, and so far, I have the time.