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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spending Less, And Enjoying It More?

I am currently reading Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker, (borrowed from the library- good for me! sorry Jacob!) whose blog I also follow.

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.


Rae said...

Building a bed... That's pretty darn cool! By the way, I like the addition of your 2011 goals to your page. I might need to borrow that idea. :)

Toni aka irishlas said...

Unfortunately for us, early retirement isn't going to happen. But, with that being said, we are on track to have the house paid off when the hubsters can retire in 9 years. We are being very aggressive to get rid of this debt since it is our largest.

I find the 20% reduction on utilities interesting. That's quite a big reduction, but, I'd love to see how you make out. I'll have to investigate ours to see just what percentage we would be able to accomplish. Our biggest downfall to accomplish this is that we both work from home 90% of the time therefore our energy bills are higher than say those who are out of the house for 9-10 hours.

I love your goals list. I find lists rewarding, not overwhelming. I like to cross things off. I guess I've come to an age that if it doesn't get done, I don't overly worry about it. Like my Ma always says " sure as hell nobody's gonna do it for you. It'll get done when it gets done".

Damn, I hate it when she's right :-)

Good luck with the goals and it will be fun to encourage everyone with all their goals!

Anonymous said...

Do you recycle? We have cut our trash from once a week to once a month.

You are such a great writer, have you thought about a weekly writing in your local newspaper?

I think about you and your heart take care.


Paula said...

Beverly- we recycle assiduously, and have for years. We don't stop at curbside recycling, either. We've a spot in the utility room where I collect stuff to take all the way to the recyclers (Far West Fibers on 17th in Portland) that I can't recycle curbside- stuff like plastic bags, wrapping, and containers and lids, and other things that can't go in the curbside bin. I'm not sure how, exactly, I'm going to reduce our trash, but I'm still going to try!

Toni- I know what you mean- with Steve working at home, electricity gets used all the time. Plus, we added a freezer this year, although it is a very efficient freezer. I'm hoping the new fridge will help as well. The big thing we just committed to today is less TV. I'll watch my news, and Steve has to have his Jeopardy fix, but at 7:30, off it goes. Except Monday, and Thursday, and Friday and Saturday, although I'm trying to get him interested in doing something other than watch TV on a Friday or Saturday night. I'm also making sure the lights are off in any room that we're not using. We usually leave the light over the stove on all evening, but not anymore. I'll report on our progress.

Rae- it will be cool if I manage to do it! Feel free to take any idea you deem worthy.

Miriam said...

I so admire the integrity with which you are creating your life - you have strongly held values, and you're sticking to 'em even when it's tough. Good on you!

Did I mention to you before that wonderful website with all the furniture plans: ? If I did, sorry to repeat, but if I didn't, you have to go look! I bet there is a wonderful bed plan just waiting for you.

Paula said...

Thanks Miriam, and you did- I was thinking about it yesterday because I have a bunch of her table plans bookmarked. I just went out and checked out some of her bed plans, and in some instances I'm not sure I like the way she's put parts of it together, but in other instances I thought- of course! why didn't I think of that! So I think when it comes time to do it, the plan I use will be some of hers and some of mine. Thank you again for pointing me to her site in the first place!