How to get my mind rightgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I am new to country living,not new to WANTING to be here though, and need help on how to get out of the habits I've built in town. Frivolous spending,wasting energy(human and electric),planning ahead-don't know what to plan for yet!! but when the new needs come up I feel like such a duhhh. My dear hubby is very well read and is geared up for the change much much better than I. I want the "farm" to succeed and I must admit,I want to please him! Anyone have any where-to-start-suggestions for me? We know for sure this place was a gift from God and His ideas always work. I just want to do it right!Thanks in advance. In Messiah's name.Q.
-- queen (email@example.com), December 23, 2000
I presume you work off the homestead, or your husband does. Figure out what is the absolute minimum you need to spend to pay your bills and provide for your necessities for one month. Then figure out what you have left over from one month's pay. Divide the left over amount by the number of hours that went into earning the month's pay. For example, if you have $500 left over and you worked 180 hours in a month, your hourly rate for "disposable income" is $2.77. So that $40.00 dinner out just cost you
-- Laura Jensen (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 2000.
I presume you work off the homestead, or your husband does. Figure out what is the absolute minimum you need to spend to pay your bills and provide for your necessities for one month. Then figure out what you have left over from one month's pay. Divide the left over amount by the number of hours that went into earning the month's pay. For example, if you have $500 left over and you worked 180 hours in a month, your hourly rate for "disposable income" is $2.77. So that $40.00 dinner out that you enjoyed for two hours cost you over 14 hours of work. I find this kind of thinking really slows me down and I only buy what I know I will REALLY enjoy, or use, etc. Hope this helps. (Sorry for the double post.)
-- Laura Jensen (email@example.com), December 23, 2000.
One thing that I read and that I try to apply to many areas of my life is that the way to break old habits it to create new ones. It takes the same effort to create a good habit as a poor one. Spending was a huge adjustment for me when I started "homesteading" full time. I had earned a very good income and was used to just buying what came into my mind for the most part (I'm not talking about big time yuppie spending here but clothes and household gadget stuff etc. Now in the spending category I think about each purchase. (that includes food items) Do I need it? Will I really use it? Can I make it myself? Can I make it myself cheaper? Could I buy it at a thrift shop or garage sale? Will I still want it a year from now? I sure wish I had had something like this forum when I was first starting out. I had a sort of mentor but not in a lot of the areas I needed mentoring in. Here you can watch peoples responses and with a little time know which ones are telling you what they have DONE and which ones are telling you what they have READ and which ones are dreaming in print. I would find someone on the forum (a woman for a woman would be best) that you think you could trust and ask them to be your e-mail buddy. When you were in doubt about something or just needed to vent some frustration over a project or something you would not have to do it in front of the "whole family". Just a thought- my dear one and I think of our place as a gift from God also. Just a loan that we are intrusted to be good stewards over. Hope that helps - diane
-- diane (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 2000.
We've been "odd balls" for awhile now.My doctor once said he thought I led an "interesting" life. I asked him if that was a polite way of saying eccentric.
So,here's my suggestion.
Think about what you really value MOST.It gets pretty simple,when you look at it that way.
Pretty much gets down to your loved ones and having a roof over your head and enough food to eat,and a belief system or spirituality to carry you thru to ups & downs.Focus your energies on those areas.
We carry little cash on us.$25 allowance each week per person.That's for gas, lunch money for the kids when they were still home, maybe stamps,etc.Now we often have plenty left out of that.Hubbie would stash what was left away and save up for a special purchase, like FISHING equipment!The man has enough lures to last him the rest of his life, and a few more after that.Enough rods to outfit an army of crazed fishermen.He got me(him)a flyrod for my birthday one year.An ultra light rod another year.I really liked that one,though.Then one time when he was using it, he went and broke it. Boy, was I ticked.
Oh,yeah,we also no longer buy each other presents,the farm IS our lifelong present to each other.
I have a credit card for purchases as needed,like ordering over the phone,when traveling, or now Ebay, but make sure it is paid off each month. No exceptions. If you can't buy it outright, you probably don't need it.Go back to "what you value" part.
Any purchase over $50, we both have to agree it is a good idea.That way you have two heads making a decision.Alot of impulse buying goes out the door.Not that hard to adhere to actually.
We stay home.We love it here. Why would we want to go somewhere? Here's a santuary from the trials of the outside world.And,there sure is plenty to keep you busy here! And really fun things, too. Snowball fight, anyone? A good run in the snow with the dog? Peaceful walk on a snowy moonlit night.Perfect oportunity to contemplate higher thoughts and get closer to your God.And good excersize to boot.
And,who needs a health club ,when you garden?
Staying home also saves lots of money.In gas. In not being in a store and buying things you don't necessarily need. Kids can run around & play outside and get fresh air and excercize and not be bored.
It's alot harder to make ends meet with kids still at home,but the time you spend with them IS more valuable than any present you could possible give them.My fond memories...helping Mom hang out the wash,and sitting & peeling & shelling & snipping up stuff to be canned, and helping her cook the meals.Because we talked and we laughed, and we bonded for life and beyond, while doing these things.
'course I really liked the giant pink stuffed dog I got for Christmas one year, too! Hey,I'm human!
Finally,just keep reading both here and your Countryside! There have been some great threads just yesterday & today on this: "Old fashion way to stay warm" "Shortcut or trade secret" "Save money for a week" and for the real zealot "Outlandish money saving" Enjoy!
Hope this helps.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), December 23, 2000.
Well, your husband sounds very capable, and I'm sure he didn't marry anyone who isn't his match! You will do just fine at this lifestyle. Hang around here and soak up all this wisdom (and some folly, too!) Relax and take the time to enjoy your learning, and you'll meet your objectives (and you may find that they even change a bit!)Country goals are seasonal, and they kind of work on their own time. You'll develop a rhythm right along with the seasons. Right now is a good time to move a little slower....
Welcome and glad to hear from you. We're all here to help.
-- sheepish (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 2000.
When we get our paycheck from my "city job" , we pay ourselves (about 10 %) off the "top" along with tithing. Our pay goes into our place for improvements and at the same time helps us to budget ourselves 20 to 30% lower than our income.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), December 23, 2000.
Queen, If you are living in the country your mind IS right! As far as ideas for changing habits go, I can only tell you what we do and you can decide if it works for you.
I rarely go to town unless I really have to have something (which doesn't happen much when you start planning ahead). I stay out of the malls and Wal-Marts, throw away all sales flyers and magazines (Sears, ets.) that come in the mail without looking at them, and never have cash. My husband gets an "allowance" every month ($60) for candy, snacks, or whatever. I am good at not buying anything that cant be eaten. It also helps to plan out a weeks worth of menus and shop for them so you are never left standing at the stove at 5 pm with no ideas for dinner, "lets just eat out". Hmmmm.....maybe I should re-read that last line and do it more often myself!
Don't get hard on yourself, anything you do is better than nothing. The library will have lots of info on specific things (like how to raise a goat, a garden, etc). And of course, this forum is priceless. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your farm!!
-- Julie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 2000.
It is very true that replacing old habits with new ones is the most painless way to lose the old ones. When you discover what type of hobbies and projects you want to pursue you will find that you are probably way too busy to even think about your old lifestyle. Around here I am so occupied with the garden, canning, the chickens, playing with the kids, quilting and trying to READ whenever I get a chance, that going shopping is something I do as a last resort! But sometimes it can be fun to bargain hunt (never buy anything that isn't on sale). I always try to make do with what I have and have often waited for several years for certain items (waiting for a good bargain) I also spend a lot of time volunteering which takes up a good bit of time. I never regret not working and making money, even though money is necessary in today's world, there are always ways to use less of it. The decisions you make early in life can influence your future in ways you may not imagine. No 30 year mortgages or new car loans for us! We pay for everything up front and sleep better at night bercause of it. Best wishes for a great life in the country.
-- Melissa (email@example.com), December 23, 2000.
A big step that I have taken in this direction is to 86 the TV. When you are being fed a steady diet of ads and "needs" it's hard to feel sufficient in what you have. I used to be a big spender until I got the Tightwad Gazette books (on a spluge, ironically enough). The hints and viewpoints really did change my life, and are probably what made it possible for us to be making about half of what we used to and saving almost half of what we make, while living better than we ever have, room and board-wise. I always recommend these books (although now I recommend checking them out of the library!) to anyone starting out on a "smaller footprint" type of lifestyle. Good luck and remember - everything in moderation - including moderation!
-- Soni (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 2000.
First thing I'd suggest is avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. Next learn how to cook from scratch. Cooking from scratch will change your frame of mind and save you lots of money. Get a milk cow or milk goats....talk about fun!...learning to make things from and use your own milk is really cool. My hubby likes to remind me I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I used to enjoy all day shopping trips with all the bells and whistles when I was younger. In my case once I got out on my own it was a rude awakening. I tried to continue living as I was used to and it was a disaster. I was more or less forced into conserving money and making do. But now that I have been living this way I wouldn't choose to go back if I could. Just remember that living simply isn't depriving yourself...it is choosing to be more directly in control of your life. Get yourself some useful hobbies. There are lots of things to choose from. Welcome to the family!
-- Amanda in Mo (email@example.com), December 23, 2000.
I have trouble with this 2-3 times a year otherwise I do real well, I play the NEED, WANT game, when you really stop and think about it there is really few things we actually need. Someone mentioned cooking from scratch, you'll be amazed at how your grocery buying habits change once you do this, I go up and down the isle and think well I really don't need much, just staples really. I've bought a lot of canned veggies the last 2 years cause we've been in a drought season which I'm hoping ends this next year and I won't have to buy much of that again. Stay out of the mall and Wallyworld as advised, if you need something and know someone who's going ask them to get it for you, really helps me. Men are pretty good at just going in and getting what is needed and getting out, unless they venture over to the tool or automotive isle, LOL. Good luck
-- Carol in Tx (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 24, 2000.
I find that I really don't like to spend money on anything unless it is practical. I don't like store-bought knick knacks, etc. When it comes to decorating the house I use things that have been created by friends and family. I have about a dozen paintings that have been done by my hubby and my granfather. I sew and quilt so I use those talents to help me decorate. I am currently trying to redecorate my entire house through garage sales and flea markets and gifts from friends. I have a friend that is buying a $700,000 house and she wanted to get rid of some of her old stuff. (She obviously has more money than she knows what to do with. LOL) She gave me a lovely wicker settee, chair and table along with some white wicker baskets. She also gave me two garbage bags full of decorator baskets and a flip top table. I have plans for all of it. The baskets will be placed on a shelf near the ceiling to decorate my sewing room or I may put them on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. Or I might hang them as a wall mosiac in the dining room. I'm not sure yet. I do this not because I have to. Money is not a problem for us, but I just love the challenge of trying to do things frugally and make a showplace with it. I think it is all in how you look at what you are doing. You can either think of it as being poor and woe is me, etc. or you can look at it as a challenge to show off your creative talents. When people ask me what I would like for birthdays or Christmas I always tell them something home made or something practical. I love the home made stuff whether it is canned goods or creative arts because I can always use them. These are also the kinds of gifts I make. I sew my own clothes and buy the fabric on sale. I rarely go shopping in a department store unless it is for something practical. I also think it is important to find something you love and indulge yourself. I enjoy sewing and quilting so these are part of my entertainment as well. I also like to read constantly but usually go to the library for my books. I would just as soon have hubby buy me some chickens than a new dress. I don't look like a vagabond because I do have a good job with a federal agency and I have to look presentable but I don't spend a lot of money for clothes particularly because I sew them. I always buy the patterns when they are on sale for no more than $1.99. I look at the pattern books a day ahead of the sale and write down the numbers. Then I get there when the store opens and pull out the patterns in my size. I stock up on them. Then when material goes on sale, I look at my patterns to see what I have and buy that on sale as well. Above all, make sure you spend some money on something that brings you happiness. You don't want everything to be drudgery. It's best if you can come up with a hobby that gives you pleasure but allows you to create something you can use or give as gifts. That way it doesn't bother you to spend the money. Good luck. I think you will do just fine.
-- Colleen (email@example.com), December 25, 2000.
WOW, what good ideas!!! I second them all, and add this one thought. It is amazing how often I find something that I really WANT at a store, but walk away reluctantly because I can't justify the espense. Then...at a yard sale or a thrift shop--I find the exact same item, for a FRACTION of the original price. God gave it to me at a price I could easily afford...just because He is like that!
I have found that I am happier now with less things, of better quality. Like my purse---it is two years old, and still looks good; I use it every day, and throw it in the laundry when it is grubby looking; but I paid $24.00 at an Eddie Bauer store, and it doesn't look like I'll have to but another one for a long time. And you don't have to buy it new--nicely made things are cheek to jowl with the shoddy stuff at thrift stores. Classsic things are classic because they have stood the test of time. A stainless steel milking bucket will last for years, as will a cast iron dutch oven, or a HEAVY wooden spoon, or a Rubbermaid rubber spatula. If you HAVE to buy these things new, they are well worth the initial expense. And if you find them at a yard sale or thrift store, grab them up and REJOICE...'cause, honey, you just been blessed again!!!!
-- Leann Banta (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 25, 2000.
I can attest to that with a great big AMEN!
I have found so many things at garage sales that were a fraction of the cost of the new. And usually they work great!
Yes, I think someone listens when we ask....I am sure he doesn't really want His children to go without!
-- Cher Rovang (email@example.com), December 25, 2000.
Sharon, don't you enjoy being eccentric? I do. How I found out I was eccentric was by a 13 year old girl. Very wise for her years. We went to the same church. She like to wear bright red clothes and lipstick and she was quite albino-ish, and I ate extremely healthy, people thought I was weird. She told me one day that we are o.k. because we are eccentric. I wasn't about to argue with her. Queen, enjoy the walk, finding yourself and your homesteading ways is a true gift and enjoyment. Go for the gusto:~} Blessings.
-- Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 2000.