Glitches, Snafus and All That Jazz

16 Sep

Writing a blog is a new experience for me.  I’m still learning the ins and outs of it, and am starting to think that a short class in computer programming may be a good investment of my time.  I haven’t even found the cable to connect my digital camera to my computer to upload pictures yet, and we moved months ago!   But practice makes perfect, as they say, so I shall soldier on and learn as I go, and this blog will begin to take shape in the very near future.

I want to be able to link to all of the great blogs and writers that I am enjoying.  Most notably, I am enjoying reading Radical Homemakers – Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture,  by Shannon Hayes.  I guess Scott and I kind of fall into that category: purposefully lowering our lifestyle in order to live more freely and less burdened by debt and outside responsibility.  Being a true “homemaker” is hard work, though, and I am eagerly counting down the days until I am gainfully unemployed and can spread the work out over a week, instead of cramming it in on the weekends.

So bear with us, readers, as we toddle on in our blogging, as well as our shift into minimalism, homemaking and all sorts of assorted goodness and joy!

Cheers!

Brenda

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Ice is Nice (or how to make small steps towards cutting the budget)

8 Sep

I love ice. I am an ice chewer, ice cruncher, ice connoisseur. I will fill a glass with ice, then pour enough iced tea over it to just melt it a little bit. Drink the tea, then crunch the ice (yes, my dentist tells me how foolish this is).

My favorite ice is the good, crunchy kind that comes in the 20 pound bag at the grocery store. For $3.99.  For frozen water. It never bothered me to shell out four bucks, plus tax, for frozen water until recently.  Faced with only one income and little money left over for luxuries and indulgences, I had to rethink my ice habit.

Not ready to give it up cold turkey (groan), I chose instead to do it the old-fashioned way: I would make it myself.  Silly?  Perhaps, but it is taking one small step in the right direction.  And that is what this journey is – small steps in the right direction.

Next step is to work on cutting the coffee budget, but hey, we’re not savages here.  We needs our coffee!  I will gladly give up basic cable if I can get my Peet’s fix regularly.  That being said, we have significantly cut the eating out/entertainment budget.  We are definitely making progress.

The funny thing about progress is, we tend not to miss those “must-haves” as much as we thought we would.  I like to cook and will gladly whip up something delish for dinner if it means saving money.  When you both work busy jobs, plus have school, exercise, chores and what not, that is when eating out becomes a “must-have”.  But by careful planning ( and by counting down the days until I no longer work a 40-hour week) and doing major cooking on the weekends, weeknight dinners are mostly reheatable and easy.

What small steps can you make to move towards independence?  Packing your lunch?  Making your own ice?  It all adds up and I encourage you to start small and think big.

Cheers!

Brenda

One Couple’s Quest for Simplicity and Self-determinism

6 Sep

Welcome to our blog.  We are Scott and Brenda – a couple of forty-somethings living in Sacramento, CA, who have started this blog as a way to record our newest adventure.

Our new adventure involves embracing a new lifestyle that leans toward minimalism in an effort to simplify, and take control over the outcome of, the rest of our lives.

Brenda likes to cook, bake, knit, bead, take pictures, garden in her tiny yard, and stay active; Scott is a graduate student in English Lit, he likes to eat Brenda’s cooking, write poetry and fiction, read and study literature and literary theory, brew beer, run, and occasionally has a little fun on the side.  (Not that kind of fun; just regular fun.)

Our Happy Hour grew from our habit over the years to close out our days after work by sharing a drink on the front porch, where we would recount to one another the day’s events, whether good or bad.  Over the past couple of years, we have come to realize that this seems wrong.  Life’s best moments – its Happy Hours – should not be relegated to the remains of a worn-out day. Why can’t life be its own Happy Hour?

It is our hope that our journey will result in enjoying more of our lives, giving ourselves more opportunity to pursue the things we really enjoy, rather than leaving ourselves with the dregs of an existence that has been largely consumed by a workday where our efforts have benefited somebody else.

We have already downsized to a roughly 800 square foot duplex, but it is still much too full of stuff.  We are downsizing our budget, and have set a date where Brenda gets to quit her job (October 15!!).  Until then, we are living on one income and tweaking what we need to do to get by.  Our goal is that we eventually support ourselves without need for an outside job.

In writing this blog, we welcome you to come along on our journey and share our experiences.  There will be ups as well as downs, but we will experience them all together.

Cheers!