Thursday, 19 June 2014
Our first priority when we bought this little farm eleven years ago was to be mortgage free as soon as possible. We both worked at our paid jobs and in the early mornings, evenings and weekends we worked together to build and establish what we felt was important. Planting trees and starting a vegetable garden.
After four and a bit years we made our last payment to the bank. It was a wonderful feeling and it gave us a sense of freedom which we still maintain. To achieve this we had to spend less and learn to make things from scratch. We both wanted the same outcome, to be mortgage free, so it wasn't difficult. That's the first step. It's no good if one of the partnership can't resist buying things. Both of us needed to be on the same page.
It's possible to live a rich life whilst being frugal and after the mortgage was paid we just went on living the same way.
I was then able to cut my working days to three days a week, but of course by doing so our income would be much smaller. We don't earn huge salaries but we feel rich in many ways and grateful that we both have jobs that we enjoy. Living within our means has made the journey possible.
This is how I have the time to make our food from scratch from the best possible produce that we can grow here in our own soil and on our land.
Happiness means different things to all people. To us it comes from the freedom we feel and the sense of responsibility we have towards everything we eat. It's not about owning the biggest, newest, most expensive things.
We do have the freedom to buy whatever we desire, but if we can source that object from an *Op-shop, a Garage sale or Gumtree, that's even better. The thrill of the chase.
If we do have to buy something new, we would rather do without until we can pay for it right now. In cash. Not on credit.
How much more sustainable it is to buy or recycle what someone else has discarded in their quest to buy bigger, newer, better. Mostly you will find those are the people who just can't seem to get off the treadmill of debt.
The sofa we have had for over ten years is comfortable, in good condition and fits perfectly in our living room, but the covering was dated and gloomy. Instead of paying out thousands of dollars on a new one I purchased the cover I wanted on-line for less than $100.
When our toaster died I took two slices of bread to the local op-shop where I found a suitable toaster and asked the lady to plug it in so we could test how well it did the job. It toasted perfectly and for $4 is still functioning four years later.
The food processor was a $3 find at a Garage Sale. It has a blender that whips up our daily smoothies and the chopper blades to make breadcrumbs, cheesecakes etc.
The old Sunbeam in the corner was purchased some years ago for a grand sum of $26 and has churned out many kilos of butter, birthday cakes, whipped cream and, as it's almost as old as I am, looks like a lovely vintage piece.
We don't buy take-away food, nor do we buy take-away coffees or habitually go out for lunches or coffee. When we do that it's for a special occasion and is a treat. While I understand that many people love to go out for coffee it's just not something that we feel we need to do and that is another example of how we are all different. Why would we want to eat out when we're eating quality food right here in the surroundings we love?
It's not all work and no play. We love to travel to new places within our own country with our old but efficient caravan. The "pre-loved" van is sufficient for our needs and will do us for many years to come. Small, basic and easy to tow, there is no need to get caught up in the endless quest for newer and better.
Overseas travel is something we enjoy occasionally and is another benefit of being frugal in our day to day lives.
It's all about balance, loving where you are and what you are doing.
Take the time to slow down and appreciate the simple things because none of us can have our cake and eat it too.
*Op-shop is a where donated items are sold to raise money for different charities. ie, Vinnies, The Red Cross, or the local community charities. Items range from clothing to toys to furniture & hardware.