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A Tour of a Frugal Home
Being True to My Word
I have preached in many articles about the advantages and wisdom of frugal living. I think, in today’s economy, it is not a unique approach to living but the only practical approach.
Things will get worse. Take that promise to the bank and deposit it in your savings account. For many of you, it will be the only thing you deposit in savings this month.
The middle class is shrinking, the poor are increasing, and the top one percent is getting richer. The government is bought and paid for, and legislation continues to be passed that will benefit those who already have economic power. It is true in the United States and it is true in most countries around the world.
Those are the facts we face as we prepare for another work day. The hole is getting deeper and our shovel is broken.
Faced with that reality, an increasing number of people are turning to frugality as the only logical answer. They are buying according to needs rather than wants. They are eliminating credit and paying in cash or bartering. They are embracing used and rejecting new.
Yes, I have preached this in many articles, but do I live it? Perhaps some of you think I am just a writer doing his thing, stretching the truth but not practicing it.
Well allow me to give you a tour of our home. Let me be your eyes as we see what a truly frugal home looks like.
Are you ready? Follow me, then, and let’s get started.
Go Ahead and Park in the Driveway
There’s room right next to my 1997 Ford Ranger and Bev’s 2011 Honda Fit. No new cars for us. It’s just not practical. We can’t afford to pay cash for a new car, and we sure as hell aren’t going to go into debt for five years and make the credit companies richer than they already are….so the used cars will do nicely.
As you get out of the car, take a look at the house. It is a three-bedroom rambler with 1,100 square feet. Three of us live here full-time. We never know when one of our kids will come back home to live for awhile, so the garage was converted into a bedroom just in case.
Our home is sixty years old, and it is in need of repair. It needs a new roof for sure. It needs a paint job. It needs a variety of other repairs, but they will have to wait until funds are available. That’s just the way it is when living a frugal lifestyle. Even needs are placed on a priority list, waiting their turn until we can afford to do them. What we will not do is go into debt to pay for those repairs and upgrades.
Come Inside and Don’t Mind the Dogs
There are three of them, and they will lick you to death if you don’t just tell them to scoot.
Welcome! The first thing I want you to notice is that there is nothing new in this house. Nothing! All furniture is secondhand. Some was purchased at garage sales. Some we found on the side of the road, and some was passed down in the family.
We do not believe in new.
Does the interior need repairs? Most definitely! We need new flooring in the kitchen and the bathroom. The walls could really use a coat of paint. It would be nice to put a finish on the wood floors, and we need insulation in the attic.
In time….priorities….available cash….that’s how we rock and roll in this house.
You will also notice how comfortable it is here when you visit us. There is no need to take your shoes off when you enter. In fact, if you want to put your feet on the furniture, feel free to do that as well. For us, a home is about comfort and love. We want you to feel at home in our home. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You permanently damage a piece of furniture that might have cost us ten dollars max? We’ll just go to a garage sale and get another one, so don’t worry about it.
Please note, also, that there is very little clutter. That’s because we got rid of the superfluous junk that we don’t need. We are down to essentials in this house and we love it that way. There is less to clean. There is less to pick up. There is less to store.
And less is beautiful!
Come on out Back
This is where it’s really happening at our home. You’ll notice the garden filled with vegetables and herbs. You’ll also notice the six chickens that provide us with fresh eggs daily. With all that we still have room to grow, and that room will be used for beekeeping and goats in the next year.
Yes, there is a back lawn, and yes, I despise lawns. Not only do they need mowing, but they really serve no purpose in the environment….so this lawn is going to be gone soon. I want to increase the amount of herbs we grow here, and I also want to build a brick barbecue/oven at some point in the near future. Since we don’t need the lawn there is no reason to have it. Am I right or am I right? The same can be said for the small lawn we have in the front yard. Eventually we want a miniature edible forest in the front, complete with grapes and berries, herbs and fruit trees. You don’t have to mow a fruit tree, and I love that fact.
Our property covers about 1/8th of an acre, and as I mentioned earlier, the house is about 1,100 square feet of living space. Let me repeat something so you fully comprehend: there is nothing new in our property. We do not buy new. We needed a washer the other day and bought a used one for $180. It works fine. We needed a dreaded lawnmower last month. We bought one used for $25. It works fine.
Why not buy new you ask? Because there is no reason to do so! New costs more, and our money is for necessities. New means more raw materials needed, and that is bad for the environment. Since neither Bev nor I have egos that require status symbols, there is no possible reason why new should ever enter our home.
Do you consider yourself frugal?
How Do We Pay for It All?
Quite easily, thank you very much. Bev has a full-time job as a store merchandiser, and I am a full-time writer. Between the two of us, we make about $30,000 per year. We have a mortgage payment and a small amount of dental debt, and that is it.
We are ready for the next recession. No matter what the idiots in Washington D. C. do during their next legislative session, we are ready for it. No matter how many financial roadblocks are created by big business and the lending institutions, we are immune to it.
In other words, we made a conscious decision to firmly grasp our destinies so that we did not have to worry about the vagaries of the market or political landscape.
And now, how about you? How are things in your household? Are you like tens of millions of Americans, one paycheck removed from the poverty line? Are you silently praying that your job will exist next year? Are you hoping against hope that the economy will improve next year, and that you’ll get that much needed dollar per hour raise?
In the meantime, we will be living our frugal lifestyle, and we will be worry-free.
Life is good, don’t you think?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)