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Live The Frugal Life For Happiness
As I sit at my desk writing this article I am drinking my last diet cola. I have decided to give them up after countless years of drinking them. I would love to tell you that this decision is based on a desire to improve my health but that would be a silly waste of words. No, giving up diet cola is simply another step in my efforts to live a frugal lifestyle.
I began this quest a little over a year ago. Wait! Let me back up a bit! I really have been living frugally for quite a few years. Show me a single parent who hasn’t lived frugally and I’ll show you someone I have nothing in common with. Ever since my divorce in 1990 and especially once I gained custody of my son in 1993, living frugally has been a necessity.
What has changed lately is that now I live frugally by desire. You see, I have this theory. Would you like to hear about it? Would you really or are you just being polite while you kill a few minutes between daytime tv shows? If you are really interested then let’s continue with my theory.
THE THEORY….DRUMROLL PLEASE!
I’m not going to bore you with statistics about the economy nor am I going to quote economists. I am simply going to tell you that from my observations this economic slump we are in may be something we need to get accustomed to. It is my theory that there has been a major shift in the whole damn system and what was once expected will rarely be seen in the future. In other words, what we once took for granted, namely our lifestyle, has been altered greatly by the way the world’s economies are being manipulated. The good old days are gone forever in my humble opinion and if you are waiting for your government to restore those golden days then you are in for a long wait.
Where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me wondering what to do about my lifestyle, because I am convinced that getting by will become harder, not easier, in the years to come. I no longer have faith in the politicians to do anything even remotely close to responsible and I have serious doubts that they have the welfare of the average citizen in mind, not as long as special interest groups are able to pour billions into the political system.
I have serious concerns about the environment and our energy use and I sure don’t believe a shift away from petroleum will be happening in my lifetime. Oh hell, I have serious concerns about a number of things all related in one way: they directly affect my lifestyle and the lifestyles of my family and other loved ones.
Obviously if change is going to happen it has to happen within my little sphere of influence. To look for assistance elsewhere is a fool’s quest and daddy didn’t raise a fool.
SO WHAT’S THE PLAN, STAN?
I am going to take care of what I can take care of and in the process diminish my dependence on outside factors. Period!
Now before I go further let me state that I am fully aware that I am in a unique position. A little over a year and a half ago I quit my full-time job (with benefits) and entered the world of freelance writing. I had no financial back up plan but I also did not have family living with me so I had a certain amount of freedom. In other words, all I had to worry about was myself and I wasn’t too worried about me. One of my friends on this site asked me what I do for medical coverage. Well, I don’t have any! I can hear the gasp from the crowd because for many this is just lunacy of the highest order. Everyone needs medical coverage, right? I don’t know if that’s true; I’ll let you know as I proceed with my life.
I started at that time finding ways to save money and cut back on expenses and I am still doing it today. I am lucky to be in love with a woman who shares this goal, to live frugally, so the support system is in place as we both work towards the day when we will live on a self-sustaining farm and no longer be dependent on the whims of the world economy.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
As I explained in earlier articles, Bev and I self-published my first novel. We also started a business based on that novel, selling lavender products that are prominent in the book. We are now in the process of making that business viable and profitable.
My freelance writing business is growing and will continue to grow as long as I am able to keep churning out the product. There are many avenues to explore and I am still a novice at this but I am encouraged by the early returns and I have no doubt I can make this profitable as well.
In the meantime we are taking steps to cut expenses wherever possible for our ultimate goal of living on a self-sustaining farm will not come without considerable expense.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
We are now in the process of preparing a garden for this growing season. We have six raised-beds for some veggies and a separate 10x20 garden area. A greenhouse is in the planning stage and it is our hope that the greenhouse will give us the capabilities to grow extra to be sold.
We have cut down on our driving and we pay more attention to sales and coupons. Buying bulk is another avenue we are starting to explore.
Garage sales will keep us busy this summer as we look for items we can re-sell in our expanding business, and we religiously check craigslist for other items that can be turned around for profit.
We are always looking for ways to make money and the internet is a veritable gold mine of opportunities. There are so many ways to make an extra buck here and there if you are open to the possibilities. I am not without skills and it is up to me to find a way to market those skills. Bev is also exploring ideas for a party business and is my agent of sorts as she continues to help me with the freelance writing.
MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY
I believe we all have talents that if properly cultivated can earn us money and allow us to break free from the economic constraints and the dependence on THE SYSTEM! Often it is just a matter of willingness; often it is a matter of overcoming fear as what I am suggesting is a radical change in lifestyle and attitude, and to do as Bev and I are doing requires severing ties with a system and mindset that have been a safe comfort in the past. This is not something that is easy to do but for our peace of mind it is something that is necessary.
I have no faith in the system but more importantly I was not raised to depend on others to provide for me. If the system is failing as I believe then it is my responsibility to find a new way, one that does not depend on the system. It is much too easy to sit back and hope things will get better all the while complaining and whining that things remain the same. The “Woe Is Me Syndrome” is tedious at best and downright self-defeating at worst and I want no part of it.
Can you do the same? Most definitely you can but the larger question is, are you willing to try? To me it all comes down to attitude and belief in your abilities. It certainly helps to have a support system like I have in Bev; she is my constant guiding light, my best friend and my greatest supporter, and I believe she would say the same about me. Together we can achieve wondrous things because we both share love and a common belief: The world is our oyster just waiting for us to shuck it!
My best to you and yours and may you find peace and happiness wherever your