Getting Used To Less
Some big changes are happening around here. For the past 5 years (as well as several years after I met him) my husband has worked as a chief engineer on an entrepreneurial vessel, sailing around the world, including Jamaica, Uruguay, Angola, England, Brazil and many more. But a few days ago he quit his job and is taking a temporary job right here on the island. Not only will this be a whole new kind of daily life for all of us, with him here every day instead of just every other month, it will also mean a quite significant drop in our income. For the foreseable future we will have to make do with about 20.000 dkk ( 3.300 USD / 2.700 Euro) les each month than what we have been used to. I have no room for tabus in my life, I believe in sharing and transparancy, so when I name the exact number, it is not so that anyone will feel sorry for me or us (we will be fine :-) ) it is solely in the name of keeping it real and to give you an idea of what I personally consider to be a significant sum of money.
Luckily, neither myself nor my husband, have any interest in fancy cars, designer clothes or furniture. We don't collect art or antiques. We don't eat at expensive restaurants. What we value the most is fresh air, a life without stress, and a place where our children can grow up safely and in connection with nature, the changing seasons, and the loving responsibility of taking care of animals.
Whenever my husband complains about my "expensive taste" (which is often) he is referring to the fact that I love quality materials. So when we need to build a new wall in the house as we go through the renovation, I want it to be brick or stone, not non-sustainable flimsy wood or plaster. I don't like cheap boxy Ikea furniture, when I can find a beautiful old incredible-quality handmade cabinet at a flea market for the same price. If you put three photos in front of me of three different sofas or three different stoves or kitchen cabinets or anything, you can be darn sure that the one I happen to like the most will also turn out to be the most expensive and (often) handcrafted one. I just have a feel and eye for quality.
Nonetheless, it will still be quite an adjustment to get used to less. It will certainly make life more "difficult" and slightly more serious. But I have chosen to take it as a positive challenge and learning experience. So now I have gone into saving mode. I am reading up on all the budget posts on one of my favourite blogs: Jodi Wilson's Practising Simplicity, and am re-reading both Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and Get Rich Lucky Bitch (great book! despite the very provocative title).
Ida's riding lessons have been put on hold. I am making strides to end my expensive and unnecessary addiction to sea salt-almond chocolate and the world's best ice cream (made here on the island at Cafe Aroma). I have cancelled our Netflix subscription (So now I am binge watching The Ranch, Girl Boss, The Crown and documentaries every night before bed until the current subscription period runs out). I am expanding our vegetable garden this autumn, so we can extend our growing season and save on grocery shopping. We have agreed with our families to stop the christmas and birthday gift giving among the adults. And we have told the kids we will not be participating on the annual family skiing holiday this year. Over time we may be able to roll some of these changes back, but for the next couple of months we cut everything that is non-essential to our existence and thriving. While my husband's salary is fixed, mine is not. Owning my own business, I can, in theory, just work more to earn more. There is no real ceiling on my income possibilities. However, the last thing I want to do is be forced to work so many more hours that I get ill with stress again, just to pay for a Netflix subscription or the luxury of a ski trip to Norway. Both of those are wonderful to have but we don't NEED them. My husband has supported us for the past 10 years. And although I have worked my ass off!! building and running my business since 2008, any money I made were 100% extra, "fun" income. And while I always thought it was liberating and a luxury to have a husband who could support me, I now feel a new river of empowerment surging through me. The fact that now we can earn the same, or maybe I will even be able to earn more some day soon, that thought fills me with a new energy I have never felt before.
At first it can be difficult to see in which areas you can save. At first glance everything feels essential and necessary, and you can't imagine life without it. But if you change your perspective and start seeing it as play, as a game, challenge yourself to see just how much you can get rid of and discover that you are still okay, the easier it gets. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we are all together and that we are all healthy.
What things or habits or experiences that you feel you need, could you actually get rid of if you had to and still be happy and thriving in your life?