Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Down-shifting

One of the things my husband and I do for recreation and relaxation is go hiking in the mountains or along ocean beaches. It's what we do on special weekends, or when we're too stressed and feel the need to get away from it all. It's something we've been doing since before we were together as a couple. It's our history, our celebration, our hobby. On the surface, this is a pretty frugal hobby; just walking in the woods or on a beach can't be too expensive, can it?

Well, we have a tendency to go a bit over board. One of our favorite hikes is a 2 hour drive away, and one we were intending to do today is a 3 hour drive. So that's a lot of time and a fair amount of gas. Then, we also often splurge on hiking foods, more expensive than our normal fair- trail mix, chocolate, nuts, protein bars- all unnecessary of course, but we still do it.

Anyway, the point of this post is that we had been kind of talking around and thinking about the incongruity of driving for an hour or more to go walk somewhere (an admittedly beautiful somewhere). Wasting time, money, and spending unnecessary time in a car to do something that we probably could do just as well closer to home. Today, for the first time, we said no to our original, far flung paths, and choose a destination much closer to home. Instead of a 3 hour drive and a ferry ride, we drove 30 minutes (to the town we'll be living in next year), parked our car at my parents' house (we'll also sell the car next year), and rode on a really awesome bike trail (for 35 miles, which may have been a mistake since it's been over a year since either of us got on a bike...).



And it was a really awesome, laid-back, relaxing day! We got all of the benefits, with none of the drawbacks. I know it's a relatively small thing,  but it's pretty huge for me, and it will help us save a lot of money over the coming years. And it's really about the shift in mindset; getting more with less.


Here are some of the money saving changes we're looking to start this year:

0-1 roommates => 2-4 roommates

Eating out once or twice a month => potlucks once or twice a month; if we do eat out, we share one entree.

Driving an hour or two (or more...) by our selves => finding good walks, hikes, and bike rides in our town; carpooling with friends for out of town adventures.

Having a car => not having a car.

Buying food from the grocery store => volunteering at the coop for a discount, buying in bulk, growing a garden, foraging for fruit over the summer.

Buying clothes new => going back to only buying used clothes, or clothes on super discount (I don't want to buy shoes, socks, or underwear used, for example, so they will be bought on discount).

Going out to the movies => board game nights at home with friends.

These are shifts that will save a lot of money, and most of them will actually improve our quality of life. This is what frugality and simple living is about; looking at your options, and getting more quality of life, enjoyment, savings, etc, for less money, time, and effort. 

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