Where we are now
After living above our means for several years, my husband and I have a lot of debt. Like so many people do, we have been primarily living paycheck to paycheck, often using credit cards as our emergency or even rainy day fund. Having maxed out our lives and our finances, we feel trapped. Goals like reducing our work hours, moving out of state, paying off our school loans and eventually buying a house seem impossible.
We reminisce on the early days of living together- everything was so simple. Living in a tiny little apartment and both working part time jobs, we didn’t have many things or much money, but we were so happy and free. We originally planned to keep it simple, but after we both started to work full time, we started to feel like we deserved to treat ourselves. Vacations, expensive meals out, and designer clothes became the new norm. Now we have an entire house full of stuff, no free time, and not much freedom. We’re both stuck in unfulfilling full time jobs, because we need the income just to make our minimum payments.
Our path: Reduce possessions, reduce expenses, reconnect
Beginnings are hard, and starting over is even harder. We have been putting it off for a long time, but DJ and I both know that big changes are in order.
Reduce our possessions
With closets full of stuff but nothing to wear and an attic stuffed with dusty boxes, we have tons of things to sell, donate and give away. Hopefully we will be getting rid of at least 50% of our stuff. We also have many minimalist practices in mind to further simplify our lifestyle.
First up are our closets and clothes in storage. Shopping used to be my favorite pastime, followed closely by reading fashion blogs and articles. Over the past year I have shifted my focus from trends to slow fashion. I’m looking forward to posting my process of reducing my wardrobe and making pieces I keep work for me.
Reduce our expenses
There are many financial methods, schemes and plans out there to increase savings. I have researched a lot of plans and experimented with a few things over the past few years. Since we don’t have a lot of spare time, we like to keep it really simple. Some areas that we are looking to reduce spending on are groceries, eating out, and random shopping trips.
We are looking into no-spend months and no-spend days. Cait from Blonde on a Budget has been a huge inspiration; she completed 2 years shunning non essential spending and saved a ton of money. Also this post on reddit was interesting; the author and his wife don’t buy anything on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We plan to develop an emergency savings account, then start aggressively paying off our credit cards one by one with the money we are no longer spending. After that we should be in pretty good shape to refinance our car loan and get that paid off more quickly. Then we can focus on our dreaded student loans.
Once we get rid of the excess in our lives, we will have more time for the things that matter most. Less clothes means less laundry, less things means less mess and less maintenance. Less shopping means more time for relaxation and recreation.
Instead of focusing on things, we are going to focus on the places and people around us. We’re looking forward to spending more time together enjoying nature, and connecting with our friends, family and community.