Monday, February 7, 2011
A minimalist, or a middleist?
Lately I've been reading several blogs (like this one, this one, and this one) that I've stumbled across pertaining to living a minimalist lifestyle. It's not something I've sought out, but I've just come across them by reading other blogs about money saving, coupon clipping and budgeting. And I must say, I'm rather intrigued by this lifestyle. I don't know if I'm up for it though, but I don't know that I'm NOT. Most of these families that I've read about have one or no cars, have washing machines, but not dryers, they compost and recycle like crazy, grow their own gardens, only have a few articles of clothing, things like that. I'm all about saving money, and their are definitely certain aspects that I think are totally doable for us. But there are certain things that I'm just not willing to give up. (Like my dryer)
I'm fairly certain I'm going to give cloth diapering a try with this new baby. Some people tell me I'm nuts, some tell me it's no harder than disposables, just a load every 2 or 3 days in the washer. (Cloth diapers have come a LONG way, BTW. We aren't talking about our mom's cloth diapers. No folding diapers, pinning them and separate rubber pants. No soaking them in gross and smelly buckets. Just change your baby and put the dirty diaper in a "wet bag" and when it comes time to wash, you just throw all of the diapers, bag and all, in the washer, then the dryer) Cloth diapers could save up to $1000 a year, not to mention the toll disposables pay on landfills.
Food is another aspect where I could totally live a minimalist lifestyle. We really already do. We are very good about always eating in, and making our own meals (although we don't really go the organic route just yet). I made all of Jackson's baby food myself. (and will for baby #2 also) It saved SO much money and really wasn't difficult. We don't often buy snacks or other non-necessities. We make a grocery list and stick to it.
Something that I don't think I could change would be giving up my car. Being stuck at home is like a nightmare come to life. And with Eric gone from about 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day, I really would be stuck at home. I don't live in a big city so walking places wouldn't be an option. Could I possibly downsize my car? Sure. And I'm willing to do so, if I need to.
What I'm not willing to do is have an unreliable car. Eric's truck is already so unreliable, we need at least one that we can depend on.
I'm also not willing to give up my vacations. Usually that just means going back to Ohio to visit friends and family, but every once in a while it means going on a real vacation. A cruise or a trip to Hawaii. To me, vacationing is why I work on saving money. It's what I live for. (aside from family, of course) And vacations don't always have to cost a lot of money. It could be a quick trip to the mountains, or in the case of a possible trip to Vegas coming up, Eric is going to a convention there, which is totally covered by his job. His flight, hotel room, and food are paid for (not to mention that he'll get paid while he's there) so all we'd have to pay for would be my flight and food. Granted, I'll be 6 months pregnant by that time, and everything you can do in Vegas is awkward when obviously pregnant. (except for the buffets....duh!) But it's still a vacation. With a pool. And warm weather. So I'll take it. Even if I do get nasty looks with my big belly in a bikini.
Something else I've seen these families do is to minimize their clothing. This would go into the "possible but not likely" category. I saw one post where they are challenging themselves to only have 33 articles of clothing, including accessories. I think undergarments weren't in the count, or sleep wear. This girl had one sweatshirt! ONE?! Yeah, that's just not possible. I live in those things. So, while I can see the value in this I'm not sure I could do it. Especially for me, right now. I'm changing size every day and have no idea what I'll fit into from one day to the next. And in a couple months I won't fit into anything I currently do. So for me to go and get rid of clothes that don't fit or that I'm not wearing isn't going to work. I also have no idea what will fit after I have the baby either. Last time it took almost 18 months for my pelvis to finally shift back into it's pre-baby place. Something I am doing is not buying any more maternity clothes this time. (Okay, maybe one thing for special occasions) I still have my old clothes and I've had a couple friends give or let me borrow their maternity clothes, so I really don't need anything. But I think all pregnant women out there have discovered that you can live off of just a few outfits. Those last couple months there are usually only a few things that fit you anymore, but you refuse to go out and buy anything more. (rich moms are excluded from this rule) So, you just keep rotating those five (or however many) outfits for a couple months. It certainly makes laundry easier. And deciding what to wear easier. And it proves that minimizing your clothing can work, it's just a matter of if you want to make it work.
I had a whole gianormous paragraph here about why it's better (financially) for us to stay in our current house, instead of downsizing. It included a lengthy market analysis of our neighborhood and market trends, as well as a run down of our personal and financial goals. But in the end I think it's just better to leave it as "while we'd like to downsize to a smaller house on lots of land, it's not a smart move for us today". Then call it a day.
To end this blog and make it even longer and with even more pictures here's a cute picture of a baby pug:
And what's cuter than a baby pug? My baby! (My favorite picture of Jackson BTW)
And what's even cuter than a baby and a baby pug? A baby riding a pug!