I recently came across this blog about downsizing and simplifying, called Changing Rhythm. I liked their pledge, especially the rules about buying things (or rather, trying not to unless really necessary!). I sat down with my husband last night and talked about adopting some of these into our own life.
Here are some lifestyle & financial guidelines we wrote down. Some are shamelessly borrowed from the blog. Now, many of these things we already do to some extent, but I wanted to articulate them so we can be more consistent.
- Buy everything (barring food, medication, and health related products such as soap, toothpaste, etc.) used if at all possible.
- Only buy a product that replaces something we already own that has worn out.
- Anything that does not meet the previous two criteria, will require both our approval and a mandatory 2-week waiting period (to ensure need versus want).
- Purge our home of all unused, unwanted, or extraneous clutter.
- Cook one meal per week using items from food storage (we have a 1 year's supply of food stored in our basement).
- Spend under $200/month on groceries.
- Only grocery shop from a list.
- Invest money regularly for retirement.
- Each of us receives $10/month of “mad money” for frivolous expenditures (snacks, clothes, etc). These do not need approval from the other person.
- Keep a list of necessary upcoming expenditures.
- Eat out no more than once every month.
We live in a small town of 5,000 people, so we only drive to go to church (20 miles away) or big shopping trips. My husband works at a liberal arts college that is 4 blocks from our house. Our library, post office, grocery store, hardware store, thrift store, bike path, community hospital, etc are all within easy walking distance. (Okay, I admit that I drive to the grocery store when it's cold out.) Sometimes our town is a bit too sedate, but it's a good place for daily life.