mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I'm seriously contemplating how to reduce my working hours. My job is ok, sometimes boring and over the last year or two the hospital has only been hiring full-time workers. I'm tired. I'm short with my kid. The house is a mess and I am bored a good deal of the time at work. Next paycheck the last of DH's loans will be paid off and we'll have a renter bringing in $400 a month. Why do I need to work full time then?

I remember this similar predicament when I was a tree climber. I had $8 k in the bank and really low expenses. I was bored and started thinking about why I had to keep coming to the job day in and day out. I don't have FU money now, but I don't really think I want to wait for that. When I was a tree climber with $8k I quit. I hate being bored at work. I think I have a good position to request to go 0.8, I'm a lead of a section and get along well with my manager. I work in all areas of the lab, one of five micro techs and I'm generally liked. The lab is overstaffed currently. Maybe I could try it? I'm thinking about other things I could do. I've done all of these things in the past, so I know I can do it again. I've cleaned houses, nannied, and worked in a plant nursery. I would consider restaurant work, but I haven't done that in a long time. I guess I don't see why I should keep working and dealing with the full time work consequences. Mainly I am so tired of being tired. I have a 'cushy' job that doesn't require overtime, in fact discourages it. I have friends at work, I sometimes do really important things to help patients. But, I'm not sleeping enough, my temper is short and I can't seem to recover enough over a three day weekend to make up for the tiredness. I'm going to get some blood work done and see if it is anemia or my thyroid, not just the stupid job.

Anyway, I'm thinking about it. I will let the thinking go on for a little bit before I make any noise to my manager. I'm not sure the hospital really wants any part time workers, so there might not be much my manager could do. These things don't happen quickly. And, it shouldn't happen quickly, as it changes things. But I want a break and some light at the end of this tunnel of full time work. I know that I am not going to be a person who works until I have $500k saved up, I just don't have that in me.

I looked up the scrotum flower, that is fairly accurate. Interesting.

mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I'm brainstorming how to solve two problems: how to maintain a home/yard without spending too much time/energy doing it and how to reduce our housing costs. We've day dreamed about renovating a school bus, but while that is super cool and could still happen, it isn't as likely to last long term. I could be wrong about this, but I assume a teenager will not want to live in such close proximity to his parents, and vice versa. Seeing as our son is only two, we have time to figure this out.

I see three options for sorta solving the above two problems.
1. Sell this 3 bedroom, 2 bath and move to a smaller home with cheaper property taxes. Our town is experiencing a little housing boom and our home has bumped around $190-214 k in price on Zillow. I would meet with a realtor before I got too excited about the higher numbers. But, we could sell this house likely for more than we bought it and much more than we owe. A smaller home would help solve the maintenance problem and we would roll any money from the sale into the next home. While we wouldn't be mortgage free, a conservative estimate would drop the mortgage down to close to $100k. It wouldn't be a gigantic drop in debt, we owe about $125 on this house, but it would be easier to pay it off faster.

2. Go the school bus route and rent this house and have someone else pay the mortgage while getting significantly reduced maintenance costs in terms of energy and much less in housing too. I'm assuming we would be paying rent to someone but we would be off grid so much lower monthly costs than this house. By renting it, we would keep an exit strategy for if/when life in the bus didn't work out.

3. Keep this house but turn the basement into a full apartment rental. It wouldn't truly solve the reducing maintenance time/energy, but it would help with reducing housing costs. I've lived with other people for many years and I've noticed that both DH and I are cleaner naturally when there are other people around. Not a guarantee, but a possibility.

I love the idea of a school bus, and it fits with DH's dream of building his own home, but it is quite a gigantic project to take on. I work full time, have a small child and we have a very part time coffee business. I don't know if we really can do it all and not suffer some relationship problems/strains. I've thought that if we did build the school bus, I would sign us up for couples counseling because I don't want this to cause more problems than it solves.

None of the three options solves either problem quickly, but they all give me hope. Thoughts?

Peanut
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Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Peanut »

Enjoy your journal.

1. Frankly, it doesn't seem worth the hassle or risk to downsize to save 25k. Every place comes with its flaws that aren't immediately apparent, and can require time, energy, and/or money to address. Real estate transaction costs can also be significant.

2. I would do the bus if it was a shared dream but understanding that I was not primarily doing it for the money. It will take a long time, and a fair amount of investment before you can reap any savings from it. Avoiding relationship problems will require putting an extended deadline on it among other things if you are both working full time plus.

3. If you are comfortable living with a tenant it seems like a quick and easy solution. To answer an earlier question, I do think good appliances will attract the kind of tenants you would want, .i.e., those who notice details and appreciate nice things and will pay a bit more for them. Some people are really good at finding them massively discounted so it's definitely possible. Ideally you want them to match (all stainless, black, etc.).

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@Peanut, thanks for your thoughtful response. We are actually doing number 3 as we have a college student moving in later this month. He wants to sign a year lease, so that could be a good income stream and possibly inspire us to be tidier? We'll see.

We stopped by a house that is 750 sqft and poked around it. It is pretty cute and small and in a quieter neighborhood than ours. It would mean a big change of commute for me, from 6 blocks to likely a 20 min bike ride. Not a game changer at all, but different.

I am concerned about the real estate transactions costs you mentioned, we are pretty low on cash right now. I agree that saving 25k isn't amazing, but long term lower property taxes does some like a good change. And a much smaller home to maintain is very attractive. But, as DH and I talked neither of the options is mutually exclusive. We can't do everything in life we want to do, but perhaps we can have a tenant while we're in the big house and work on the school bus, and then eventually downsize to a much smaller brick and mortar home. We'll see. I'm going to contact a real estate agent and talk with them Tuesday and see what he things our home is worth. Some of this talking is getting creative with our lives and getting less reliant on my job.

It is interesting to realize that neither of us is truly attached to this current home.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

mooretrees wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:28 pm
It is interesting to realize that neither of us is truly attached to this current home.
Flexibility to housing and location is my single, greatest ERE superpower. It can make a huge cashflow difference if you truly embrace it.

Maybe your exhaustion has to do with being bored at work? I mean, 40 hours a week of monotony would kill me. This is partially why I originally wanted to go part time with nursing, rather than the all-on, all-off I'm about to start. I get my a** handed to me at work! 40 hours of that is too much, but when I only work one day a in a seven day stretch, it actually gets me pretty energized.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I don't like being bored at work, but I also haven't been very proactive about creating projects. I do have a small project up ahead, drilling techs on handling a massive transfusion (handing out a bunch of red blood cells and plasma in a hurry). Those drills are fun and just enough stress to make everyone better. Anyway, I need to focus on other projects to fight off boredom.

I had some lab work done, and I am slightly anemic. I will feel more energetic in a week or so with daily doses of iron. I don't know what exactly is happening for me to be anemic. One of two options: not producing enough red cells or increased destruction. I've started taking iron and that will help. Getting older?

I went on an overnight backpacking trip, sorta an impromptu trip and I have a few more days off to recover. It was fun and beautiful and I slept terribly. But worth it! I have a big back of huckleberries for pancakes tomorrow.

I think as far as our housing is going, I'm leaning towards the school bus option. I will learn a ton during the project and it should be a big learning process as far as living in it goes. It seems ultimately more interesting/challenging to go that route than just buying a smaller house.

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

It could be B12 defficiency, make sure you test your levels

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@bigato, I asked my provider to order an iron panel which is usually iron and ferritin, but she only ordered a CBC. I will try to get more tests ordered as I seem to cycling down in red cells and I'd like to not have to take iron constantly. I

I worked the weekend and Sunday was a terrible day. I won't say too much, but I know I could never work directly with sick children. Overall my coworker and I (there are only two lab people on the weekend) rocked getting the work ER needed fast and got blood to them really quickly. But, it is soul crushing to see a child in that situation. Thankfully the hospital is putting on an emotional debriefing so I am going to it. I've not been to one before, but it is supposed to help people recover from these terrible situations. I also have a week off to hang with my Dad. He's coming out here to be with me and my sister for my birthday. I'm feeling spent right now. Hopefully the debrief will help and then time with my family should help too. My sister and my Dad are the most relaxing people in my family, so it is a visit I am really looking forward to.

Also, I'm feeling some consumerist desires to buy clothes and boots and such, HELP!!!! We paid off DH's last federal loan so he is out of student debt. It was anti-climatic. People kept saying 'you should celebrate' and go out to eat! It seems contrary to what we just accomplished to go and spend money. Also, my best friend told me (very gently and lovingly) that I might consider seeing a therapist because of how much I think/talk about money related things. Thinking that is Wheaton levels colliding and I need to curb the money talk around her?

Hopefully with a week off I can crunch Aug spending and get a good idea where it went. Sept is not going to be good for savings as we are working to tidy up projects around the house and got some tires for the Suburban. It is listed for sale now, so we'll see.

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita »

I am sorry about the traumatic experience at work and am rooting for you that the debriefing and gentle times will help. Personally, such things envolving other people’s kids was/is harder now that I am a parent.

Hm, I found paying off DS’s student loans to be anticlimactic as well. At the time, we had a car loan and were dreaming of buying a house. Once we paid everything off and decided that we’d always pay cash, there was some jubilation. Everyone is different though.

It sounds like you have a history of doing some external-oriented celebrating. Is there any way you can tone it down so that the focus is external without crossing into materialism? For example, wear your favorite outfit instead of buying something new or prepare something special at home.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Frita wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:33 pm

It sounds like you have a history of doing some external-oriented celebrating. Is there any way you can tone it down so that the focus is external without crossing into materialism? For example, wear your favorite outfit instead of buying something new or prepare something special at home.
I love that phrase, "external-oriented celebrating' it is too perfect. Of course I have that history! For my birthday, DH made beef ribs two ways, on the grill (charcoal) and in the Instant-pot. Both were delicious and we had a lovely dinner eating outside with my dad and son. Glad the birthday is over, it's too much focus on me.

Thanks for the responses to tone down the materialism, I think it is stemming from a little floundering with what is next for us. I've been pretty (not exclusively) focused on the debt, and now that the worst offenders are gone, there is a vacuum for my attention. Now the real story begins with tackling ERE; can we actually do it now that more of our money is actually ours?

I am taking to heart that I need an exit strategy with full-time work. I think in the coming months I want to try and detail a loose/flexible 3-5 year plan for work + family + semi-retirement. I don't think I want to work until I have a full retirement for both DH and I, but I think I am okay with working 2-3 days/week for a longer period. I reserve the right to change my mind!

I have not been making much progress with my 'parents helping parents' group. Maybe it is the name? I reached out to the parents to see if anyone could watch my son this evening, no response. Could be that email isn't the right media? Maybe I'll hear something after work. Also, it is just the first time anyone has asked for help, so I think it will take time for people to remember to check with other parents instead of getting a babysitter.

It is starting to really feel like fall. Time for Friday night pizzas! I'm going to try and have a standing invitation to friends to bring over pizza toppings and come over and eat with us every Friday. We'll provide the (homemade of course!) the pizza. We did this many times when I was growing up, huge parties for after a soccer season where my mom made the pizzas and everyone brought over a different topping. It was always so fun, and tons of pizza left over.

@Gravy Train, I realize the school bus + two year old sounds crazy, but realistically we have lived in three rooms with him for two years now. He is finally sleeping in his own bed now (most of the night anyway), but he's not a spazzy kid so I'm not too worried about the close quarters. Maybe that will change as he gets older? Anyway, don't give me any props until we actually buy a school bus, it's all hot air until then!

horsewoman
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by horsewoman »

mooretrees wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:24 am
I have not been making much progress with my 'parents helping parents' group. Maybe it is the name? I reached out to the parents to see if anyone could watch my son this evening, no response. Could be that email isn't the right media? Maybe I'll hear something after work. Also, it is just the first time anyone has asked for help, so I think it will take time for people to remember to check with other parents instead of getting a babysitter.
How close are you to the people you reached out to? Do you know them well enough to leave your child with them? Personally I'd have not participated in such a group when my daughter was a toddler, maybe that's the case for other people as well. Maybe they liked the idea when you brought it up but got cold feet afterwards? My daughter would not have stayed with someone she did not know well, either. This exchange of childminding took up steam naturally when the kids got old enough to make friends, I'd say around 5. After a few playdates with mommy in tow, the kids started to stay without mom and this turned into overnight visits as well as the kids got older. These days I have 5 other moms I can call if I need a place to stay for my daughter, and they know that they can call me up for help anytime. But it took years to build up this network.
This is one of the things that sound great in theory but are very hard to build in reality. It might be easier if one has kids in the area where one grew up, this was not the case for me.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

mooretrees wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:24 am
I reserve the right to change my mind!
Good move. I'm pretty sure I changed my plans at least four times in the less than three years I was journalling. :lol: I'm sure life will provide you with plenty of opportunities to try out semi-retirement, just make sure you are prepared to jump on them if they're interesting enough. By prepared, I don't just mean financially either, mentally/emotionally seems to be the biggest hurdle.
mooretrees wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:24 am
I realize the school bus + two year old sounds crazy
Luxagraf is a member here and has a pretty fantastic blog. He, his wife, and THREE kids live in an old restored RV roaming the country. Although they took a break and went down to Mexico for six months or so. You should check it out. https://luxagraf.net/

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Gravy Train wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:17 pm
-I have a bad sense of humor, I'm sorry.
I've read your journal, I just tend to keep my mouth shut with martial/kid related issues. I have no experience and sou, augustus, jason seem to do great in that realm. So my lack of comments is not because of lack of interest.

Anyway, my actual point of this comment is that I read how you need an outlet for your humor, trust me when I say, I really appreciate a pessimistic, funny, quick wit. That baby shower thought made me lol. I think many on here appreciate such things, so don't apologize for it!!

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

Yeah, agreed. I like it. There are other people out there who like it.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@Gravy Train absolutely no worries about hijacking, I really enjoy your posts/humor so keep them coming.

I've been bouncing around reading a few minimalism books. There are a lot of parallels with ERE and I've enjoyed the reinforcement. I've found myself feeling a teensy bit more relaxed at home since I've reduced our belongings in the house. I radically culled my sons toys, I literally have no idea how he got so many toys. I remember buying a few of them, but wtf? Anyway, since I've reduced his toys and organized them a little bit, he is playing with them more. However, he is really just starting to play with toys so it could be more of a developmental stage rather than a decluttering byproduct.

I've gotten rid of furniture, books, clothing, misc kitchen items, and while I can see progress, DH is literally clueless about it. So funny! I have managed to give a lot of kids clothes to other families, and donated the rest. We have had limited success with selling things in this area so really haven't tried too hard with this last pass of decluttering.

Our renter has moved in and seems to be a good, quiet guy. He is starting classes this week and should be busy with them and his girlfriend who lives in another town an hour or so away. He is very considerate and flexible and I think he will work out well as long as he is here. Progress continues slowly on the basement remodel. The electrical work is finished and half of the ceiling insulation is installed. The easy installation has been put up, now the rest of the work involves more cutting the insulation to make it fit in smaller sections. We have all had colds the last few days so work has stalled out.

I need to create some financial goals for the near future (6 months - 2 years). I still have debt to my Dad to pay off, but he isn't charging me interest and I'm going to be finished with it in the next six months. I think initially my goals are to have a modest emergency fund of $3-5K, a car that fits our lifestyle better (paid for in cash - we're thinking of an older CRV), and a good start ($5 -10 K) to our bus fund. I have floundered a bit since paying off the last of DH's loans and am realizing that the debt provided an external structure/focus that I found extremely useful. So, I need to recreate that structure with new goals. These are just initial thoughts and I'd like to come up with more precise timeframes that I'll post in a bit. Also, to be honest, I've let myself off the hook with being really aggressive with saving since we were paying off debt. Now the (student loan) debt is mostly gone, and I am nervous about whether or not I'll be able to really make inroads on retiring early. I need to do a better job of tracking money, and brainstorming with DH about short-term goals.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I've been enjoying the 'yields and flows' thread. Though I don't have much to contribute, it's made me think about how I'm solving problems right now. Mostly, money is still the biggest problem solving tool I have. For example, I haven't been able to get myself to work out consistently for quite a long time. I'm seriously considering buying a years access to an online workout site primarily because I know two people who workout with it and they help each other work out consistently. So, really I'd be spending money on the workouts because I want to have people help me work out. I mean, I'm really buying the support, not necessarily the workouts themselves. I haven't done it yet because I feel a little embarrassed at doing it; I mean can't I just get more creative and solve this problem without money? But, I also just need to work out and spending some money on my health is a good thing? I know that this is a classic example of a heterotelic goal. But I kinda just feel like doing it and forgiving myself and acknowledging that I'm at a busy stage of my life...And I can address this at a later point and just get healthier in the meantime.

A different problem I've had has been getting childcare when we needed a break/have a project to finish ect. I'm sorta starting to solve it without money, though it is slow going. I've set up a support group for parents where we watch each other's kids, and it has worked out twice now. I had help watching my son and a few days later reciprocated. It's a slow start and I'm starting to realize that a lot of families are really busy. Swim lessons, school, martial arts etc. I hope to avoid a really busy life once our son starts school. Anyway, it's hard to have families that can do this helping each other thing if both parents are working full-time and they are busy with other activities. I'm thinking it's a bit naive of me in this current culture of super busyness that we could help each other out. Maybe it will still happen, but with different families that are moving more slowly? I've also kinda adopted an older coworker as our local grandmother. Her kids are in their 20's and she's ready for grandkids. She loves my son and has volunteered to watch him occasionally. I don't want to abuse her interest, but it is sweet to see them together. I've tried to include her in normal hang outs as I also enjoy her company. In a round about way I'm trying to say I'm trying to avoid being a mooch with her generosity.

I talked with DH last night about short-term goals. He looked at me blankly. So, I told him the ones I had thought of and he agreed. Not much of a planner that one. So, I'm going to try and save $1500/monthly after taxes. I think with the 401 k and HSA I should be right around a 50 % savings rate. Nothing spectacular but a start. More concrete plans to follow, I've got to go for a walk with my little one while the light/warmth are still here.

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita »

These days in American culture it seems like help is more transactional (i.e., based on money exchanging hands) than an exchange based on social capital. It lends itself to being busy because one doesn’t have to invest in relationships and can buy dependability. I am so excited to hear about your budding friendship with your co-worker.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I have done a poor job of tracking money and I've changed my tracking system a bit to help with that. I am not comfortable with excel and Mint doesn't recognize our credit union, so I track money with paper and pen. I do enjoy that, but I need to be more consistent or it just slips away and I don't know how well/bad we are doing.

I've been reading the "yields and flows" exchange from my Wheaton 2/3 level and really gleaming only a little bit from it. However, Jacob's comment about the buy nothing year experiment and the articles he posted have been rolling around my head. DH actually is on board with a six month or year long buy nothing experiment. I was pretty surprised he said he would do it. I read a different woman's account of her buy nothing year, it was okay. And she gave herself some pretty big exceptions, travel and eating out were okay during that year. She tracked her savings and seemed to max out at 50%. Anyway, I think we'll start in Nov and I have to come up with our 'rules'. I also have to decide if that means no travel at all. That one is hard as both of our parents are in the their late 70's and far away. And Thanksgiving with my sister is a sacred holiday. I'll think on it and see what makes sense. We also have two house projects that need to be completed so that would mean buying supplies. I think the point of doing this is to see how it feels to be voluntarily without the option of money to solve problems. And to get to the point where it is perhaps painful/uncomfortable to not spend money? And then be able to dial it back up to what is more appropriate?

Two events happened to make me think we are having some impact in creating a lending economy around us. Our friend who also has a wood stove called and asked if we had the chimney cleaning brush. It seems pretty specific to the task. We don't, but she wondered if we wanted to go in on one together. I was able to talk to another friend who does have one, and we can borrow it and clean both of our stoves. That's a small but excellent step in the sharing economy!

DH told me he was looking into our local auto parts shop's tool rental program for an upcoming project on our Suburban. It is diesel and it's charging system needs to be updated before it gets too cold around here. Usually his normal mode is to buy a new tool or two for each project and justify it for future projects. Sometimes that is totally true, but he has tons of tools in a messy disorganized garage. It might make the project a little more expensive, but then there is one less tool to store, maintain and misplace. I got a thrill of excitement that he is starting to think in a different way about tools! I've tried, with no luck, to start a tool exchange with friends. But, maybe it will happen organically over time?

Going forward, I want to continue to focus on social capital (friends helping with tools and kid watching), and money tracking. I think it is reasonable to be able to save easily 50% right now. I still have my dad's debt to pay back but it is only $150/month and I think I'll just pay it off in the spring with a big check.

Each paycheck I have around $190 going to the 401K, $185 to the HSA, around $90 from the employer match and I'm left with around $1800 for living. Our mortgage is $890 (includes taxes, interest, insurance) and the renter is paying us $400/month. So, he is covering close to half of the mortgage (basically paying the interest :cry:). Utilities are fairly fixed around $150-200 depending on electrical usage.

So, in a normal two paycheck month I should be able to save $1320 effortlessly. It would only be a little effort more to save another $1000, I think. We've reduced our groceries, phones and are in the process of selling our huge, inefficient Suburban. That truck costs us a lot of money. There is always something that needs fixing, it is TERRIBLE on mileage and so on. I know that not having a car would save us a lot of money. I am not sure we could do it. Or want to do it. If we still lived in an urban area it would not be a problem at all. Out here, well, it seems very constricting to not have a car. I have talked with a nearby friend about car sharing. He has an older matrix and an explorer with a trailer. He rarely drives and is an easy going guy who is really frugal. So, while it makes me nervous, I'm going to open the dialogue with him about car sharing. I don't know where it will lead and how long it might last, but it could interesting to pursue.

Tl:dr I am going to be better at tracking money, we're considering a buy nothing year and a car share experiment, I think we're only our way to saving 50% at a minimum.

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita »

Following on the car share. When we lived in Denver, I saw there were companies that offered that service. Had we not had vehicles (sold one) and a parking garage spot with our condo, that may have been the way to go. I am curious how you’d work out a less formal arrangement.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@Frita, I am curious how this will work out too. Many years ago I shared my car with a friend. I need to ask her if she remembers our rules. I seem to remember we both had it on certain days and we had to make sure there was some gas in the tank. I am pretty sure we didn't involve insurance and that there was no money exchanged.

I worked the weekend, which I love because it is so quiet (usually) and fewer people. But, I was thinking a lot about the buy nothing year and finally realized that I felt tremendous relief. I have sorta realized during this journaling process, that I enjoy having external structure. When I was playing soccer in college, I never had to think when I was going to work out, I just went to practice and games. The buy nothing year idea means I don't have to engage in consumerism at all, I am exempt from it. The relief is profound. I'm sure I'll come up against some discomfort and something I want to buy in the near future, but having the overarching NO TO BUYING as my default thinking seems relaxing.

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