Ok, I realized after I finished this itís an absolute book to read, but Iím very interested in learning about other peopleís lifestyles and experiences, so I hope even just a few members are interested enough to participate
I have been fascinated for a while now with the ďminimalismĒ movement in the sense of keeping less stuff, or only the stuff that brings joy (or in a practical sense, stuff you NEED. ie. dish towels don't necessarily bring me joy but I NEED them.) To me, this idea also crosses over with financial planning/saving for future endeavors, which I've just recently become really engrossed in after getting my first really decent full time job. I've sort of turned financial planning/saving into a challenging game in my mind so that it seems less stressful.
I just paid my first boarding check for my mare this past Sunday when we moved her out to the ranch Iíve been taking lessons at. Iím getting a great deal (or so I believe, time will tell. But I really admire their horses and their lifestyle, and I think they will do a great job with Dreama and help me learn to do the same.)
That got me thinking about how we all value different experiences and things that we invest our money in. Obviously, owning, leasing, or even taking riding lessons with horses is not a ďfrugalĒ thing to do at all. (ďFrugalĒ is another word that gets thrown around a lot in certain financial planning videos I enjoy watching, and being not too many generations removed from my grandparents who literally lived in the hills of KY and farmed tobacco, I wonder if some of the people in these videos actually understand what ďfrugalĒ and the necessity to be frugal actually is.)
I was going over in my mind the things that I do and sometimes my partner does that save us money, some of which Iíve heard people talk about as ďstrangeĒ ways to save money. I donít think any of them are strange at all and Iím betting that other Horse Forum members feel the same, as we all come from various walks of life and financial situations.
SO I was wondering about what you all do that saves money or is ďfrugalĒ in ways that some people might think was strange? (And maybe pick up some ideas for myself.) Iíd love to hear what other horse people think about this subject, or if itís something you even have to think about or just subconsciously do. Also, if you do consider yourself a very money-conscious person, what are the things that you think are worth splurging on? I have already seen a few fabulous things that other members do with their properties to conserve resources and re-use materials.
Here is my list of examples of things that we do:
- I donít cut my hair.
- My partner cuts his own hair.
- Dishwasher pods Ė just started making my own. No adverse effects so far on the dishes or dish-washer.
- Laundry powder Ė about to start making my own. Iíve seen all kinds of pros and cons of this online, but my mind was made up when I discovered I have a co-worker who has done it for years and loves it.
- When I kept pet rats, I used fleece bedding that I washed instead of wood shaving or paper disposable bedding.
- Clothing - I wear thrifted or hand-me down clothes. I was tempted to do a complete wardrobe re-do when I got my new office job. Mom helped me thrift for some dress-pants and blouses, and I decided Iím NOT buy any new clothing until winter, when I may have to invest in some work-appropriate sweaters. I did buy appropriate boots to ride in as I really didnít have a truly safe pair.
- No real TV service, nor home phone - We split Netflix with my partnerís family, and I watch pretty much everything else I want to online.
- Dish towels/rags Ė We use them for almost everything. For napkins, cleaning, dish washing, etc. I donít keep disposable sponges. The only reason I still keep paper towels is that I donít like cleaning up cat-vomit or the toilet with something that isnít disposable.
- Re-usable Swiffer pads Ė I love my Swiffer, but I crocheted my own pads! They get thrown in the wash and re-used like the dish towels. I'm also thinking about donating my swiffer and replacing it with a different brand, as I didn't realize when I purchased the wet-jet that I couldn't refill the cleaning solution myself - they've made it so you can't refill those containers, so you have to keep purchasing their refill pods. I know there are versions out there I can fill with my own cleaning solution. Over time, I think that would save some money and be more environmentally conscious (less plastic waste and I could refill it with something more eco-friendly.(
Some quirks that keep me from saving more money:
- Books. We have a local bookstore I love (and worked in the coffee shop in the front while I was in college). I still love the library and second-hand books, but Iíve decided to make room in my budget to purchase one from them once a month or every few months. (I have so many currently to get through Iíve put myself on a book no-buy for the next couple of months
) Itís important to me to support local businesses when I can.
- Shoes. As with other clothing, I donít keep a lot of shoes and the ones I do have were primarily hand-me downs and gifts, but boy when I do decide to buy a pair of shoesÖ I want quality. I want leather typically. I want something thatís actually going to stand up for multiple seasons instead of falling apart after one summer or winter of use. Iíve been shocked by how quickly some of the name-brands have fallen apart from being worn every day so I am more careful now.
- When I DO decide to buy any new clothing, Iíve decided I am interested in certain natural fibers and brands of quality that may not be cheap. I am still researching what brands I actually want to start to add to my wardrobe in years to come, and I do still intend to search second-hand first.
- Eating out - Something I am trying to do better about. My friends and I are all so busy though, that sometimes the only way we get together is have dinner at a restaurant before we head home in the evenings. What I am trying to completely cut out is fast-foodÖ where I travel between the different locations of my workplace, it is often way too easy to not devote the time to cooking and just grab something on the way there.
- And obviously, horse care
I will be surprised if anyone made it this far
Congrats to anyone still reading! I hope someone out there finds this sort of thing as interesting as I do.
** Edit to say, by "first really decent full time job" I mean that I had a full-time job straight out of college but it was miserable, I freelanced in my field for a while and worked multiple part-time jobs. So I've never not had income, as is obvious by the things I've talked about spending money on. It's just that I feel I can attempt to really plan for things and evaluate my goals more accurately now.