Almost a full year ago, we committed our family to a “Back to Basics” kind of a lifestyle. In an effort to reduce our ridiculously high debt-to-income ratio, we committed to some Depression-era type living so that we could cut our expenses and work toward paying off our debt. As we near the end of year one of our simple living experiment, we’re even more encouraged to stick with it for 2014. What will our 2014 look like as far as simple living is concerned?
1. We’ll keep on with our simple and cheap meal plan. Rice, beans, potatoes and pasta, with some meat sprinkled in. The grocery store in our town has a great stock-up sale on roasts this week, and my initial thought was to either buy a half a cow this winter, or get to the grocer and do a huge stock up on roasts, since the sale price is similar to the per-pound side of beef price. Then it occurred to me that meat, even at $3.48 a pound, is not a necessity and really will make a dent in our grocery budget, so there’ll be no stocking up for us, at least not right now, on meat of any kind. I can do far too much in terms of killing our debt with the cheaper ingredients.
2. We’ll continue to ease up on electricity usage by continuing to do things with the least amount of electricity/appliance usage as possible. This means mixing stuff by hand, and using other manual kitchen appliances instead of the electric ones. We’ll also continue to be Light and Heat Police, using both of those power sources as little as possible. It’s annoying sometimes, but again, we’re saving a notable amount of cash.
3. We’ll continue to work toward self-sufficiency. We didn’t get our wood stove installed this year, due to a problem getting a necessary part, but we are going to work on getting it installed soon, maybe even before winter ends, so that we can start heating our home with wood. We’re also planning on doubling our garden size in 2014 in order to work more toward achieving our goal of providing our own veggies for the entire year, through canning and freezing. Also on the agenda? A new roof and insulation in the attic so that we can minimize/eliminate heat loss and ice damming, saving us more money.
4. We’ll continue our commitment to not buying new clothes, etc., unless necessary. I want to continue to keep our clothing costs to a minimum. At year’s end, I’ll be revealing how much we spent on clothing for our family of six this year, and how much we’re setting aside for next year’s clothing costs. We’ll do the same with health and beauty, with one exception: me. I’ve been feeling frumpy and just kind of depressed over my dishwater blonde hair and the lack of makeup. Although I will continue to do DIY beauty stuff for most things, I am going to start getting highlights again in 2014 and purchase some new makeup. It may not seem like a very frugal idea to you, but I just need to feel “sparkly” a bit, you know? Readers, what are your thoughts on this?
So that sums it up. After a productive and successful 2013, we’re eager to make 2014 even better. Make sure to check back with us at the beginning of the year for our 2013 numbers wrap-up and our subsequent 2014 goals post, and thank you all, so much, for riding along with us on this journey to debt free. You rock!
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