Mar 262012
 

I don’t want to say for sure right just yet as nothing is certain but it would appear that my financial fortunes may well take a turn towards improvement here in the very near future. The tax bill has been covered and will be taken care of in April and beyond that I have no real expenses other than the basics for the foreseeable future. If indeed, I do start getting some money coming in it won’t take very long to start building up some semblance of savings again. But with an income also comes the temptation to spend and that’s where the tricky stuff comes into play.

I’ve been hard core minimalist for almost a year now. Without a vehicle since last July. And without a dependable income for just about as long. I’ve pared down my possessions to less than 80 things at last count and have kept it that way with no issues. Not having an income has taught me to not waste money on things I don’t need. I’ve learned to conserve without any major hardships. I’ve proved that I am able to live on $50 a day or a bit less…for at least three months at any rate. How the rest of the year plays out remains to be seen. The question is will I be able to continue that trend with some money coming in?

It would be real tempting to go out and drop a few bucks here and there on some things. Add a few bits of clothing to the wardrobe or replace a few older items. Upgrade the iPad even though the current one works fine and the new one has no real features that I need or want. Or find myself a cheap little scooter to buzz around the island a bit quicker than the bicycle. But no. I don’t think I will. I’ve been living on a “buy as needed, use what I buy” philosophy for a while now and I’m starting to get used to it and accept it as a normal way of living. I’m also starting to realize the simple pleasures of not owning anything that requires time and maintenance. Take the idea of living on a boat for example:

Everyday I glance at the ads for sailboats for sale. Just out of habit. I’ve been doing this for 5 years now. Sometimes I get the urge like yesterday when I spotted this little beauty docked in town…

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Way beyond my financial capabilities but it gets me thinking about boat living again. I enjoyed the couple years I lived on a sailboat and I think often about doing it again. Living aboard sort of solves the issues of affordable housing. No leases, no noisy neighbors, no landlords, and the ability to move as often as I chose. I know a lot more now than I did a few years back about places to stay, different kinds of boats, all that but…

A boat is a maintenance heavy thing. Repairs, keeping corrosion at bay, replacing parts, it all costs money. Then there is the time involved. Boat owners spend a significant amount of time just maintaining their boat. Weather is always a concern along with decent dockage and other considerations. I have to balance all that against the joys of living on a boat.

You could run the same arguments for or against an rv. Or any vehicle. Or a house for that matter. Also factor in licensing, insurances, taxes, and the like. I look at all that stuff that I don’t have to put up with at the moment and I suddenly remember why I got rid of it all in the first place.

It took me a long time to downsize to where I am now. In the process I never was able to envision or imagine the kind of lifestyle I would have once I got down to the bare essentials. I was more focused on just getting there. Now that I’ve had nearly a year of minimalist living it’s starting to sink in. And I like what I’m feeling. A lot. It’s nice to not have to worry about stuff. I’m not concerned about where to park the bicycle or if it will still be there when I return. A scratch or dent is of no concern. A flat tire and a bent rim that I had recently wasn’t a financial disaster, just a minor inconvenience. I’m not worried about losing anything. It’s all replaceable, (except the cats of course). I’m not concerned with the price of fuel nor the fact that North Roosevelt is going to be a traffic nightmare for the next three years. It’s a minor inconvenience that I can work around, or I should say pedal around. The only real maintenance issue I have at the moment is laundry. Something that takes about an hour a week. As tempting as it is to go hit some of the great restaurants that are on the island I’m staying the course with the food budget and sticking to home cookin’ for the moment. That may well change though as I would like to feature some of those eateries here on the blog. (Hey, maybe I can write off the meals!).

I guess what I’m saying is I do enjoy the simplicity that this minimalist lifestyle has offered me. I’m starting to formulate a few things for a bucket list for the future. Some travel, some adventures, some things that I could never have considered a few years ago. As long as I can maintain my health it all seems doable at this point. And if something happened that my health took a downturn and I ended up in a hospital or whatever, at least I don’t have to worry about my stuff. And as for health insurance, Obama’s Death Panels will take care of the rest.

If you are looking through the minimalist blogs on the Internet…and trying to get a feel for the lifestyle and if it will fit you, all I can say is it’s working for me. I’m thoroughly enjoying not owning stuff, or as we like to say, being owned by stuff. But be forewarned, minimalism doesn’t take to everyone. You may well find you are used to a certain standard of living and going without something like a vehicle or television ain’t what you had in mind. Thats ok. Going hardcore minimalist isn’t necessary nor is it a law. Take it down in steps over time. Get rid of some stuff and see how you do without it. When you feel comfortable enough to downsize some more, go for it. When you are happy with what you got, stop. Maintain the level you are happy with and go enjoy life. You will find very quickly that it ain’t about having possessions that’s important. It’s about actually living life.

Capt. Fritter