Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Why, Nearly A Year Later

When I started this project last January, I wrote about how I had often said I could feed Henry and I on $200 a month and some of my firends challenged me to do just that.  The blogging part came about because I wanted to document not only the challenge but the actual exercize of feeding us both regardless of success of failure.

If any of you have been following since the beginning, first let me say thank you for sticking with me even through this past summer's hiatus.  On top of that you have seen that I was able to meet the goal, was invited to share some of my learnings through a program showing people receiving the state food assistance that they can feed themselves naturally with fresh foods and not just packaged crap and you've also seen something something else - the fruits of the budget thinking.  Even when I wasn't keeping track of every penny, I still kept an eye towards fresh and healthy but with a budget mindedness.

As I speak about the fruits of the budget thinking, I'm referring to our ability to buy a house this year.  Anyone in the Puget Sound area knows that buying a house here is tough if for no other reason the homes here are just darned expensive.  I was lucky; I wanted a small house, wanted to downsize our living space, our possesions and our lifestyle.  What we got were smaller bedrooms, a single living space (no multiple living / family rooms), a single bath and a small kitchen.  All of this is what I wanted even the smaller kitchen which surprises some people but it's true.  We just don't need a lot of room and a lot of gadgets and along with the idea I was attempting to get across in an earlier post about not needing a microwave or a dishwasher, the idea of downsizing fits in well simplifying our life overall.

This is the 3rd house purchase I've been involved with and I knew that based on previous experience I truly dislike everything about the process; from the looking at potential homes to signing the final loan papers, I find the whole thing unpleasant at best.  I was lucky however to engage the help of a friend for many years, Scott Cowan of Classic Homes Northwest.  He listened to what I wanted, actually heard (this is very important) what I was saying and then was able to help discern what to start looking for in earnest after we had seen a few homes.  Now it was still not an easy process, we probably looked at well over 50 houses and after a couple weeks I needed to take a break from looking, Scott listened and didn't push.  When I was ready to resume shopping he was able to provide me with a number of possibilities and then in short order came up with the home we ended up purchasing.  Scott helped make what had in the past been a bad experience into dare I say, a good time.

In the end, I think we both ended up learning a lot about each other's worlds; Scott loves to help people find and buy the homes of their dreams and I love cooking natural fresh foods for my family on a budget.  Scott seems to be truly surprised each time I'm able to come up with some terrific food for not a lot of money and after both spending time with Scott as well as recommending him to friends and hearing how he works with these people, that he can find just about anything anyone wants for a house within their own budget in this area.

What I think I've taken a lot of words to say is it's not just about the budget food for us but the frugal lifestyle and being able to afford the things we need and want.  Frugal being a far different thing than cheap though allows us to live well at the same time.

Overall, I believe living a simpler lifestyle and watching how we spend the dollars we do have will eventually allow us to live a full and incredibly full life including travel, the arts and entertainment and fun.

Anyone have any other ideas for living the good life on a working man's salary?  I'd sure like to hear them so comment here or join up on Facebook and we'll continue to share the wealth.  You can also follow along here with Scott as he continues to help people find the homes of their dreams.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the encouragement. We're almost halfway through! We can do it! I've reached that desolate point in the middle where I feel completely sapped of ideas and inspiration, and like a terrible writer.

    Being recently of college, I've definitely learned to thrive in tiny digs. I really miss my cozy (single!) dorm room, and I can't wait til I can buy my own little cottage some day.