With everyone tucked up in bed, I woke up the dog and grabbed the camera and headed out for a dawn walk.
Crisp, cold morning air, red morning sky and haze drifting off Blagdon lake. Just me and some thoughts… I’ve been recently trying to frame our life around simplicity.
• Simple food. We want to eat well but for less money.
I’m taking on the challenge of learning to forage. We’re also looking into very basic homesteading – gradually increasing our self-sufficiency, one plant at a time. This helps us increase our respect for the world and the bit of land we own, increasing our own satisfaction and self-respect.
• Getting control of what we have.
We earn enough, we just need to use it better. Yes earning more would be great, but kicking debt out of the park is the priority. Debt is definitely a bind and we’re trying as hard as we can to climb out of it. We’re monthly budgeting. We currently use YNAB to manage our money as well as we can. Even using some software like this we regularly fall short, but the principle of attributing every penny to something and tracking expenditure has definitely got us to respect our money and what we buy.
• The less stuff mindset.
A great blog for this kind off stuff is called Man vs. Debt who proposes living off 417 things. The long and short of this is documenting the stuff you have so you really think about what you have and whether you need it. Not only do we de-clutter our lives, but we make some money selling our stuff on eBay. It also makes us thankful for the stuff we do have.
• Learning to buy what is needed.
I’ve heard a few people talk about an idea of not buying anything for a year. I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, but I like the idea of de-commercialising, valuing people, activities and creativity above things. I suppose we still buy food, but we don’t buy ‘stuff’. It also might help us to trade, swap or barter.
• Reducing screen time and eating together.
The beast that sucks dreams and productivity – he says while sitting here tapping away on my iPad while watching 24! My wife and I are going to commit to eating together most nights, and have a date night once a week, for now that will just involve doing something at home until the newborn is a bit older. Less time in front of the TV, more time simply talking.
• Prioritising what is important.
I realised on paternity leave how much I love spending time doing things with my daughter. I love my family. I love taking photos. I love the outdoors and exercise. I’m trying to find ways to tip the work life balance in favour of life.