DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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13 April 2010

Simple living in your 20s

I still get emails fairly frequently asking me to define simple living and if I can explain how to live like Hanno and I do.  Many of the long term  readers here would know that I encourage everyone to live their own life and while Hanno and I might be an interesting enough couple, our life is ours - it's what we do because it suits us, our personalities and the stage of life we're at.  I write about our life here not so you might copy it but to show you what's possible, easy and enjoyable on retirement.  I think the stages or seasons of living - those periods you progress through at various stages of life - are the key here.  In each season you need to do different things - a simple life, like every other life, will reflect those seasons and the requirements of it.


So with that in mind, I thought it might be a useful exercise to focus on a few stages of life in general, and see how simple living fits into those stages.  I would like to start with what I know best - retirement, but it would not make sense to work backwards, so let's start with students and those in their 20s, then progress to the 30s, then middle age - 40s and 50s together, then retirement.  Remember that this is my version of what it may be like, so please help me define these stages and what happens in them; I really want your input if it's the life stage you're currently in.

MONEY MANAGEMENT
Let me stress here that money should never be the most important thing in anyone's life, but it is the glue that holds life together, so it will feature heavily in every stage of life.  Money, or more accurately, debt, will make or break the plans you have for yourself.  When you first leave school, leave home, start work, or start university there is a very strong urge to buy everything you couldn't buy when you were younger. As soon as you start earning a bit of money, most of us want to create our own style - in what we wear, how we spend our time, where we live and what car we drive.  I guess it's one of the ways we separate ourselves from childhood - the ability to earn and spend money is a marker of adulthood.  The trick in every stage of life is to get through it with the things that make life worth living without being saddled with debt that we take into the next stage.  The one debt that will travel with you through a few stages is usually a mortgage, try not to have other debts with it that tie you down.

Learn how to budget as soon as you start earning your own money.  You will still buy a portion of what you want but you'll be in control of your money instead of recklessly spending whatever you earn.  At some stage in your late 20s or early 30s, most people settle down and think about buying a home.  If you arrive at that point in control of your money, with little debt and maybe even the beginnings of a home deposit, you will have placed yourself in the best possible position.

Personal finance in your 20s and 30s
How to build your first budget
How to manage your money in your 20s
College budget 101
Preparing your budget
mint.com

Whenever you want to buy something that you want but don't need, work out how many hours you need to work to pay for it.  If you're earning around $20 an hour, by the time you take out what you pay in tax and what it costs you in the form of clothing, transport and grooming to earn that money, you'd probably get about $13 or $14 an hour in your hand.  If you see a pair of shoe that you MUST have and they cost $100, you will have to work more than seven and a half hours - almost a full day's work,  to cover the cost of those shoes.  Is it worth it?

SELF DEVELOPMENT
If you're lucky and smart, you'll never stop learning.  What you learn at school and university are just the basics - it sets you up for life but you need to fill in all the gaps in your education along the way.  I can't tell you here what it is you'll need to learn, only you know that, but there are a few fundamentals that everyone should know.  Now is the time when you'll start shaping your character and how you'll be later in life.  Chance will play a part in your decisions if you don't make plans for yourself.  Take control of your life, don't just react to what life throws at you.  If you make plans, learn the various life skills that will help you live well and happily, you'll find that you can direct yourself towards certain paths. Take time out, think carefully about what kind of life you want for yourself, what your values are, what you value in other people and what your ideal life would be.  Don't get caught up in the silliness of celebrity and wish you'd be a star, or famous.  That lifestyle is difficult and can be toxic.  Be sensible and think realistically about what might be ahead and how you can change it to make it the best it can be.
  • Aim to be self reliant so that you may look after yourself  throughout your life without having to rely too heavily on others.
  • Learn how to cook from scratch.  Over the years it will make you healthier and it's much cheaper than relying on convenience foods and fast food.
  • Learn to bake, it's a lot of fun and people will love  you for it.  The bread, cookies, biscuits and cakes you make yourself will, hopefully, have no artificial flavourings, preservatives or trans fats.
  • Find a mentor or role model.  It could be someone in your family, someone you work with or someone you meet along the way.  Ask questions, watch how they conduct themself be aware of their values and how they apply them to their everyday life.
  • Get rid of friends who drain you or who are negative or toxic.
  • Learn how to sew, knit and mend.  This will help you extend the life of your clothes and if you're good at it, you might even be able to make some of the clothes you wear.  I have seen some dresses, skirts, tops, shawls, scarves and bags on some young peoples blogs that are really fabulous and much nicer than store bought.  You can really define your own style if you make some of your own clothes. 
  • If you have some land - use it. Learn to grow food.
  • Read.
  • Disregard advertising.  It is there to create an insatiable want in you.  Don't give it any power, march to the beat of your own drum. 
  • Reuse, repair and recycle.
  • Travel if you can - even if it's just to the next county or state.  Expand your horizons by travelling cheaply by train or get a group together in a car.
  • Self discovery - this is the time when you work out what kind of person you are, what you hope your life will be and how to gain those illusive goals.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • When you leave the family home, stay close to your family.  They are important.
  • Heather's comment made me realise I should have added this important note: expect to make mistakes.  All mistakes are learning opportunities.
  • And I liked Rachael's comment on starting early on your retirement savings.  Your superannuation,/401K plan/pension scheme will serve you well in your older age, especially if you start it early.
I would love any one of you, especially if you're in your 20s, to comment on what you're actually doing that makes your life enriching and satisfying. If you have a blog that focuses on this age group, let me know. If you have any links that may help, let me know.  I am sure I've left out things that should be here but I welcome your input. 


Blogs of people in their 20s - can you send me some links to add here?  I'd love to share some young bloggers who are studying, travelling, settling down, working at their first jobs, and living simply - single or married.

Through Lemongrass Eyes
Muddy Fingers Meg
I'm happy to include you, Katy - The Country Blossom  
There are more great blog links in the comments. Don't forget to check them out.

I guess the one thing I'd like to leave you with is that your 20s is the launching pad for your life.  If you can establish yourself on a firm foundation right now, learn the lessons that you need, create a circle of supportive friends and maintain a good relationship with your family you'll be setting yourself up to be in the best position to continue through to the next stage, and that one is a real spinner.  If you thought your 20s were high energy, just wait - you're in for the ride of your life in your 30s.

61 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! As a 24 year old part time teacher and part time homesteader, I agree with all of your points. I would add that giving to others in the form of time spent volunteering is crucial to meeting new people and developing new skills. It is also a wonderful way to support your community!

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  2. I've just begun to follow this blog http://happydoings.blogspot.com/ which is written by a woman in her twenties.

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  3. I'm a SAHM, single with 2 kids at 26. I am on my way to building my authentic life which is a lot simpler than it has been in the past. One of the most important points I think you made was the one about money. It isn't the be all and end all. In my experience it created more stress than anything else. Being a single SAHM I rely on the government payments for my income so am living on a small income, but I am doing so much more LIVING than I did when I worked. I have time to cook things from scratch (and find nothing more comforting than a freezer full of home made stock), to grow bits and pieces of food (as much as possible in a rental) and to do what I see as the most important job I have - raising my children. The simpler I make my life - which is very much a work in progress - the happier we all become. This blog has been an inspiration along the way, and is a great resource for hints and recipes. So many skills have gone by the wayside in my parents generation - like mending, making etc - that I find a lot of my generation don't know how to do them.

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  4. This was a good read, thank you!
    I'm an almost 23yr old married with an almost 1yr old daughter. We are now paying for our mistakes with money so living frugally is a must! I have learnt so much from your blog, I now have a vege garden, bake my own bread and am addicted to anything crafty.
    I have a blog:
    http://bloginessiness.blogspot.com/
    It is mostly my cooking and crafty stuff on there, but of course lots of photos of my daughter too!
    (Who I hope to teach many of these skills)

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  5. I recently started a blog, and fall into this age group, so a lot of what i'm up to reflects "simply living in your 20s". You can point people to my blog at urbanhomesteadinprogress.blogspot.comif you want :-)

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  6. I am 27 and this post was right on for me! I do a lot of these things and really enjoy them. Since finishing graduate school about three years ago, I've been burned out on academic style learning, but I like learning life skills. My husband and I have been working together to learn canning, gardening, and scratch cooking, and I am learning to knit and sew.

    I really agree about avoiding advertisements! I rarely watch TV anymore for that reason, and I find that my wants have sharply decreased. Two activities that we enjoy that weren't mentioned are harvesting wild foods and mushrooms, and training for a half-marathon. The half marathon will be a bigger physical challenge than anything I've done yet, and it is changing the way I see myself. Thanks for your blog! I really enjoy it.

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  7. Good morning Rhonda, another superb idea for a series. I look forward to sharing this post with two special twenty somethings in my life.

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  8. Thanks so much for writing this post Rhonda. I am 29, so have been at this stage for a long time, but I am happy with what I've learnt so far.

    I've learnt to manage my money and plan for the future, I have bought a home that we won't grow out of in an affordable area, am home raising my two little boys, have been married for 10 years and live 15 minutes from my family, who we see several times per week.

    Your advice was great, I think I'll print it for my homemaking manual. Can't wait for the 30's post!

    Angela

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  9. I'm trying to avoid being totally shameless about attracting readers to my blog, but it definitely falls into the 20something living simply arena.

    http://batchworthlane.blogspot.com

    I love to hear what other people my age are doing to live an environmentally friendly, frugal life, so thanks a million for this post!

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  10. Hi Rhonda!

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog. I'm flattered!

    One thing I would like to point out to your readers is that I am in my *late* 20's. I spent a lot of time early on trying to figure out what was important in my life and yes, I/we did make "mistakes" along the way... but everything we've been through brought us to this point... and where we are now looks pretty great so it's all good.

    We bought our house last fall and I still can't believe we're here. Instead of planting in containers on a balcony, we're having a huge garden plot this year. Many people think "When we buy a house/a plot of land/a place in the country *then* I can start living the simple life". I've realized lately that while it is lovely having a house in the country, I was doing a lot of "simple living" before we moved here (cooking from scratch, baking, sewing, knitting, creating/thinking outside the box instead of buying every little thing we "need", etc.)

    My advice? Get started now! And do a lot of reading! Here I am with everything falling into place and so much work to do yet I'm thinking of all the things I wished I had researched more... like seed saving and canning. ;)

    Eagerly awaiting what you'll have to say about the 30's! :)

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  11. We are both 32, hubby is a full time student working on his PhD, and I'm a full time teacher of science to late middle school students. I totally agree that money management is key in your 20s (and on and on....). That's when you really establish those habits that will affect so much. The other key is, if you are doing this, make those contributions to your retirement account. Compounding interest will pay huge, huge amounts after 40 or 50 years, even if you can only make small contributions, or you have to stop after a few years. We got started late, but are working hard to limit expenses in other areas (like food) to make up for those lost years of our 20s.

    Thanks for taking this on, I look forward to reading your thoughts on 30s!

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  12. I think your points are terrific! I am 21, married, with a husband about to graduate from school. We live a very simple, but wonderful, life - avoiding debt, making a lot of things ourselves, etc. Am I allowed to share my own blog? It is:

    http://beingcindy.blogspot.com

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  13. I'm 21 and I live with my parents while I'm in school. This year we built a 4'x5' raised bed that is filled with veggies (as well as more in pots) and started buying some organic foods. We've shopped at the farmer's market for years (we love our local farmers, even the non-organic growers are better than supermarket stuff that got picked weeks ago).

    This year mum decided I needed to learn to cook (I learned to bake at 13 but you can't really live on bread and muffics) and I cook from scratch one night a week. I already have two go-to recipes for parties or quick cooking when an unexpected guest arrives (Grilled chicken breast with raspberry chipotle sauce, brown rice and salsa is my current favorite). I hate sewing but my mum is normally willing to trade my mending for some other chore. This winter I'm planning to take a woodworking course that teaches you how to make simple toys so that I can make toys for local children as well as my own children in the future.

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  14. I'm at the tail end of my twenties and one thing I've learned in the last decade is that it is okay to ask for help. Not necessarily financial help, but to seek the knowledge of friends and family and not to feel like I must figure it out all on my own. Also - I don't have to be the person I planned to be ten years ago. Circumstances change, so did I, and that's okay.

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  15. Where were you when I was 20? LOL

    I'm 36, and I did the starving student thing in my 20's, peppered with lots of work.

    I think there are a lot of good points you make. What really helped me was to not bother having a car for a very long time.

    I did one short stint with a rust bucket of a car, but quickly got rid of it. I found not having a car really took a lot of pressure off, plus I didn't feel a need to pay expensive gym fees later on in my 20's, because I was walking everywhere anyway.

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  16. Oooooh, I can't wait for the 50's and retirement, right where we are now!

    Coleen

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  17. Hi Rhonda,

    I can't agree more about those in their 20's taking charge of their income. I am now 34 but because my husband and I were able to (after a few bad financial errors in our early 20's) make a property purchase in our mid 20's which paid of abundantly, we now have for almost 5 yrs been living on acreage, such a blessing. It also means that with 2 young children I can now be a SAHM and although things at times get tough financially on a single income as we still have a mortgage, we can get by without me having to go back to paid work.

    I also agree with your comment on only surrounding yourself with those friends who are not a "drain" or "high maintenance" for you. I learnt this in my late 20's and it was one of the hardest lessons to learn emotionally but a good and wise one nevertheless. My hubby and I find now a lot of people our own age are just not in the same place as we are with "simple living" and trying to be self sufficient.

    Can't wait for the 30's blog Rhonda!

    Susieq.

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  18. Thank you! As a 23 year old trying to live a more simple life I've already taken a lot of this advice, but I'll look forward to reading some of the links you recommended - it's always hard to find other bloggers my age on the same wavelength, although I'm lucky in my choice of real life friends! We're getting better at growing vegies, our chooks should be arriving this month, my boyfriend bakes our bread and I do some preserving and jam-making.
    Also, thanks for promoting a different lifestyle. I've just recently graduated and am finding I would prefer to spend more time on life than a career, and I think the confidence to choose that comes from affirmation through blogs like this.
    I blog at www.throughlemongrasseyes.blogspot.com if you want to see some of our projects!

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  19. I'm 28 and quickly approaching the end of my 20s. I LOVED your advice, ESPECIALLY the part of about advertising. My husband and I do not have a TV and it enriches our lives so much. We have time to cook, play in the garden, and pursue hobbies - despite both of us being in school, working and being homeowners. We aren't pressured by constant advertising and feel pretty free to live our unconventional lives - despite living in the middle of a major metro area. We do miss out on some of the cultural references and don't always have things to talk about with people our own age (there is a price to pay finding your own road). But not always watching what society says we should have cuts down on the pressure to buy, buy, buy which put us in a good place to buy a house and build our future.

    My blog is muddyfingersmeg.wordpress.com

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  20. I am a 28 year old wife and mama who strives for the simple life! We raise a lot of crops, can food, raise chickens for the fresh eggs and now have added a lamb to the mix! :) I homeschool my children and the only debt my hubby and I have (other than our mortgage) is for an outdoor wood stove that we bought. But we are paying it off (at a cheaper cost per month than a gas heating bill would have been...so it takes the place of a payment rather than adds to our bills!) We live simply and frugally. We homeschool and try to instill our children with values and a love for Christ! My blog reflects this, I hope. I would be happy if you have the time to check it out...and if you feel it qualifies...add us to your list of 20-somethings who are living the simple life! :)

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  21. Oh, when is the 30's post going to be? I'd love to share what it's been like for us so far if you are interested

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  22. Hi Rhonda, Im 27, a mama, and get so much inspiration from you're blog. Clearly, a lot of us do. Thanks for adding fuel to this gorgeous revolution occuring grassroots style here on Mother Earth. Simple living will save the world.

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  23. I am new to reading your blog but I love it! I am a 24 year old stay at home wife, soon to be a stay at home mom. We are expecting our first child, a daughter, in just a few months. We try to keep our life simple. We grow as many vegetables as we can during the summer which isn't very long due to living in the Northern US. I bake and cook almost everything from scratch. I try to keep up with all of this in my blog but tend to slack on writing.

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  24. Thank you for this post! My boyfriend and I (we live in Canada and are in our mid twenties) are starting a little herb garden on our deck this summer and have our own little plot in his parent's garden for vegetables. We also recycle everything and are vegetarians. We make our own laundry soap and only use green cleaners. I knit and am starting to sew, and we share one car. We don't buy into commercial or material things. All we really buy is food, and make sure it is organic whenever possible. We think it is worth spending a large portion of our income on food rather than material items, and are much happier since we made this change! Thanks for all of the inspiration!

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  25. Love this post, thank you! I'm a twenty-something mom to 2 little girls. Over the past few years I've learned to sew, make simple toys and jewelry for gifts, make all our own baked goods, make all our laundry and household cleaners...I want to be self-sufficient, and I'm looking around for what to learn next. I blog about our "DIY" life over at http://doityourselfmama.wordpress.com. I feel so lucky to have learned the skills that I have, I want to reach out to as many people as I can!

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  26. Far from being in my 20's but am a mom of 20 something year olds and your advice is excellent and I will be showing it to one of my children. Thanks

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  27. What another interesting and inspiring post! Another interesting blog is Anna's, at http://ccostello.blogspot.com/
    She is a young Jewish housewife, but blogs about life in general, and has some very deep and thought provoking posts.

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  28. Hi Rhonda. I just wanted to say that YOU are my inspiration and role model.

    My loving parents are clueless about money and even after working hard for 35yrs they are still in a lot of debt because they won't cut back and make sacrifices. The money lessons they should have taught me I am now finding out for myself at 30. I don't want to end up like them so better late than never.

    I'm a SAHM to 2 little girls. I really don't want to have to go back to work yet and put my girls in care so I'm doing what I can at home to help us out financially.

    You've inspired me to make bread, think about my purchases, cook from scratch and live a simpler life. I'm currently researching what types of fruit and vegies I can grow in pots at our little rented house....have you seen the price of lettuce at the shops!! lol

    Just this week I have begun using the "envelope system" of budgeting ie. withdrawing cash and dividing it up into envelopes depending on your expenses. I love it already and think it will be the start of us really being able to pay off our bad debt.

    Another blog I love is Young House Love. It is a home design/renovation blog and while it isn't really about living a simpler life the 2 bloggers give great tips on how to cut back on expenses in your everyday life.

    Natalie

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  29. Thanks for a great post, feel free to add my blog if you think it's suitable!

    http://missusmoonshine.blogspot.com/

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  30. Rhonda,

    Thanks for this great post! I'm in my late 20s and have just started exploring a lot of the ideas that you talk about. I've found your blog very helpful for new ideas but this post helps put them all into the bigger perspective that I hope to achieve.

    I've started my own blog to capture my journey (http://aslowerlife.blogspot.com)

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  31. Thanks for this post. In my late 20's I took on half an allotment plot in my elected home in South East England and have been learning lots about growing some of my own veg as many of the readers of this blog. I just wanted to share that in my 20's I started volunteering regularaly for the Samaritans - a phone help helpline ( I think they're called Befrienders in Australia) and that has been quite a life changing experience. I have found that spending time with others is the best way of getting some perspective on my own life and it continues to remind me what really matters - relationships, friends, family and your health.
    I am looking forward to the 30's post!

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  32. I would echo Dylan here; actually I think being a lone parent deserves its own post. If you're on the dole or other forms of public assistance, money is nigh on impossible to find - add to this the persistent pressure to work and "contribute" to society, vs. childcare costs and other issues - seeing that being a parent isn't actually considered a job anymore, a lot of pressure is put upon lone parents to get out and work as soon as possible, even if it isn't really the best long-term option. This could be said of the disabled as well. I'd volunteer to give a few tips and tricks on this subject, especially as a lone parent with a disabled child. Quite often there are completely different factors for people who are on their own or maybe not as able - if you can't walk, how do you garden? If you have difficulty with your hands, how do you cook from scratch? If you live in block council flats, you can't exactly keep chickens, but there ARE options.

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  33. I blog, but we are in our early thirties, so not the right decade! But I'm really looking forward to your next installment. You're right about it being different from your 20's, but in a good way. We're more financially stable, almost have our house paid off - great things! I'll be following all the decades and blogs for inspiration and tips. Thanks for starting this series.

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  34. One of the best things my husband and I did in our 20s (aside from getting married and starting our family!) was to avoid student loan debt. Both my husband and myself graduated from college debt free. My husband started working in high school, sometimes full-time hours and saved every bit of gift money he received. Once he started college, he continued to work summers and during the school year worked as a resident advisor on campus. Being an RA allowed him free room and board, free meal plan and a small stipend. He paid his own way through college even though his parents were more than able to provide financially. I earned a full academic scholarship which covered my tuition, room and board and meal plan. Books and living expenses I paid from my savings (summer job and working on campus).

    Not having student loan debt (or any other kind of debt) allowed us to get a good start financially when we set out on our own.

    Can't wait for your 30s post!

    Mary Ellen

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  35. Great post! I just left the 20's last year and am still settling into this thing called "30"! I'm thankful for the lessons that my husband and I were taught growing up on how to live responsibly. We're definitely still learning about self-sufficient living, but it's fun learning. It's something we enjoy! The one thing I'm still working on is sewing. I can do the very basic things, but I'd love to be able to sew my own clothing. That's one of my goals for my 30's - to learn more about sewing! Now, I just gotta find the time to do it!

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  36. I know this may go without saying, but this advice is great for young men, not just young women or families. I know a lot of still-single young guys in their 20s, and I think many of them could learn a thing or two here! My husband has always been a good cook, and can bake a few things from a mix, but I've always known how to make stuff from scratch (or how to read a cookbook, at least), because this is how we did it when I was growing up. My parents did a lot of these things, except that we were fairly poor and in debt, which is where I'm finding myself, mostly because of lack of teaching.
    Great stuff, though, and I wish I'd had this 10 years ago when I was entering my 20s instead of heading into the 30s. Can't wait what you've got next!

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  37. Well, you are teaching me so much but I'm afraid I'm nowhere near my 20's any longer. But that's ok. I'm thrilled to be where I am and happy to have found your blog. You had me at the chickens!

    :]

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  38. I love your blog. I learn so much each time I visit.

    I recently wrote a post on Homemaking and would love your thoughts and comments!

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  39. As someone who is now in their 50s, I realize so many seeds planted which will be full grown in middle age start in our 20's!

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  40. Here is my blog, although I need to be better about updating it more often. (I had another blog I transferred the entries over from; that's why there's no comments.) http://alpinebreezes.blogspot.com

    I'm a SAHM with two kids and another on the way; I just turned 27.

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  41. Well done, Rhonda! So many good points! I can't wait for the rest of the series, especially the 30's.

    I'm 31 so the memory of my 20's is still very vivid. The first 1/2 of my 20's it was just DH and me. I call those the Simple Years:
    We didn't have a lot of money.
    We rented.
    We lived in a very frugal-minded community, so there wasn't much "keeping up with the Smith's".
    We lived close to family.
    We were HAPPY.

    The second 1/2 of my 20's I call the "Growing Years":
    We moved from the Midwest to the East Coast
    We bought and remodeled 3 houses
    I had a baby, became a SAHM, and learned to balance all that that entails
    DH's income grew GREATLY but he is now a workaholic

    Would I change anything in my 20's?? No because I am who I am b/c of the good and bad stuff that happened in those 10 years.

    Am I glad to be out of my 20's?? Yessiree! I'm enjoying being 31 ALOT and expect the other 8 1/2 years to be grand. =)

    BTW, I have a blog, too, that you are welcome to link. It was started in my 20's.

    www.dutchgirldiary.blogspot.com

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  42. I am an avid reader of your blog - thank you for all you share here!

    I am a twenty-something living the simple life - sewing, cooking, gardening, knitting, etc. My blog is: http://honeyatthetable.squarespace.com

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  43. I'm in my late 20s, and in many ways I wish I had learned about this way of living much sooner (as a teen) so that I could have started preparing then and based my plans on that (wouldn't have gone to university for 4 years on student loan! would have done something else entirely--too late now though and I'm still paying off those loans). I'm glad this information in more available now thanks to the internet and people like you for those who seek it.

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  44. First let me say that I love your blog, it's very inspirational. I'm 26, and have been married for a whole seven months now :) My husband and I are trying to take this time without any kiddos to figure out how we want our house ran, how we want to spend our money, and how we want our family to eat. I unfortunately haven't had as much time as I would like to update my blog as much as I would like to. I do have a few entries on our ventures of this thing called life :)
    www.thesoutherncharm.blogspot.com
    We live in the Southern part of the US if you were wondering about the name. We own almost two acres with a garden and a humble home that we love dearly!
    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom!
    Jennie
    Small Town, USA

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  45. I'm 27 and pregnant with my second child. I started growing my own urban garden this year, I don't buy things new (thrifted, handmade) and took up sewing and knitting in the past 6 months. I also started to make my own bread religiously thanks to Rhonda's tutorial I fell in live with! I wouldn't say life is simple, but it is definitely a lot more simple than some of my friends and family and I am so grateful for that. I have more time for things I am passionate about and less time for mindless pursuits and fleeting consumerist cravings. Thanks for this series. Am loving it so far. xo m.

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  46. What a lovely post. Very applicable to me, and my life at the moment. I totally agree about the making mistakes. I think they are essential, for growth and learning, but also they are lessons in humility, too, and we all need them from time to time...!!

    I also have a blog www. thelifeandtimesofanordinarygirl.blogspot.com

    All about my epiphanies and life lessons as a twenty-something stay-at-home mummy of little ones.

    Thanks so much for your inspiring blog, always gives me something to think about.

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  47. Thank you for adding my link Rhonda! I have bookmarked all the other links and hope to visit them frequently! :)

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  48. A great post - thanks! I'm 25 and love reading your blog for inspiration on how to continue simplifying my life.

    I was not living a simple life until about a year ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. This made me slam on the breaks and I am so grateful for everything I have gone through because it has made me appreciate life and realise what is important.

    I have a blog http://amoderngirlslife.blogspot.com which shares my journey back to perfect health if anyone is interested!

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  49. Thank you for these wonderful posts... and I found several new bloggers through this post that I plan to follow. Love, love, love Aspiring Homemaker!

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  50. I'm 24, student, living with my boyfriend of 24, student.

    I bake bread - but sometimes I don't have time. I shop cheap (at the market) and plan meals.

    I find that not drinking alcohol decreases student expenses a lot (compared to the frat boys & sorority girls) and people love coming here for dinner in stead of eating out because I'm one hell of a cook (according to my guests).

    I used to cut costs a bit too drastically, but I found that it's much more pleasant to spoil myself with some (cheap but effective) cosmetics now and again.

    We go out for walks in nature when we can, though we live in an ugly city.

    We have a lot of access to many books and teachers, so we are learning a lot about stuff we will need in the future (boyfriend wants to build our house <3).

    We don't watch tv.

    We don't have to look perfect for ratrace jobs, so we don't spend much on fashion. I have a LOT of clothes though, mostly because of sisters and cousins who grew out of them (I don't grow out of my clothes because I keep my weight at BMI=20). I make some clothes too, with an old fashioned hand-sewing machine or with just needle and thread. I got the sewing machine for free, off a Dutch version of Ebay.

    We don't have a car, but we have bicycles and free public transport (students get that around here).

    We have some debt, but we pay off as much as we can. Boyfriend works a lot after studytime.

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  51. Thank you so much for including me in your links Rhonda Jean! I really appreciate it! :) I hope you have a lovely weekend! :)

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  52. I'm not quite nineteen and a half, but I have already been starting on the road of simplicity. Over the last year and a half of reading your blog, you've inspired me and given me countless ideas. Other than my mother, who works with me in my goals for reducing our life, I don't have anyone else around to really learn from, so I come to your site.
    I am knitting, cooking and baking organically, cleaning without the chemical solutions they advertise, and am so much happier for it.
    I no longer feel the pressure to go buy more clothes, or shoes, or things that I don't need. Blogging keeps me on track with staying simple as well. Advertising doesn't affect me, and I can live on the small amount that I do make much happier than friends of mine who are still part of the consumerist society.
    Though this new lifestyle, and partially through being inspired by you, I have found happiness and something that works for me. Thank you.
    Laura

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  53. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is truly inspirational. I'm in my 20's and we have just sold our first home and moved onto a 3/4 acre block and are endeavoring to live 'the simple life' we have plans for a vegie patch and chickens in the near future. I love logging onto my computer in the evenings and catching up with your latest blog. Thank You!

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  54. I'm new to your blog but I really like it. I started a blog myself about going green and getting back to simplicity. I am 27 so I guess I fall into the 20 something trying to live simply category! Your ideas are inspiring and can't wait to read through the archives!

    www.simplicitymom.blogspot.com

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  55. I love your blog! Hubby and I just bought a house in Maryland on 5 acres. I already make most everything from scratch. We dont use our heater or ac unless absolutely necessary. We actually get a check back from the electric company because we dont use enough electricity. We are looking forward to raising chickens and possibly goats! We have a 401k plan and dont have any debt! (except the house now) Thanks for providing inspiration!

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  56. I just stumbled upon your blog and I think your advice is terrific. My husband and I, 26 and 24 respectively, just recently bought our first home. Thanks to proper debt management and frugal living, we were able to buy a house and still live quite comfortably on modest incomes. I make everything from scratch and buy in bulk from BJ's Wholesale Warehouse. Your advice for this age range is spot-on, and I just wanted to thank you. My blog is http://amaranthian.blogspot.com/, and is about food, life, and living both to the fullest.

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  57. I just stumbled across your blog yesterday and bookmarked it!
    I'm 29 and married with a 1 year old daughter. We hope to have 3 more kids and homeschool them. My biggest hope was that I would be able to raise them on a farm, and so far, it's happening! We rent a mobile on 10 acres in the forest about 5 minutes from town, and for way less than it would cost to rent a house in town! We have two horses, a dog, 2 ducks and laying hens and raise meat chickens and sell eggs. I'm practising rotational grazing to make our limited grass last longer and so one day I can use it on our ranch (nowhere in sight, but that's our dream). We are blessed in every way except debt, which we're working hard to pay off, but with one income, it's tough to get by even without the debts! One of the best things we've done to help us live high quality lives was to get rid of the tv. I started a blog last year at www.raftermramblings.wordmess.net. I bake my own whole wheat bread and cook from scratch using as many homegrown ingredients as possible. I sew a bit and am learning to can and preserve food. One day we'll get a dairy cow and make our own dairy products. Right now, we do the best we can with what we have, and it's great fun!

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  58. Hi Rhonda!

    I just discovered this blog recently and I absolutely adore it!

    I'm a 23 year-old Canadian, and I'm passionate about simplicity, homemaking, and traditional skills. I'm slowly learning the ropes! I've been cooking from scratch for a few years now and this past weekend successfully baked my first loaf of bread, from scratch, by hand. I'm teaching myself to knit and embroider and am hoping to learn quilting as well.

    Right now my boyfriend and I live in a very, very tiny apartment in Canada's capital that allows us to save money for our dream, which is a little house in the country with plenty of land for gardening. I'm doing my best to learn frugality and sustainable skills now so I'll be ready for our country life in the future!

    Thanks again for writing such a wonderful blog, it brings me so much joy every time I read it. You and your readers can feel free to check out my blog Traditional Girl in a Modern World at traditionalgirlmodernworld.blogspot.com

    :)

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  59. Hi Rhonda! This is a very good post indeed. I am now 23 years old, and I wish I had known all these things before.. Recently, thinking about a way to save up money for university in the future (I come from a really poor background and they are now making the fees ridiculously high in the UK) I've been slowly getting into the whole idea of frugality and simplicity in life. Thinking back about how much money I wasted since I started my first job makes me feel so embarassed..!
    Everything you said in your post is so true! I had very little while being a child, often hungry and being unable to afford books for school, etc.. so as soon as I started earning my own money I felt like I needed to compensate myself for all these years. impulse buying, eating out frequently, buying lots of clothing, overspending on food items as I was too lazy to look for bargains and cook myself.. As I said, I feel so ashamed thinking about all this now! I could have saved thousands of pounds by now for my future education. Now I shun adverts, which have no power over me. I only buy what I really need and think it thoroughly beforehand. I am renting a room so I can save on accomodation, instead of a studio. I also cook from scratch, very simple but satysfying and healthy meals. (That of course took some time and effort..) There is absolutely no chance of me ordering takeaways. I've learnt my lesson.. I put all my savings aside for my future. My only regret is I wish somebody would have smacked me on the head when I was 18 and teach me all this!

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  60. We read this entry and found it so useful; then we saw the request for blogs of people in their 20s and realised that was us!

    My girlfriend and I are in our early 20s and trying to figure out what to do with our lives; earlier this year, we bought a VW van and began traveling around the US and Canada, where we're now WWOOFing. Our blog is our documentation of those travels and our findings:

    http://www.thequestquotient2011.blogspot.com

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  61. I know I'm late to the party but I recently discovered your blog and have been working my way through older posts. I am 23 and have recently started a blog about my life as a housewife.

    www.the-canadian-housewife.blogspot.com

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