11 June 2009

We are in this for life

Comfort food usually makes a comeback whenever the economy does a nose dive. We also tend to use more of the cheaper cuts of meat, waste less and shop more for bargains. I was reading an article from Australian Food News about 2009 food trends recently. All the above were mentioned as this year's trends, as well as an increase in entertaining at home, more community food projects and, paradoxically, more food delivered by mail. Hmmm. Many of the trends in that article are strategies that Hanno and I use and it reaffirmed for me that living simply is generally a sensible way of life. Being frugal in all manner of things - our shopping, growing food, mending, knitting, sewing, being satisfied at home, paying off debt and cutting back whenever we can, helps us through a recession like nothing else, and it makes sense not only in bad times but also in good.

It made me think about how much we have changed; that we are conservers now instead of consumers. We were due for that change, overdue, in fact. All that money wasted, it makes me shudder just to think of it. But now Hanno and I are well and truly embedded in this way of life. It feels natural to us now to economise, save, reuse, mend and recycle. It is now part of how we live and who we are. There is no going back for us. We are here for good.

But what about you? When all this kerfuffle is over, when the credit is flowing freely again, when McMansions are once again being touted as "THE place to live", will you be there knocking at the door? According to this article: "Three quarters of shoppers who have made changes to their food and grocery shopping due to the economic climate say that they will stick with their new habits even when the economy recovers, according to new research from the UK." That's great news. But what about you?

All these months of learning how to grow food, bake bread and shop wisely, all the talk about "saving the planet", peak oil, climate change, frugality and slowing down, will that all be forgotten, or if not forgotten, at least crushed and broken in the rush to the Christmas sales? How committed are you? Have you skilled yourself just for the recession or have you done it for life? Often when I asked questions here I already know, or think I know, the answer. I have no idea about this. All I know is that my feet are cemented to the position I take today - that we are in this for life. But I really don't know about you. How firm are your feet planted? Please, let's have an honest discussion about this. I find it very interesting and I'd love to know your opinion.



  1. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    I look forward to your thoughts each day. We have always lived frugal-ish...like I said to a friend the other day, I don't buy second hand clothes or figure out ingenious ways to use dryer lint - I don't use a dryer, but we have always lived within our means.

    Each month I try to make a new change...just one a month. Whether it be growing our own food (1 year on the 16th!), recycle more or learning to cook my own dog food...next month I am going to make some soap...

    But even with the economic whoopsy, it won't make a difference to us - I never started on this path for that reason. We did it because it is wise.

    South Africa

  2. I can't believe I'm the first comment.

    I've always lived this way, was raised like this -- no debt, no champagne lifestyle on a beer pocketbook. So there will be no changes in my life.

    I bought a house I could afford on my own, pay cash for my cars and drive 'em until they die and take my lunch everyday to work.

    Here's one for you -- I buy most of my clothes in black or white -- that way everything goes with everything and only have to sort 2 loads for washing.

    I have taken up vegetable gardening in a big way this year -- 3 big raised beds. Everything doing fine -- would be much better if it would quit raining and we could have some sunshine (4 days without sunshine this week).

  3. This turns out to be so much more than just about the money! We too are committed to this way of life. We feel more connected and true to ourselves. Our health is better, we have no debt other than our mortgage which we are steadily paying down. We spend more time together in meaningful work and joyful living. What is there to go back to really?

    Thanks for the question. We are in an ever deepening expansion of our roots in our home and community. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  4. Hi Rhonda,
    Many of these things I have always done. Some I had to stop when I started work full time. As I work full time I carry my lunch and if I eat out I make sure my $ is kept low. I like to carry my lunch as I do not waste food that is in the refrigerator. I'm looking forward to being at home again. Making a bigger garden, sewing a lot more, baking more. Oh how I look forward to that. So I can safely say this is a way of life for me.

  5. Rhonda,I have enjoyed the challenge of the recession. Praise the Lord we weren't affected like many people but I really enjoy our new life style that came with it. I never thought I'd say that I don't miss going out to eat or to the shopping mall. I love gardening,baking my own bread and when we are able to have our own home we want it on at least 5 acres so we can grow most of our own food and have chickens for eggs and room for our children to run and play. I have never wanted a large home...too much to clean and who needs all that space! I love this lifestyle! I don't miss my old life at all!

  6. We didn't start our change to simple living because of economics. It was a nagging idea that our consumer life wasn't right. We didn't know why but when I became ill with stress and was forced to slow down and gave up work. Living on one wage we needed to cut down on spending. This started us on the road to simple living, we are still working towards our goals but we love this way of life and will not go back to consumerism. It is more than being frugal, or being green or growing your own food. For us it is a change of how we see ourselves and where we are going.


  7. Good Morning, Rhonda Jean,
    I think - I know I want to be in this for life. My husband certainly is - he's a natural saver and is very good at money matters, but it is so hard for me to break the habits of a lifetime, even if those habits are only about 12-15 years old. When I first started earning money at 18 years of age I went crazy, and it felt good! But these last few years, through necessity, and reading and learning from you and just a general awakening to the waste I was creating I've come to realize the value of home things and making do and frugality, and have even found fun in it. But I have to admit I 'fell off the wagon' this past week, due to my dear husband looking after the children for me one day, and with Alice's feeding routine stretching out now, I had a few hours all to myself and hit the mall. But even in doing that I found myself buying practical things like glass containers for my pantry, a new slow cooker book, and clothing on sale for the children, and school readers for the younger ones. I know that I have changed the way I live in other ways - I have a really low grocery bill, and we still eat well, all homecooked meals; I make a lot of the children's clothes and we grow a vege garden and have chickens. It's a slow change for me, but I'm making progress little by little. I really want to get into making soap and making my own cleaners this year.
    Thank you for all your encouragement. I know I've said it before, but I love visiting here every day, as it motivates me to keep going and keep trying.
    Rachel L

  8. We were living this way before the economic downturn, and will live this way after it straightens out. I can't even imagine living the "spendy" lifestyle.

  9. This is so very true. I met with a friend recently who is about to trade in her car for a new model. When I asked why she didn't just pay this one off and be done, she said, "But I've always had a car payment."

    We have paid off our car and are working to pay off our house early. I'm happy to mend socks, make soap, and grow vegetables to help us toward this goal.

  10. Hi Rhonda Jean
    I love reading your blog everyday. my family have always lived frugally as we have never earned big money so it is just so natural for us but I see people now starting to live this way out of necessity. I think they will keep it up when the hard times are over because they seem more relaxed with this way of life. Some will eventually go back to their old ways. I think hard times had to happen to bring reality back to some people that think they can spend spend spend and not worry about it. It makes people think twice now about going into debt or buying something just cause it is new and they have to have it.
    We will have to wait and see what happens in the future but hopefully it will be more frugal for lots of people.

  11. We made the decision to change our lives while the economy and our finances were just fine. Therefore, when all this hit we were mostly unaffected. I don't plan to ever go back to before. Besides, I'm having too much fun learning things that are actually useful!

  12. Living the simple life, choosing "voluntary simplicity" was done a couple of years before the whole bubble burst. My wife and I paid down our outstanding debt we incurred to do repairs on the house. We were amazed just how fast we were able to do that, AND help pay for daughter's college, AND eat well, AND have what we needed, AND had more time to devote to our relationship both to each other and our children.
    It seems to be a win-win situation for all of us.
    Oh, and we gave up gift giving, we now support 5 HIV positive orphans in Ethiopia as well as a Tibetan exile living in India. We have so much, and can give more now than we ever thought we could.

  13. I first starting reading blogs less than 2 years ago. I goggled ALPACA info and ended up with sites that raved about the wonderful life of raising alpacas - of many people who gave up the rat race to live a more simple life on a farm. Although I don't really crave raising alpacas, nothing against them,but what really caught my eye was more of the self-sufficient lifestyle that some of these people had. And as I read I linked to other blogs and I found myself reading them and taking notes on simplifying life. The business I work in was booming then, now it is skeleton crew or less. I think I will continue to want things more simple, and this may just be the jump start to step it up a bit.

  14. I'm in it for the long haul. We can't live in this world and just keep consuming everything without a thought. Even if we make small changes, they make a difference. And it's important to share the changes you make with the people you know, to get them to start making changes too. Small steps can lead to big revolutions, and you never know where it might lead. My husbands earns a modest salary, and I look after our 2 children full time, so to make everything stretch, we grow some of our veg, have chickens in the back yard, use up our leftovers, menu plan to save money, time and lower food waste. We use our legs or bikes to transport ourselves, fresh air to dry our clothes, washable nappies when the children were smaller, buy secondhand clothes, make some or swap among friends, and we always talk about why we make these kinds of choices, not only to the children, but to all our friends and acquaintances too.
    I love reading your blog, it makes me feel connected to people who do the kinds of things we do, and that is so inspiring. Thank you!

  15. Wise words indeed Rhonda. I am definately in this gig for life. Once hooked on a simple life, it is so hard to go back down the path of consumerism and waste. It is re-affirmed to me everyday I travel to the city to work. Everyone else around me is stressed to the max, and I am calm, cool and collected.

    Sure, I am the brunt of some office jokes (hippy jokes), but the joke will be on them in the very near future when they will have no idea how to cope with the major changes destined to hit humanity in the very near future. But, as always, I will be here to help them get through the harder times to come.


  16. As I wanted to be an academic, I spent many years in undergraduate and then postgraduate study. That meant I had little money and learned how to stretch every dollar and then pound when I came to the UK. Even when I could afford to buy the latest this or that, I remember how hard I worked as a student for a particular sum of money. I just couldn't blithely open my wallet.

    I admit, I've seen magazine spreads of the perfect house, been tempted by an automobile or two, and when we saved money for a three-week holiday, we went. On the other hand, I won't incur debt.

    The peace of mind that comes from no debt and plenty of money in the bank is priceless. No Chinese plastic electronics will make up for that.

    AM of the Bread

  17. Well, we will certainly continue to live as frugally as possible. I feel it´s easier for us since I have now retired and my husband will retire at the end of this year. We have time to reflect and the privilege of being masters of our own time. My prime task will be to set a good example and to encourage the younger generations in our family to reflect over their choices.
    Best regards
    Ramona K

  18. I have ask myself those questions a few times in recent months...when my mind would wonder about the things I would like to do in summer (travel), or new clothes (versus goodwill, thrifted, traded or sewn by me), meats that are no longer a part of our daily fare,(legumes and chicken or fish and lots more fresh fruits and vegetables), little or no beef or pork, Fewer trips to town and then only when I have at least three things to accomplish that day, using my library faithfully instead of buying books and magazines or using the free section of books and magazines at the recycle center, learning to make what I want and how to redo the things I already have to make them fresh, feeling a sense of pride in knowing that the food we eat is healthier, that we take better care of everything to make it last as long as possible, taking classes through my local extension office to learn how to knit, crochet and can and preserve foods and sew just about anything ( at a few dollars a class it is well worth the expenditure) gardening and learning to "put by" the things we grow for winter use. Knowing how to dry my herbs and make my own seasoning blends for all kinds of dishes...using ideas and recipes from your blog and Granny Millers and the Mennonite Girls Can Cook site to produce many wonderful meals and comforts...all which my family really appreciates...no I think I will keep along this road of simple living and hope that in time I will learn a great deal more...it has been a gift to come to this place...I am content.
    Not trouble free, not without some want, but content.
    I am a novice in many things but I am gaining confidence and with the help and advice that you and other good mentors offer I am sure that my skills and knowledge will grow.
    Thank you for another thought provoking post..I have answered my questions as well as yours!

  19. I can live no other way unless I want to work full time again, which I don't. I would rather have my time more than money, even if it means that eventually, I will be moving to a studio apartment. I spend little, but live large!

  20. Thank you all for your thoughts on this. It just makes so much sense to live this way! I wish we could convince the majority of the spenders that it's time to change. I don't expect everyone to be totally convinced, thank you Rachel for your honest answer. You're setting a good example for your children and as with almost everything else, it's small steps.

  21. In my country wages are low and I don't think I could live on a part-time income. Housing is expensive. I gave up newspapers and magazines for 15 years, haven´t had a "proper" vacation for years, my car is 15 years old...
    I've been saving money "agressively" for 3-4 years, meaning no movies, nights out, monitoring my driving distances, cooking from scratch.
    I like to make a lot of different things but sometimes feel a bit tired - my job(s), house chores, pets.
    I really wish having morey money so that I wouldn't worry about paying bills... but I would keep my way of life.

  22. A good question, Rhonda, and a needed one.

    We started this journey before the talk of a recession. If I remember rightly it began by making a decision to combine all our errands into one to save petrol.

    Dh and I don't want to go back to our old ways of spending and consuming. When I think of the waste I shudder! We continue to find ways of making a difference - last week I went to a friend's house and hemmed new cleaning rags I'd made from an old towel - and I don't think that will ever end.

    This way of living is much more satisfying, productive, and life-giving than the old!

    Cath in Sydney

  23. I live today as I have always lived. In the past it was due to necessity; real poverty; I had no choice, but I did have pride in what I had done for myself and how I made so little cover so much. Today, my health is much worse and, thanks to disability benefits, we have more money. Our total income is way below our country's average wage, but far above what the world's poorest have to exist on. The resourcefulness, simplicity and contentment we have found through necessity is still with us and always will be. I hate waste; it devalues the work people do and the beautiful planet God gave us, so I will always live as simply and as greenly as I can manage to do so.

  24. Hello Rhonda,

    I love your blog and read it every day. I moved to Tasmania 10 years ago, so that I could live the life I wanted and have enough space to have chickens etc. However, I am finding it difficult for someone to build me a very simple home, that doesnt have two bathrooms and 4 bedrooms and is solar passive. I have lived the frugal, home made life ever since university days and I have learned so much with the number of websites about soap making, knitting and sewing. I wished they were here 20 years ago when I started off and had to learn by trial and error. Those mad moments when I was a consumer are getting fewer and far between.

    Thank you so much for your inspiration


  25. One of the reasons we are enjoying living the way we are learning to now, is seeing the dent we are making in our mortgage, but our goal is to move into or build a home better suited to our family, as we have outgrown this one in many ways. So my answer is that we will continue to cook and clean and grow and follow the path as it leads us and we are able. I find raising our children with these ideas and concepts to be very valuable. We will also consciously increase our debt to put ourselves into the house that will be our permanent family home for many years.
    We will treat that debt in the same way or perhaps more aggressively than the one we have now, as I still have some work to do on my own personal spending habits and attitudes to 'new' and 'must have' items. Changing these will enable us to decrease our mortgage which is our only debt. The way of life and learning continues irrespective of the location and mortgage and was not a journey we embarked on due to financial constraint but for health and wellbeing reasons.

  26. My hubby and I, and the boys (10 and 5) too for that matter, have been gradually going frugal and green over the last 7 years, with the greatest amount of change and dedication in the last 3 years. It is a way of life for us, we are seriously considering downsizing to a much smaller house. We have a move coming up for my hubby's job, so it is the perfect time to consider it.

    I am usually a bit of a trend bucker so being on this 'frugal' band wagon seems a little odd to me but it won't stop me from doing it, I just never expected to be in the 'in' crowd so to speak.

  27. We're in this for good, it is a much better way to live -- for us and for the planet. The economy didn't bring us to this decision so, as it changes, we won't be swayed.

    My ancestry is Anglo/Irish and I feel that in a sense I've realised that heritage at last. What we know of those women shows that they were thrifty can-do women. It's something to aim for anyway.

  28. PS I forgot to say what a great picture that is of the lovely Alice! Tony wonders if your car is a Citreon? We have a little Citreon Berlingo van for the shop. Have a great weekend!

  29. We will certainly keep living like this after the recession.
    I grew up in a very frugal, practical home, but strayed away from it when I had the chance at university.
    Now that I'm out of university, and have a family of my own, I started seeing the value of this lifestyle.
    I am very glad we chose to live as we do, though. The recession hit us harder than we imagined it would (DH lost his job, and now is earning almost 1/4 less than he was), but we are managing very well.
    It is a source of pride, managing like we do. This week, I've been thinking about you a lot (although I haven't had a chance to read your posts until today). I've made bread several times, planted a big garden (and will hopefully have enough tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and onions to see us through most of the winter!!), and made soap (with the tutelage of my step-mom) for the very first time.
    Your blog has really helped me along this road to budgeting, and saving, and growing our own food, etc.
    Thanks a million, it's really appreciated.
    -Melanie in Canada

  30. My feet have been firmly planted
    since my late teens (I never
    bought into the corporate crap
    even when I was younger) and I
    have always followed my own path
    no matter how out of step it
    was with everyone else. I can't
    see that changing.

  31. Hi Rhonda. I was brought up in post war England living a frugal simple life....I learned the skills early but "walked on the wild and decadent side" for a few years there. LOL. Over the past few years I have been moving back to a more aware and simple existance. I too shudder at the memory of the waste! There is no going back. I love the life I lead now and the more I learn the better it gets :-)

  32. I was doing this before the credit crunch (which so far hasn't effected us directly anyway), and I'm sure I'll be doing it long after. When I first started reading your blog (quite a while ago now, though I don't comment as often as I should), I realised that I could chose to live this way, even if I had money to live a more 'high' lifestyle. It was a huge revelation to me, and one that I am so glad I made. For me, it's not about the money, it's about the way I want to live, and the experiences I want to give my daughter.

  33. I have never had a lot of money. I have always had to do with what I have and can afford. I kind of like that everyone else is catching up to me now. When things in the world finally turn around and come back to "fine" again, I will still be doing what I have done for most of my life. Old habits are hard to break!

  34. We too are in this for life. We constantly try new things to make our lives simplier and enjoy our time on the farm.

    Even if the economy turns around, we will not go back to conviences, credit cards or bigger homes. We love the way we live now. We wouldn't change it for the world.

    Have a great day! :)

  35. I go through phases of loving the frugal life and then pining for the days of eating out and buying things on a whim. My general sensibilities lean toward the simple, unwasteful life, but I do get caught up in the technology lust, occasionally; not to buy the latest gizmo, but to at least know how to work, and have a skeleton version of the latest outdated gizmo.

    I've read projections that this downturn may last a decade. That amount of time will make frugality converts of several existing generations, but not necessarily of the ones to follow. Everything is cyclical. I look at where I am in life, and see that the upcoming decade in question is leading into my peak earning years. Presently I have just become unemployed. It is humbling to think/see that this upcoming frugal decade likely will set the rest of my life at a much lower income level than I had ever imagined. I very well may have to live frugally from here on out, whether I want to or not.

  36. I am still learning and incorperating these skills into life. Will I keep it up, yes. Many of the things that I have learned from your site are things that I have always been intrested in, since I was a little girl, but never could find anyone to teach me or even instructions. Now with the intrest of homesteading being so wide spread because of world conditions I have been able to find the information to jump in.

    Thanks for making the simple life actually seem simple.


  37. Hi RHonda Jean,
    We are in this for life also!
    Have a great day!

  38. I'm in this for life too. I think it must be in my nature, because even as a young teenager I noticed that I wanted to spend less time in the shopping malls and more time outside in nature.

    In college I became really inspired by simple living and have been aiming for it ever since. Of course I always like to complicate it with all sorts of complicated things like kids and owning a business and such, but I keep aiming for simple.

  39. Hi Rhonda,

    First, thank you for the photo of Alice! She looks quite content!

    I have always been basically frugal, although I do admit I got a little sloppy there for a while. The biggest challenge for me is having a 10 and 13 year old, because at their age it is all about being like everyone else. I said to my husband, if it was just the two of us, I could really have fun with seeing how little we could get by on!!

    At any rate, I continue to look for ways to save money or make it go farther, whether it's couponing, gardening, eating at home, buying from secondhand stores, etc. I view it as a personal challenge. somehow i have to get the kids engaged too!


  40. English

    Goeiemorgen Rhonda. We have always economically lived. Never debts have and live confortabel that are the price which you recover there for, but how parent you become how more you will reflect to do it still differently. Recycelen of clothing e.g. this also for the milleu. Hubby has moored a vegetable garden with fruit trees. A clothesline. And 2 rain water barrels which I use much for the wax and to wash down the toilet. Hubby finds it sometimes what too far contracts itself that economy but of it appetite I nothing. He feels it, however, in z `n portemonaie. Thank you for all tips and go by I follow you. Groet of Jelly from the Netherlands.

  41. Hi Rhonda,
    I didn't start on a simple living change because of the economy but have been slowly (very slowly) moving towards it for years. I have always recycled, cooked from scratch and grown my own veges but I also shopped til I dropped at times and filled my house with stuff I didn't really need. Nowadays I only buy clothes that I need for work and things for the house that allow us to be healthier (a juicer) and more self -sufficient. I buy at least half my clothes from Vinnies and all my books either come from there or from the library.
    I have encouraged my teenage daughters to take responsibility for their spending as well, they both have part time jobs and I have found that they are much less likely to waste money if they have had to earn it for themselves.

  42. Am I committed for life...yes, I am. I can honestly say that my kids laughed at me...I refused aerosals in our home for the past several years. I recently went back to work and have been cooking and freezing dinners for him for several weeks. No take out, like there used to be, home made from scratch. Dinner out for us is usually only twice a year for special occasions, otherwise, from scratch only. No credit cards for the past few years. No cash, no purchase. Thrift store clothing, old stuff out, "new" stuff in. I also several ways to re-use dryer lint, lol. Thanks for asking Rhonda, Elaine from Texas

  43. Hi Rhonda Jean

    What an interesting post and comments. We have always waited until we have enough money before buying even essentials and hate to have any debt (we don't have any at the moment). We lived a more simple life than most people I know long before the recession and were never interested in gadgets, gizmos or cable TV. The economic situation hasn't affected us directly apart from decreasing our investments. I have always knitted, sewn and baked and my husband plants our garden every year. We like to take holidays and eat out occasionally but would never take on credit to do it which I think is utter madness. I've made a more concerted effort lately to simplify our lives and look forward to the day when I won't be working full-time and can devote more time to it. The state of the planet is, as far as I'm concerned, the main reason for doing this as well as personal satisfaction and the lack of stress from trying to keep up with such a fast moving world. This ethos seems to have rubbed off on my daughter as she makes a new home, and recycles, bakes and cooks more healthily from scratch. Thanks for giving us something to think about. Analysing why we do it makes us more determined to contintue.

  44. Rhonda, You Rock!!!!

    We can't turn the clocks back....we can improve our lifestyles every day...they are constantly evolving.

    I have "your" bread in the oven, soup and doggie dinner on the stove, am sewing the buttons on to a handknit for grandson #4 due on Monday, washing is blowing on the line, lemons and limes are growing in pots on the patio, greens and herbs in pots nearby, wearing a handknit scarf coz it's cool but not cold enough to turn a heater on, made a pretty fabric basket earlier today, enjoying hubby's music selections rather than the TV......go back?....NEVER...this is the simpler lifestyle I have been aching for always.

    Much gratitude and love, yes love, to you for your concern about the lifestyles of the hoi-poloi!!!:)

    Sue Caissy

  45. Hi Rhonda, I am in this for life it has become my life. I used to shop every day and for outings I would take the children to the latest and greatest shopping centres for entertainment.I now wonder how I got so sucked into that lifestyle. When it is suggested that I go shopping for a day out, I run the other way.

  46. Hello Rhonda,

    I grew up in a wealthy family and it never occured to me to be living more frugally and without as much 'stuff' until I had my daughter. Soon, all my other friends who were young mums were shuffling back off to work but i didn't want to leave my beautiful girl in the company of strangers all day, so my hubby and i decided to would stay at home and we would learn to budget.
    Thus began our journey and it has been the best thing that ever happened to us. As mid-20 year olds, we are swimming against the tide, but now that i know the self-confidence and contentment that come from making things yourself, learning to manage with less, and most importantly, having time to spend with those you love, there is no way i will go back to wasting money...i have found the key to 'the good life' :)

  47. Hi Rhonda,

    I am converting to frugal living step by step. And I don't think I will be going back to consumerism in the way I was. Frugalism gives so much rest in your head and live. It is a great joy to see my children loving gardening, playing with old boxes, making birthday presents for their friends and baking their own bread and pizza.
    Also for them it is an adventure.
    We are more a family now. We spend more time together and that is priceless.

  48. I've lived this way off and on since the 70's. Mostly on, except during some of life's turbulances (I guess those would qualify as life's kerfuffles -love that word!-). When my children were small I made my own yogurt, mayonaise, baby food, used cloth diapers for my young ones, recycled, refinished and reused furniture, etc. and tried to eat healthy. Like me, the process has matured depending on my family's needs. But I have recently learned to can fruits and veggies and begun to bake my own bread again. I've been fortunate to live most of my life near my Mother, who always had more time to do the canning and baking and so provided it for us. Now that she is older and not able to do so much, I am returning the favor and glad to be able to do so.
    Now that we are living in the country we have chickens for eggs (can't bring myself to process them for meat yet), we have a small lake full of fish that we eat occassionally and have started a compost pile to use in the future veggie garden (it was put off this year because we had to build a new chicken coop).
    My Mother taught me to sew when I was in elementary school so I've always sewn for the house and made clothes for myself and my family and quilted. I learned to knit a few years ago and have made all sorts of fun things. But, I don't have much time for these things right now and look forward to a time when I do-I really enjoy working with my hands.
    So, yes, I plan on continuing. DH will be retiring in about 2 years and me shortly after, so money will be tight still, but we will have more time to garden and do around the house.

  49. I try to be as frugal as possible -- not because I'm cheap but because I hate waste and our money is hard to come by so why spend more when I don't need to?? We grow most of our own food including a huge garden and our own beef, pork, and poultry. We are blessed as we live on a farm and have the capacity to raise the larger livestock.

    As Wendy stated I, too, try to make one change every month or so, do it until it is a habit and then try something else. We do all of the obvious things -- hang out laundry, raise our own food, watch the electricity consumption, etc. Every little thing helps.


  50. Rhonda, really enjoying your blog and your thought-provoking questions.

    My Beloved Husband and I are in this for the rest of our lives. We work together to make the necessary changes and then keep them up. We work together to find more economical, ecologically responsible solutions. We put in a garden the first year in our home and are working diligently to make it as productive as possible, as organically as possible. He never recycled/repurposed items much, but he is very open and willing to learn and do. This is a great step for him!

    Meanwhile as I am still employed full time, we are saving as much $ as we can while still obtaining the needed supplies to help us be more self sufficient in the future.

    Keep up the wonderful work, Rhonda. It's great to see the answers posted to your good question.

    And YES, how about a recipe for fairy cakes? They do look wonder. I miss the "button" to your recipes.

    Kathleen in IL (USA)

  51. Thanks Rhonda for your thoughts..as for me and hubby I think we will continue to live within our means and conserve, save and reuse..we've always done this so I don't think it will change much for us. And the older we get the less material needs we have.
    Now to encourage our children to simplify..

  52. I grew up on a hardscrabble farm and living simply seems natural to me. I flirted with living more extravagantly for a while, when I started earning more money -- it makes me anxious and feels empty to me. I can't imagine going back to consuming as a life style.

  53. I think most of the people in my rural Texas area have been living this way for so long, all our lives, that when we research how other people are cutting back, we wind up thinking "but I've been doing that all along".

    When my kids see people in huge houses with a brand new car every other year, I tend to point out that those people are probably drowning in debt with no hope in sight. They don't own a house, their house owns them. Even when the economy is "good".

  54. I was this way before the rest of the world had an economic downturn and will remain this way for life. It's just part of me! My biggest concern is for my adult and soon-to-be-adult children. Have they learned? Are they open? Do they have the tools to do things differently than the mainstream?

    Thanks for your inspiring blog. I will be making lemon curd one of these days!

  55. I'm in it for life.
    When you know better you do better, simple as that.

  56. My family are in the process of buliding a new home. We will have rain water tanks, solar panels, vegie gardens, fruit trees, chooks, worms and compost. This is a way of life for us, and while we live in the middle of the mcmansion suburbss, our home will be a little homestead in the midst of all. We will be mortgage free before I am 50, and will then ramp up our simple living to include working less outside the home. My childeren think it is normal to grow their own fruit & veg and collect eggs, their friends think it is a novelty. We eat dinner each night at the dining table and consume our home made home growen food.
    I am 'crunchy' and unapologetic :)If I can make my own, or make it simple I will. I want to walk slowly and enjoy my life, each day is a gift that I will not be able to savor again.

  57. to those USA readers... where do i look for the ingredients for Rhonda's bar soap? Not finding it in the craft section and several other spots I've looked. A little help please!!

  58. We, too, are on this path for life - and I have to say that I am quite enjoying it - - - life is simple, but rich and happy - and there is less pressure to constantly buy the next new thing (because there is no money to buy it!) It also feels right for the planet, and right for our kids to grow up understanding the concept of "enough" in a culture of excess. These issues will not change with the state of the economy.

    I have to admit that the only real pleasure that I look forward to having again one day is eating out with the family at restaurants! I miss that - as much for the uninterrupted family time as for the joy of having the night off!


  59. I know that even if I didn't have to, I would still live simply. I regularly find things that I can do to make my life more simpler, and well, down to earth. I like it this way I feel more industrious, satisfied that I have done something on my own without relying on the store. There's always room for improvement but compared to the way I lived just a few years ago, I've grown by leaps and bounds. I love your word-kerfuffle-fun!

  60. Rhonda,

    We live simply because we want to....at one time we had over 30,000.00 plus credit card debt and believe me that was the hardest thing to pay off. We still have a very hard time saving because we don't make very much but we have enough to pay..... our bills and eat....and have a little fun each month.

    I wish I was able to make a budget that we could stick to...we are going to try the envelope system again...we just can't find anything that works for us?

    I also try to stock-pile but that is sometimes hard if the sales don't match our pay check.

    I don't ever want to have large debts ever again...we do have a house payment and we are looking to buy a used "newer" car. ...even while you are trying to save "life" still happens.

    I thought our budget was on track until I had to go into the hospital with a kidney stone...that is when you are thrown for a loop:)

    Much Love and Great Post!!!



  61. It is good to hear everyones thoughs on this subject. We always lived simply and very frugally. Like others said, we keep emproving and refining our skills and adding new ones. This life is never dull. Our children grew up like this and are following the same lifestyle now that they are grown. I think this life is full of surprises and fun. Yes there is physical work...why go to a gym when you can get muscles working on projects for your family at home! We have time and money for fun and family and the things that are important to us in life. We have time to grow, enjoy, and smell the roses and pick them for a neighbor too! Our family would not change anything about this way of life except to do more and go even deeper in it. Jody

  62. Rhonda, the thing that gives me the greatest joy is not what we are doing in our household but what we can teach our young folk. I have "introduced" my daughters and daughters-in-law to sites such as yours and Simple Savings and it feels so good when I hear them swapping ideas and recipes. One of my d-in-law rang me the other day to tell me she had made sausage rolls "from scratch". Now this is a girl ,not so long ago,who thought things like sausage rolls only came in plastic packs..in cardboard boxes...from the grocery store.!

  63. We're slowly learning to be more frugal - but it has nothing to do with the "recession" and everything to do with personal hard times we've faced (which we continue to face). We're realizing new dreams (from beach condos to a small farmhouse) and working towards those new dreams. For us, we may begin buying more produce from locals than we do now and a few other small luxuries or entertaining at home, but we will never be able to spend the way we once did (or wanted to). Now, I couldn't imagine spending $80 on a pair of jeans...heck, spending more than 20 is hard for me! Same goes with other things!

  64. I ran across this quote today,

    "If all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves."
    -Calvin Coolidge

    and it occurred to me that it applies to people all over the world, not just here in the USA. Just think if we ALL did what we know to do!

  65. I'd like to think I'm committed to life, rather than living it one particular way over another. I'm glad you asked this question because balance is the hardest thing for humanity to maintain, yet it's vital to our survival.

    That's why I allow myself time for enjoying the excess and times for cutting back.

    I grew up in a forced impoverished background, so once I got hold of money, I felt it an obligation to finance my dreams. On the other hand I had a real phobia about money too. At times I didn't spend it when I should have - ie: replacing a car radiator before the head gasket blew.

    The only real way I learned to balance consumption, was to allow myself to spend in excess at times and cut back when warrantted.

    Money and consumption is what our society is made up of. If we don't understand that side of it, we'll always feel compelled into actions surrounding money. Things which are born out of desperation and necessity, won't always remain in a more forgiving environment

    When I spend in excess, I'm investing in public infrastructure for the future. When I'm saving, I'm investing in personal security.

    Each are very important roles and together, create a balance. The trick is to know when is enough so you still maintain control. It's hard to do when you abstain from spending all together, or spend beyond limitation.

    Balance ensures longevity, not willpower. It teaches us control in either extreme. :)

  66. Hi Rhonda Jean! I just had to comment and tell you how excited I am today! I was talking to a co-worker who is trying very hard to bring in "green" cleaning products to our hardware to offer to our customers. I told her I thought there would be a group of customers who would also like to find that we have the ingredients to make their own soaps and household cleansers. I told her I knew where to get some recipes for such things and I am here getting the ingredient lists together. May I say she was excited that I took an interest in helping her turn her aisles to a greener place to be.
    I also looked to see if the warehouse that we get our products from has some of the things that I knew we would need to add to our store for a greener community. I found we have Washing Soda! I ordered two boxes of it for myself and so that I could further "push" the store manager to let us bring these products in. I plan to make her some of the laundry soap so she can try it for herslf...then I know she will say yes.
    Just wanted to let you know we are making progress here! (I am in California, U.S.)

  67. Thanks you for your thoughts, everyone. I have loved reading these comments.

    Claudia, that is fabulous news! I hope it's a big hit.

  68. First, I want to thank you for providing this blog. I am relatively new to this- (about a month or two of following) and it is the only blog that I follow.

    I THINK I am at a point where I might be able to come back home to be a full-time homemaker again. We have worked hard to get our debt down to only our mortgage. But there is this fear of letting that income go and having faith that things will work out.

  69. Good Morning.
    I have yet to read any of the other comments however the question is a good on Rhonda. This is not a way of life for me...This is who I am.
    I have longed to gain skill upon skill and that is now gaining such wonderful ground in our goals and dreams and desires.
    One issue I think is an important one for me anyhow. I have overcome the use of the store as an emotional fix. YEP that's right . Frugality is one thing but dealing with issues that lead those to consume is another.
    shopping in the emote or the absence of the love or whatever that leaves that gaping wound that many fill up with spending and getting...well that is another.
    Nature arbores a vacuum It is evident where ever you gaze.
    Gardening has filled the place where I can go and be still. Heal the wounds and refresh myself. Those tired mommy days were often relieved at the store just wandering refreshing the exhaustion.
    I have set goals now. We are debt free except the house. We have set an emergency saving and now set for the future a few months worth of income. We also save for life ins on both of us.
    I wound never go back or want too. Years I longed to learn to back bread. When you begin to understand your worth in what your able to do it propels you onward. I really find great joy in feeding my family good things. Now I really do not want to even go to the store. It is like walking in a field of snakes. Why bother if I don't need to.

  70. This was, is, and always has been my way of life. Save and conserve and preserve.
    My husband and I will be married 34 years soon. We started out paying our way as we went through life. Don't borrow, if you can't afford it don't buy it as a way of life.
    We build our houses ourselves. Paid for them as we build them.
    Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an easy way but it definitely was worth it in the long run.
    We have never bought a brand new car or truck but managed to get where we were going.
    I have always had a garden and preserved our food. We raised animals and did without a lot of commercial products.
    And...I have enjoyed every step down a long and bumpy road, hills and valleys.
    Wouldn't have missed it for anything!
    Have a great weekend.

  71. Good Morning Rhonda Jean -
    We have always been pretty self-sufficient. We're both self-employed and have always lived a very rural lifestyle. For me, the biggest problem is deciding exactly how much to do - how much to prepare? Yes, we keep a pantry and we garden, but maybe we should grow ALL our own food....LOL! Debt is still an issue for us due to my husband's illness a few years ago, but otherwise we do very well with a great deal less that what most folks consider necessities. There are some things that just don't work well for me - I am not thrilled with homemade laundry soap and I don't make very good strawberry jam...but there are any other things that work extremely well that seem to make up the difference. We've always had this lifestyle, and I expect we probably always will, with modifications for age and state of the economy (read that, we'll do even more if/as the economy continues to spiral downward).

    Thank you for your blog, Rhonda Jean. I've been reading it daily for quite some time now. It is a nice, moderate and sane voice in wild & crazy times.

  72. For me living a thoughtless, consumerist lifestyle is boring. I grew up with that. Meanwhile I always desparately wanted to learn "skills" but my parents would have none of that!

    I am in what I have taken to calling Phase 2 frugality. I am no longer interested in doing the same things everyone else does only more cheaply or frugally. No, I want to do things altogether differently in simple, time honored ways. You also do so many of those things. There are great secrets in the old ways.

    For me, living simply is a moral imperative, a spiritual necessity. It is the basis for a natural, devotional, service oriented way of life that is those things in perpetuity. The up's and down's of the manmade, secondary economy are irrelevant.

    I treasure learning with my children and knowing that they will surpass my husband and me in their accomplishments and understanding in this area. Living simply is our service to the future.



Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.


Blogger Template by pipdig