Starting a more simple life

I received a comment on my last post from Kellylynn who wants to know how she can start living a more sustainable, simple life. This is part of her comment:
I'm 45 yrs.old. We are a one income family, have no savings, pantry's not stocked. Living pay-check-to-pay-check. We do own our home and have almost a 1/4 of an acre to work with. I long to help us live a sustainable, simple life. Comfortably prepped for growing old. But I feel so overwhelmed with where to even start. Feeling short on time and upset for not beginning so much earlier in life. Will your book(s) help with steps on where to start coming from zero? If so, which should I start with?

You start with NOT buying my books. Stop all spending. From now on buy only essential items. You should only spend on food and transport. If you absolutely need clothing or shoes, yes, but within reason.  That's all I'll say on money at the moment, I'll get back to it later when we discuss your budget.




Kellylynn, there are no set rules about starting or living your simple life. Every person and every family is unique.  I can give you some general suggestions but you must customise those suggestions to suit your circumstances and allow you to make a start that will be meaningful and relevant.  The best way is to start with what is urgent. That could be debt payments, learning how to create a budget, decluttering, organising your home, starting a garden or, in your case, house maintenance.  If you have spare cash, make sure your home is in good repair and if you have to replace part of the roof, find the cheapest materials you can, or look for recycled materials.

Home maintenance is an important part of simple life.  Generally our homes are about security, safety and a sense of familiarity and comfort but they're also our largest purchase so it's vital to look after them. If you do ongoing maintenance, a bit at a time, you don't get to the point of having to repair or replace. Some of us will live in our homes for many years and possible until the end, others will need their home to be in good repair because you may decide to sell and move elsewhere.



Then, make a list of the following ...
  • look at your family life and work out if you have specific needs you have to plan for
  • work out what is important to you
  • identify what you don't want to change as well as those things you're longing to change
  • identify a few easy things you can do now
You probably won't find one big change that will make a big difference.  It will be a series of small things.  And that's good because they're easier and your transition will be gradual instead of overwhelming.

On a daily basis, what you're trying to do is to modify and simplify your daily tasks. Try to make as much as you can at home - laundry liquid, soap, bread, jams, preserves, sauces, biscuits and cakes.  If you can do that, you'll not only save a lot of money, you'll also significantly reduce the preservatives, artificial additives and harmful chemicals you have on your home.

What does simple mean?



Other things to look at include:

Are you wasting too much food? Start menu planning, set up a stockpile, stop shopping so often, clean out your fridge and pantry and start from scratch. Shopping link here.  Stockpiling link.

Do you want to buy organic food and can't afford it? If you have a back yard, start setting up a vegetable garden. I shop for fresh and local over organic - it's fresher, it supports your local community and usually it's cheaper.  Food link.

Stop buying disposables. Start knitting or crocheting cotton dishcloths that can be washed and reused over and over again. Look on YouTube for videos showing how to knit.  This is the most simple kind of knitting and it doesn't really matter if you make a few mistakes when you start, your dishcloths will still be useable.

Expect your family to help. Teach the children how to cook and do certain chores, and expect them to be done every day. This teaches them that they're an important part of your family and not just special princes and princesses that have everything done for them.  Growing up knowing how to look after yourself is a gift, but they won't know that until much later.

You have to organise your money. You're in the fortunate position of owning your home. No mortgage, that's a massive bonus! Now you have to make the most of it.  Start by tracking what you spend. Here is an old post of mine about how to do that.  This is a post about changing your attitude to money. You should read it.  When you've tracked your money for a month and you're thinking about money in a different way, it's time to create a budget. Here is a link to show you how to do that.  Money is not the most important part of life but it's something that impacts a lot of what you do, so you have to know what you have, what you owe and what you can save. When you have control of your money, you'll gain an understanding of how to spend wisely and save for tomorrow and your future. I hope you'll be able to save some money and start putting it aside to build an emergency fund.

Go over all your bills, such as utility, phone, internet, insurance etc. and see if you can get a better deal.  This is something you can do every year or two and if you do your research well and put a polite proposal to the companies you deal with, you might be surprised at the savings you can make. Link to living on one income.



Simple living is as much about feeling comfortable, happiness, respect and kindness as it is about good bread, growing food and being productive. Don't try to be perfect, just do your best. If you can say that you did your best every day, you're on the right track. Nothing will change quickly, but keep going and when you look back, you'll notice changes, you'll realise you've been changed and you can prepare to go into the future, continuing to take these small, but significant, steps.

ADVICE AND SUPPORT NEEDED
Kellylynn is homeschooling two of her children and I know there are many homeschooling parents here. I hope you're able to offer her some support and advice about future resources and curriculum.  I'd also love our regular readers here to share the tips and tricks that help you live the way you do. If we can give Kellylynn useful advice, things that are tried and true and work on a daily basis, we'll have another family living the good life.

Kellylynn, I've added a lot of links here so you have something to explain each concept. I hope you have time to read them and start making your own plan.  I've been writing here for 11 years so I think I've covered just about every subject I could think of.  Just search the blog from the search bar if you want more reading.  I hope this gets you thinking about what your life can be. I wish you the very best and hope a bright new future is about to open up for you.


83 comments

  1. Food is often a good place to start. Look at everything on your shopping list - ask yourself if you really need it, or if you can make it yourself or replace it with something you already have. Make a menu plan based on what you have that needs using up, and what is in season - make a list based on that, and stick to it. That way you won't be discarding excess food.

    When you make something yourself that you used to buy, look out for ways to use it up in your meal plans. Good luck.

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    1. Jenny 54,
      Yes, I think our food budget is the most mismanaged area and will be our first to tackle.
      This is very helpful. Wrote these tips down. Thank you!

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  2. Rhonda's books are great, but don't buy them at the moment, as suggested above. Join the local library and borrow them (you may have to reserve them), if you cannot get to the library, ask if they have a mobile service. Or ask your friends if they can lend you one of her books. Good luck!

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    1. I put in a request at our library for both of Rhonda's books. They're supposed to let me know if they are purchased.

      Thank you! :-)

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  3. My husband and I were talking about how much we have changed over the past years. Little steps, one small change at a time has gradually lead us to think differently and act differently. 8 years down the line, we're changed people. One thing which has been very significant to us, is decluttering. We always have a hamper stand-by in the bedroom for things we can part with. Over the years it has been filled countless times, and as a total we have given away/sold half our posessions. It feels easier to breathe, plan, keep the house in order...and it has been rather fun actually. Blessings, Pam in Norway

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    1. Yes I agree,Pam.
      I have been decluttering for a few months now. For me, it seems like peeling an onion- going through each room in several layers- peeling it down.
      Very freeing!

      Thank you-
      Blessing,
      Kellylynn

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  4. Rhonda Jean just nails it every time. I love the fact that she actively discourages you from buying her book. I agree that small changes are the way forward. Less than 5 years ago we were a one income family, but I was living on an overdraft, with a moderate amount of debt on credit cards and spending way too much money on things I just didn't need. Bit by bit, and with the help of people like Rhonda Jean, I've managed to turn things around. Overdraft paid off, credit cards paid off and only used for online purchasing, then paid off every month and now living within my means, only buying things we really need. I am now working part-time, saving money every month and often finding there is still money at the end of the month. I have a smaller allotment on which to grow food, but it's closer to home and easier to manage, so more productive. You can do this, just start small and keep adding in small changes where you can. Wishing you the best of luck Kellylynn.

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    1. That's about were we're at -living on overdraft, with moderate amount of debt on credit cards. And now seeing the spending of way too much on things that aren't really needed.
      We're making changes and hope to turn things around as you have.
      Yes, starting small and adding in.

      Thank you so much,
      Kelllynn

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  5. I think mindset is one of the really important things- challenge your thinking and assumptions - just because you've always done something a particular way doesn't mean it can't be changed. Identify needs not wants, save for a need and buy the best quality you can afford and then cherish and maintain that item/ clothing etc. Find joy and peace in your own home and avoid consumer traps like shopping centres and magazines. Take your time and enjoy the process- good luck!

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    1. Yes, PennyP! Mindset.

      Love this advice.
      Thank you!

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  6. When an author actively encourages you not to just go and buy their book, you sit up and listen. This post is Rhonda at her best.

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    1. I completely agree, she is a treasure
      - Michelle

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  7. Love this post Rhonda.

    It brings back memories from when I first started living the simple life. I found your blog in 2007 and upon reading, it all started to make sense, and I have continued the journey to this day. The good news is we are now debt free, all it took was baby steps and putting things in place and here we are living the best life. This lifestyle will stay with me all my days, and I have passed it on to all who will listen, especially the next generation.

    So glad to hear you are still helping so many with their simple life journeys. Your advice is so valuable.

    xTania

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  8. Really enjoyed this post and Rhonda is spot on about looking at how you spend your money. I didn’t do that at first; I just focussed on getting my garden going and meal planning. But eventually it all comes together and gathers momentum. Other bloggers that I’ve found via Rhonda’s blog have also motivated me. Now I plan many parts of my life and set myself monthly and annual challenges, both financial and task related. It is amazing what you can achieve and so rewarding when you realise happiness is found at home and not from material possessions. Good luck and just start!

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  9. When I first found Rhonda's blog I read all of the posts on budgeting and debt reduction. Now that I'm older, (and debt free,) I am going through the retirement posts. It also helped me to check out Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover from the library, and to fill in all of the worksheets. I printed them out for free there. I also started listening to Suze Orman's Women and Money podcast. You start to see where most people are wasting money. In California, that's usually on car payments and eating out. In my case, I went car free for a year, and used public transportation and my bicycle. Seeing Rhonda's photos inspired me to learn to knit, and now I make so much of what I wear. I have several friends who have given me their extra yarn. I even sell what I make on Etsy. I also made Rhonda's soap, and that is what I now give to EVERYBODY as a gift. I also sell goat's milk soap on Etsy. Rhonda suggested it as a home based business, and it has really been enjoyable and profitable for me. There are all kind of changes that you can apply, and a treasure trove of information is right here. Even better, it's free.

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    1. Yes, a treasure trove, like you said. I'm going through posts as you did/do. VERY inspiring. I'm excited to learn and make changes!

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  10. Spot on Rhonda, wise words that will change your life. Most of my frugal mindset is about food or more importantly preventing food waste. Only buy the fresh produce you need for the week ahead, if that means buying 5 bananas, do it (we share half a banana every week day with our fruit salad bowls for breakfast) it truly makes a difference. Eating less meat is another great way to save money, start by adding more veggies to fill out the plates, over time you do get used to eating less meat. Read all you can on simple living, I read many blogs everyday that are all about simplifying your life and living frugally, it’s all there on line and it’s free. Thanks again Rhonda for continuing to write your blog, it’s all gold. Fi

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  11. Kellylynn, you have already taken the first step to simplicity by asking for help. That, alone, shows your desire to simplify. Living simply is the most wonderful feeling on a day-to-day basis. There is a feeling of calmness, knowing that you don't have to rush through your day but can work at your own pace to accomplish your goals. I agree with others that the first way to save is cutting down on groceries. The internet is full of less expensive dishes to get you started. Stock up on often used ingredients when they go on sale until you have a full pantry, then you just have to top it off to keep it stocked. With your yard that size, gardening is the ideal thing to help you with food costs. Having little ones to help can be a learning experience for all and will be an ideal lesson to start them out right on their life's journey. Small steps are best and Rhonda is the ideal teacher. Please keep us all posted as to how things are going with you. I have found over the years that this is a very loving and caring community.

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    1. Oh my goodness. Yes- ...a very loving and caring community"". I'm just blown away.

      I'm very much looking forward to having that calm day-to-day feeling.
      Took notes from your advice.
      Thank you so much,
      Kellylynn

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  12. Great post Rhonda. Good luck with all your efforts, Kellylynn, it will be worth it.

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  13. 'You start with NOT buying my books'.
    This quote is one of the many reasons you are a loved point of reference for me and others Rhonda. It is never all about you.
    I guess my comment is to start with one simple thing. Make a list of needs and order them in importance. Don't make a huge list, maybe 3 or 4 things. It could look like this;
    - Menu plan for a week.
    - List debts.
    - Declutter.
    - Plan a vegetable garden.
    If you chose the first one break it down into manageable parts. That could look like;
    - Stocktake what food items you do have.
    - Discard out of date products, tidy and streamline pantry.
    - List what items do you genuinely need to replace. Avoid
    convenience foods such as packaged sauces etc.
    - Menu plan simple meals for a week and put what items you
    need on your shopping list.
    - Grocery shop once with your list.
    If any of your meals can be double batched put one away in the freezer for busy nights.
    Google snowballing debt.
    With decluttering start with one cupboard like the linen. For me I would start with wardrobes to get an idea of wants and needs. Discard the wants!!!You Tube is a wealth of decluttering and organising videos.
    Your vegetable garden will support your pantry. Herbs are a great way to start. I have learnt to plant what we actually eat as opposed to what we may eat 😉
    Be kind to yourself and remember that small steps lead to a wonderful journey of contentment.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jamie! Printed this out to paste in my notebook.

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  14. I also think it important to have family on board. It is so much easier to have this support. So maybe an inclusive family meeting. If that is not possible read about how Rhonda started and Hanno came on board when he could see it working. That story always makes me smile.

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  15. A very good answer Rhonda. I started small & simply when I was still working & didn't have alot of time to devote to the change. Just very small steps, making my own cleaners, dishcloths, cooking from scratch etc When I gave up work I had more time to devote to it but less income so I really concentrated on reducing debt & not spending. I really enjoy making my own gifts so this has helped immensely. Just small steps to begin with & it all adds up in the end. Loving that you are blogging again Rhonda ... really missed your posts.

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    1. Yes, starting with small steps. I'm seeing that more clearly now.

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  16. I think the one important thing is to figure what is truly a want and need. Although there nothing wrong with want.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Yes, I'm seeing it so much about mindset and taking the small steps.

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  17. From recent experience, I would have to say that having a network of definitely reliable family or friends has to be right up there. Something to culture just like growing a healthy garden.
    I've been a convert to the simpler life for most of my life and achieved much on a usually small single income.
    I have 3 trades and 5 vocations, grew up in my father's workshop shed, spent most of my live living and working in a rural situation, so my skills are many and varied. Always could fix, repair or build it myself, be it inside or outside of the house or nut out a cost effective solution.
    For a female, I've always been as strong as an ox, lived and ate healthy and in recent years as an older person, felt pride in my accomplishments.
    Being a very independent and passionate person, I never felt the need for lots of close friends. Rather, I had a few whom I felt were important to me. But I knew lots of people also.
    However, late last year life threw a curved ball at me, something I was not prepared for and which has completely changed my life.
    I'm now almost totally dependent on others for every part of living, but still trying to live independently on my farm.
    Getting help is very hard in these modern times where most people don't have manual skills or are too busy in their own life to add more to their daily schedule.
    This is a time when you discover that the people you thought would be there for you, really aren't.
    So along with listing all the other things you need to live simply, note down friends or family you are definitely sure you can rely on in times of need, because you never know when that time might occur.

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    1. You're just fantastic Clissa. Chin up and march forward.

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    2. Clissa,
      Thank you for sharing this perspective. Very important.
      Praying lots of helpers rally in for you.

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  18. This is not meant to be critical but you don' have to have hand knit or crocheted dish cloths to live the simple life. I cannot make a usable dishcloth no matter how hard I have tried and felt guilty about it. Store bought dish cloths will work just fine!

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    1. I have cut up and edged old towels for this purpose. I have also cut up old flannel sheets and shirts and sewn two together. Works a treat.

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    2. Thank you for this Lana and Jane :-)

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  19. Hi Kellylynn, you can relax now because you have found Rhonda! My simple tip for you is to plant a small kitchen garden. As close to the back door or front door make a small garden bed. Think of the foods you like on your dinnerplate and plant some of those things. We have tomato, chilli, cucumber, and we just planted beetroot.This is a great start to your organic eating. Good luck, I am excited for you! Lisa x

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    1. I'm so excited about getting this started. Thank you so much!

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  20. I came to a more simple life because my life and work circumstances led me there. This blog was the first one I read and I continue to find inspiration here. There's a wealth of experience and ideas on the internet but I found it easier to just pick one thing and do that well before moving on to something else. Even now that I've returned to part-time work, and life is a lot busier, I have found that the simple living habits I've developed have become second nature and have "stuck". Meg:)

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    1. Looking forward to our small steps becoming habits that stick and develop a simpler life.

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  21. The single activity that started our simple living journey and managing our money instead of our money being in charge?

    Track every single penny. Every day. Create a list of your usual categories. Do a month end tally. Then decide if each expenditure was meaningful and worth it. This helped us change our view of money.

    Since you have some land, I suggest starting 1 small garden bed. Make a family plan with the children involved. What do they most love to eat that they would like to grow in the season you still have as fall takes hold? Just do 1 square metre. This can be a weekend family project. You can make it a science project, a math project. The children can do the numbers: count seeds, measure water, measure the harvest, tally each week......

    You can also make the money tracking a math project. Give the children each acategory to tally up. They will learn about money with you.

    Use shopping as a teaching tool: write a list, estimate the cost, put the money in the child's hand when it's time to pay the bill. They will see what it cost to buy it and receive the change back to count.

    There are many homemaker and simple living tools you can use to educate your children. And the bonus? They will learn about homemaking and managing life as well.

    Your full time job is money manager and household manager. 2 very important family roles. Your children are so lucky to have you with the full-time.

    And most of all, congratulations for making the decision to take this fork in the road. Simple living is such a blessing and the journey is priceless.

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    1. I love this so much.
      Printed your comment off to paste in my notebook.
      Thank you!!!

      Blessings,
      Kellylynn

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  22. I wantered to live a more sustainable life. We too owned our own home and were living off one wage. My husband had health issues so we decided I would keep working and he would look after our acerage with mine and the childrens help. I then came across Rhonda's Blog and read everything I could. I decided to start with making laundry liquid. To this day I still make my own laundry liquid following Rhonda's recipe. I then started making soap. I stuck to the simple soap recipe for years before branching out and making a whole range of different soaps. Home made dishcloths and unpaper towels were next. Then, as the changes became the new part of normal, I would add another skill. Baby steps was my mantra.

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  23. First, Rhonda, we've been on this course for some years now, and it still does me good to read your words. They are a great reminder and good reinforcement in a world that promotes quite the opposite.
    Second, Kellylynn, you reaching out it a fabulous first step. This blog has tons of info. and valuable insight. One question I try to ask myself is "Will I have to buy this again?" I try to minimize the number of things I have to purchase. Paper towels would be bought over and over - an old sheet torn into squares last a very long time (like knitted dishcloths) and they are used over and over. Wishing you every blessing on your journey and welcome aboard 😊

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  24. This is such a great post! I found Rhonda just as I was about to retire and have never looked back. So, it doesn't matter what age/stage you are at, this blog is gold.
    One of the first things I did (and still do) was to start with routines. My basic routine, every day, is:
    - Make the beds
    - Do the breakfast dishes (everyone makes their own brekkie in our home)
    - Empty the bins
    - Clean the toilet and bathroom
    - Sweep/vacuum the floors
    - What's for tea?
    I call this my foundation. Knowing that the foundation is done every single day means that the rest of the day is under control. I do have weekly/monthly/annual routines as well such as Fridays I wash the sheets, so Fridays become my day to dust and deeper clean the bedrooms, Saturday is my main baking day, so Saturday's I fill all the canisters for the week in the kitchen. I set aside an hour (or three or four!) for gardening/craft/whatever takes my fancy in the afternoons, and I have a little routine for the evenings as well. All of this helped me to overcome "overwhelm".
    Best of luck Kellylynn - enjoy the journey and visits Rhonda's site often!

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    1. I sure will, Gail!

      I love this advice you shared. Wrote down these tips in my notebook.
      Thank you!

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  25. I'm in tears.... Just blown away. From the bottom of my heart- Thank you so much, Rhonda Jean.
    And thank you to each and every one who commented with additional ideas, tips and encouragement.
    Please know the time you took to post and respond will not be a waste. I am going to go through everything (and links) thoroughly and take notes.

    Gold indeed! I am beyond excited. And I know my family will follow suit once I start implementing these changes and they begin to see the value and freedom.

    Now to get to work!

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU-

    Many 'simple life' blessings,
    Kellylynn

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    1. You are welcome, have fun!! Lx

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    2. Hi Kellylynn, I hope you're making plans and thinking about the changes you can make . There is a contact form in my side bar. When you have time, would you contact me please. Thanks.

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    3. Kellylnn, you've received such great info and encouragement from Rhonda and others about living simply. I whole heartedly agree with all of it. Rhonda mentioned that you also homeschool and are looking for information on future resources and curriculum. I thought I'd share some thoughts.

      We have 6 children and have always homeschooled. Four have graduated and I still have two that I homeschool, a 17 yr old and a 9 year old. All of my graduates have been able to go to colleges they wanted to and pursue their dreams - everything from going to a nationally ranked four year university to an acting conservatory in NYC. I don't say this to brag but to give you reference for the rest of what I'm going to say next.

      Don't get hung up on making sure you get THE best curriculum for your children. Truly, a library card, good discussion, a math curriculum that they understand, and an eagerness to learn is truly all a person needs. We do use other curriculum and have amassed quite a bit now that we've gone through almost all grade levels five times, but if I lost it all and had to start over, I would just utilize the library and get a math curriculum.

      When we do want curriculum I purchase it used and keep it for all the younger children to use. Then resell it when everyone that needs to use it has used it. I've been schooling for 20+ years and my nine year old will be using high school books that were bought when our oldest was in high school. Just because the publisher comes out with updated versions doesn't mean we have to update.

      I don't know where you live but in the US each state has an online K-12 program that's accessible to homeschoolers for free. You lose a lot of freedom when you go this route but its a good option for some families.

      Another tip is to trade teaching with friends. For many years I taught high school science classes for a couple of families and the other moms taught high school literature and history. We would spend one morning a week together and get all three classes done (the bulk of the work was done at home during the week). This was a huge help to all of us.

      I hope this helps. I'm excited for your journey!

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    4. Thank you for being excited with me for our new journey, Angi!

      Oh yes, This was very helpful. Printing out your comment for reference.
      Thank you so much!!

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  26. Menu planning is THE BEST way of saving money, hands down! Do a 6 or 8 week menu plan on excel or just in a book, to give you a variety of meals. This, in turn, will generate your shopping list, down to the last onion. You will be amazed at how much money you save as well as how much waste it prevents.
    If you have a budget of say $150pw and your menu generates spending of $125, use the other $25 to buy foods for your stockpile. Another way is to only purchase things that you regularly buy when they are on special and on those occasions that they are cheap, buy multiples. This is good for shampoo, sugar, flour, canned fruit etc.
    Talk amongst your friends, see if anyone has access to bulk purchases - flour, canned goods, sugar etc. I buy my flour from the flour mill shop outlet in 15kg bags. I buy sugar, brown and castor, in 12kg bags. I purchase my canned goods from the SPC outlet shop in cases of 12 or 24. You would be amazed at what is available and the savings available. Same with meat. I buy from an abattoir outlet, the savings are enormous. Some of these purchases require travel so, I limit them to once or twice a year. Look around, you could surprise yourself.
    Good luck Kellylynn.

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    1. This is gold! I need to research if there is a grocery outlet and/or any co-ops in our area.
      Thank you, Trudy!

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  27. In 2007 at age 47 I was in the same spot. Did not save any money, no retirement, etc....We found 3 acres very affordable and within a year were were on our 3 acre homestead. I did not go overboard as I purchased a repo 3 bedroom, two bath mobile home to go on the three acres. It was like new being only a couple years old. Someone must have had it on a second property as it was as if no one ever lived in it. I thought I was going to have to settle for something more used and we would have to do some work on it. Point is we were on our property in a home in a year. We did have a Conventional mortgage, but paid it off last year. Yes, in ten years which seems long but looking back it wasn't we paid it off and are now debt free. We also started a 401K at work in 2007 and it has grown nicely. It can be done if you put your mind to it and keep everything simple. I found Rhonda's blog back in 2007 we I was first starting out to make and have my own homestead and her blog has been inspiring. I am now 58, living in our home mortgage free. Cars are paid off also. I started shopping in bulk splitting the cost of the membership with a family member. We have added lot's of fruit trees and adding more each year. I also have a small fenced in garden. Fenced in to keep the chickens out, hahahaha, they will go over the fence if they so desire so the things they like have a screen or cage over them. Just start and keep following blogs like Rhonda's to be inspired. As far as books go I find most of my books at thrift stores or ebay. I have not purchased Rhonda's book yet but will when I can find it used. I have a keep a running list of books I want and keep an eye on ebay, etc....We now one wall that my husband converted into bookshelves for all the books. I also have dairy goats so we have a nice collection of farm, homestead, country living, animal care, medical care, gardening, etc....I found one thrift store that I find great books at which are one dollar for hardcover and 50 cent for paperback. I have gooten lot's of like new expensive books for a buck. Just wanted to share my story so you know it is not to late. Just start and keep your dream board up, with pics on it and it will happen. I actually had a journal I would scribble wants and desires in and tape pics in. Good Luck and Best Wishes. Happy Homesteading

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Barbara! This is very inspiring and encouraging!
      I love the idea of having a journal to scribble wants/desires and tape pics in. I think that were my notebook is becoming.

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  28. We utilize the Connections learning program. You have all the benefits of professional teachers while your children learn at home. Because our Connections school is a charter academy, there is no out of pocket cost to our family. Here's a link: https://www.connectionsacademy.com/

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    1. I'll check out that link, Josephine's Girl. Thank you!

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  29. Hi Kellylynn, the best advice my parents gave me was if you need to make a purchase, save for it and buy the best quality you can afford, I still use my mums 1968 vintage Elna sewing machine over a 1990"s other brand I purchased, my Kenwood chef mixer was a wedding present from my parents in 1982, it still works perfectly, sadly we live in an age where we are seduced by the faceless marketing guru's who tell us to buy buy buy because we MUST have their product now, I am no longer seduced by this hype, I dont have blu ray, just an old dvd player which does its job. Question each purchase, dont be put off by anyone who questions why you dont have the latest appliance etc, you live your life for you and your family, one step at a time, remember each day is a new day and homeschooling your children in a simple life will teach them them best lessons for their futures, that they dont have to be mass consumers to be happy, real happiness is watching the sun rise, kindest regards for your journey, Kat

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    1. You're so right. Yes and Yes to everything you said. I couldn't agree more.
      Thank you for these reminders and advice.

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  30. Thrilled to see another convert to a simpler lifestyle. I agree, that starting with small easy steps is the way to go. eg: Plant up a tub with green onions or herbs near the kitchen door. Direct deposit part of the pay check into a Retirement Savings plan or an emergency account. Plan and do any needed early prep for what you are going to cook for dinner that night,right after you have cleared up the kitchen from breakfast. Plant a lemon tree in you garden. Aloha, Stella

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  31. I love this post too Rhonda and appreciate you taking the time to address such an important issue again. I will heed your words for my own life as I try to make some of these changes because of a desire to be home more, and "close the gate" as you say:)

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  32. Things that have really helped me as a mum of two young girls have been double batch at least two meals a week so there is always something in the freezer (nothing fancy but nourishing and flexible so uses up all of the veg that looks a bit sad in the crisper like spag bol sauce, rissoles, chicken pies etc) for dinner on the really busy days, utilize 'free' community resources like the library, thrift shops and recycling depot for needed items and join any facebook buy sell swap pages..you will be amazed what people will give away because they just want rid from their homes..i just got two second have worm farms for free-one even with the worms off my local buy sell swap. Time is the most precious commodity we have and good health of course. If you have the time to source second hand, plant a small veggie patch and mend and maintain what you already own you are part way there. If you can borrow Rhonda's books from the library and read through and make notes of the really important pages relevant to you that will give you a framework to make some simple changes. Start really small and build up the changes over time. And stop yourself everytime you are about to buy something-even food- and ask yourself 'Do i really need this?' and 'can i make it myself'...if you have the time you can bake simple bread, mend clothes and make home made cleaners, gifts and items often yourself. And just know there is a whole online world ready to support your changes and offer their advice and experience..one of the benefits of this digital age

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    1. Thank you for sharing these great tips. I added them to my notebook.

      I really love the idea of double batching at least two meals a week, so there's always something in the freezer!

      Thanks again,
      Kellylynn

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  33. Rhonda l was absolutely thrilled to read your first comment....do not buy my book. I read lots of budgeting info and so often the people who ask for help ask as the very first question...If I buy your book or buy a magic mix or such. When the true answer is to STOP spending. Such good sensible advice. I love this blog

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    1. It's just common sense but it seems like such a difficult thing to stop spending. When people do turn their lives around, they look back and can't believe how silly they were.

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    2. I'm finding it to be, as I look back even now, silly -and painful.
      Sometimes anger at yourself can be a great motivator. :-)

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  34. I think Rhonda and commenters have just about said it all! One thing I did when I started my simple living journey was to take an old exercise book and write down money saving ideas and things I wanted to try eg: put a bucket of water under the shower while the water heats up and use that water on a different fruit tree every day, have 2 car-free days per week, cost out making homemade organic bread vs store bought etc...

    I gradually worked my way through most of those ideas and eventually lots of great things become habits you don't even think about. Go for it and good luck!

    Madeleine

    PS another thing that really helped was if I wanted to buy something - a magazine, a drink or chocolate etc was to work out how much it would cost if I did it every week by multiplying the cost by 52. Usually the amount was large enough to put me off, and all those 'small' purchases really do add up.

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    1. Thank you so much, Madeleine!
      Love that last bit too. That will put things in perspective!

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  35. I agree with the stopping of spending, so much of what we do for entertainment costs money and takes us out and about. Stopping spending forces us to slow down and become more creative. I really suggest borrowing the Art Of Frugal Hedonism. Its such a beautiful book about finding the joy in the simple and ordinary things. Slowing down to have a cuppa whilst savouring the warm sun on your back, taking the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Slowing down helps us to stop and think and to get out of the habit of constantly doing more and more. It gives us space to think, reflect, make a plan and move forward with confidence.

    Also celebrate each small thing you do. Make something new from scratch? Be proud of yourself! Make a delicious loaf of bread - How great! Buy a couple of extra kgs of flour/sugar/whatever for your stock pile because its on a good special? Well done you! It feels great to save money and know what you need is on hand. Simple living is not a race, it is a progression of small changes that slowly add up to a total change in lifestyle, which looks different for each and everyone of us.

    Know you have a whole community of simple living folk right here, cheering you on. If we can do it, you can too. Best wishes going forward, you have got this.

    xx

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    1. "Slowing down to have a cuppa whilst savouring the warm sun on your back, taking the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Slowing down helps us to stop and think and to get out of the habit of constantly doing more and more. It gives us space to think, reflect, make a plan and move forward with confidence."

      "Simple living is not a race, it is a progression of small changes that slowly add up to a total change in lifestyle, which looks different for each and everyone of us."

      LOVE! This takes my breath away! Printed it out.

      Thank you so much X

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  36. I'm agree with what Angi said above about homeschooling - a library card gets you through 90% of learning. If you've got internet access there's also a wealth of knowledge out there. We've enjoyed Khan Academy for math, but they're branching out into so many different subjects.I'm excited to see where they go next. As a family, we're pretty unschooly, and most of us are big readers. I've found AmblesideOnline to be a great curriculum to use as a springboard, use as much or as little as you want. We use it mostly for read-alouds and history. My kids are 13, 14, and 17, but we've used both those sites in one way or another all seven years of this great homeschooling experiment! Also, if you're in the US, you can find local groups through the state homeschool websites or search Facebook for local groups. I've found mega good deals and swaps with other homeschooling families, as they grew out of books and we were growing into them. It was a good place to find folks who could swap teaching, too. We've just moved from Virginia to Oregon, so we're trying to hook up with local folks. It's sure easier once the weather changes, and we can do park days!

    Like everything, step by step. Add one thing at a time until it becomes a routine (or a foundation - that's genius!). It took me years to learn new things that made my life easier and my finances more stable because I was undoing years of routines that weren't helping me. Have a great week!

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    1. We use AO as a springboard too! The library is such a HUGE blessing to us. Even bigger blessing is that's it's in our backyard. Literally over the fence. We take full advantage of it and it's resources. I'm so thankful.

      Virginia to Oregon! Wow! Hope you find great folks to connect with there. There must be so much to explore.

      "Step by step" -Yes!
      Thanks so much!

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  37. With respect to homeschooling frugally--it can be done in many ways. You need to be proactive in looking around to see what is available in your county or state. For example, here in FL kids can do Virtual School online, which is free. Some classes require the kids to be online for "live" lectures at specific times while others are more flexible and can be done at the student's pace. Check to see if your state has something similar. An added bonus--high school students can do dual enrollment courses through the virtual school, which means they get credit for college courses. AP classes can also be done online and are a good way to earn college credit. A local homeschool co-op here has a huge used book sale (all books, not just curriculum) once a year and then they also host a used curriculum sale, where members can set up a table and sell their used curriculum. I've found some fantastic deals this way. I've also had some good luck with ebay. In all these cases, however, you need to do your research and know what the curriculum costs new and what it should include, so you know if it's actually a good deal. I am in the happy place of being able to use my older child's curriculum for my younger child, so the only things I need to buy for him are consumables (like math workbooks). After he's done with a grade then I'll be able to sell the curriculum he's finished with and put that $$ toward new curriculum for my older child, which will help on costs. There are also some programs you can use online for free. Two I know of are Easy Peasy All-in-One https://allinonehomeschool.com/second-2/ and Ambleside Online http://www.amblesideonline.org/. Lots of books can be gotten through your local library, just remember to put in requests ahead of time so the texts you need are available when you need them.

    Good luck!

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  38. This is a great post with so much information. A quarter acre can be very productive, I would start a small garden and keep extending it as you learn more. Get the kids involved. You could add chickens eventually too. Small steps are important so you don't over commit.

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    1. Hi Liz! I rediscovered you this morning and have added your link to my sidebar. How you're thriving. xx

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  39. Kellylynn, Another thing you can do to put purchases into perspective:

    Take your total household income and divide it by the number of hours spent earning it. If your partner spends 50h/week preparing/commuting/working then divide that total income by 100. You are working full time at home managing the budget and life for your family.

    I'll use round numbers. If income is $60k and the worked hours is 50, thus 100, the total hours worked each year is 5200. Thus the hourly earning is $11.54

    As you consider a purchase, consider how many hours you work to earn that purchase.

    For someone who likes a $5 coffee on the way to work every day, this would result in 112.7hours worked JUST to buy the coffee!!!

    It really adds a new perspective to expenditures.

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  40. Sorry that this is a bit of a late contribution...
    I agree with Fiona: reducing the amount of meat you eat is a big money saver,and it encourages variety and creativity in the family diet. You can bulk out casseroles, soups, mince dishes and the like with nutritious lentils and other legumes, and explore vegetarian cuisine.
    Keep an eye on your iron levels though!
    Since the start of the year, we have cut down to two or three red meat meals a week, some fish or chicken on two other days and vegetarian for two days of the week.
    Our teenage daughter was recently found to have a severe iron deficiency, and the GP advised that she should eat more red meat. The rest of us are OK, and obviously there are many people who manage to get all their nutritional needs met without consuming any meat.
    I guess the message is that everyone's needs are different (and that I need to find out more about 'proper' vegetarian cooking!)
    It's all a great learning process though, and very empowering to develop the skills and knowledge to live within your means. Living by this approach is a great gift for the kids, I think.
    So nice to have a supportive online community to share ideas and encouragement... good luck and thank you to Rhonda and everyone :)

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