Winter Arrangements

This year has been one immense roller coaster ride. Just one year ago, a few weeks from now, I made the decision to remake the world around me.

I realized that the world I’d created for myself no longer suited the person I was becoming. The last reason for the life I’d chosen was leaving. It was as if I was dying.

Did I want to “die,” to just fade away into that dark night, or did I want to embark upon another adventure?

The thing about life is that it’s about change. People change. Times change. It’s the ones that remain static, who hold onto the past with clenched fists that grow old and cold and miserable.

My life was changing. I decided to roll with those changes by exploring an aspect of myself that I’d never allowed myself to explore.

I decided to give myself permission to spoil myself, and to have fun while I was doing it.

This past spring it occurred to me that if I invested in a large enough air conditioner, that I would save money in the long run. I could cool my home with a single unit instead of the two air conditioners I owned. I bought one on sale and, sure enough, it did. That air conditioner paid for itself in a single summer season through lower energy bills.

But winter is coming, and winter is when my energy bills are the highest. I had shaved over $50 a month off of my energy bills by investing in a new air conditioner. Could I do something similar with my heating?

I looked around and discovered that there are portable quartz heaters that are rated to heat a space of up to 1,800 square foot. My house is only 500 square feet. They were still on sale due to summer, so I decided to buy one as an experiment. If anything, it will allow me to delay turning on my baseboard heaters. Since those heaters jump my electric bill $100 or more a month every winter season, I decided that it was worth a test.

The heater I purchased.

The heater arrived. I rearranged my living room so that I could place it in a spot where the air would blow towards my kitchen and bedroom. I will let you know what happens when the bills begin to arrive.

View from the front door.
View from the kitchen.
It looks so tranquil!

Have I shown you what my bedroom looks like? I can’t remember so while I’m sharing a photo of the newly rearranged living room, I’m including a photo of my bedroom as well.

I acquired my dream bed.
Another angle of my bedroom.
My bedroom at night. I feel like a Queen when I go to bed now!
The shelf behind the door.

It’s amazing to think that my home has changed so much. Here is an old photo for comparison.

Living room, 2018. The kid had the bedroom so no photos of that, I’m afraid.
Another angle of my living room/bedroom area.

Over all, the changes are immensely positive. Not only does my home suit the person I’m becoming better, I feel happier when I’m at home.

Have you ever decided to remake your world? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Do We Need to Stockpile?

If I feel insecure, I borderline hoard.

I know why I do this. My family refused to toss anything if they could remotely imagine a use for it, and shortly after I entered adulthood I ended up living on less money than even I find comfortable (and I don’t need much to be comfortable).

I suspect that I’m not alone in my tendency to stockpile items I feel I may need. Since the start of COVID, I’ve watched everyone (literally) begin to lay in large supplies of at least one thing they fear might run out. For some it is food. Others collect money. Bathroom tissue, sanitary napkins, and pet food are other common items being collected.

But do we really need to stockpile, even now?

Sure, in a worst-case scenario we might see some empty shelves in the stores, but in my area at least, there is always a store or two in town that hasn’t ran out of what you need.

And even if we can’t find what we want/need at that moment, would it kill us to make do with something else until the shelves were restocked? Would it kill us to switch brands for a few days, or try something new?

And when does it go from stockpiling “just in case” to actual hoarding?

I ask because, despite the fact that I had to discard a curbie’s worth of expired food that I acquired at the beginning of the COVID era, I am still being encouraged by friends and family to stockpile food. I should start a garden, learn to “can,” freeze, and dehydrate. I need to buy a carload of bathroom tissue. Don’t forget the cleaning supplies!

I am considered reckless for not stocking up, despite the fact that I don’t eat enough to justify the amount of food I purchase on a normal basis.

How Much is Enough?

Seriously, folks–how much food does one person need?

And it’s not just food I’m discussing. How much bathroom tissue, notebook paper, clothing, and cleaning supplies is a reasonable amount to keep on hand?

When do we look around and say enough with the stockpiling?

What is your opinion on the subject? Do you believe that it is wise to stockpile, especially in the COVID age? Why or why not? If you have stocked up, what items have you focused on? Do you focus upon consumables or have you began to include durable “disaster” goods like generators, candles, batteries, chargers, and so forth in your supplies?

What is your logic for this?

Do you feel that you have enough of certain items or do you feel the need to acquire more?

While there are right or wrong answers to the question of stockpiling, I would really love to hear your opinions on the subject. I have wrestled with the dilemma of stockpiling for decades and, as I move forward into this new era of solitary living, I could use your advice.

Please help. If you have any thoughts or advice to share, would you kindly take a moment to drop them in the comment box at the end of this post? If you know of someone who stockpiles (or refuses to), would you mind asking them to share their opinions on the subject?

Thank you so much, you are awesome!

Hugs, Annie

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Are You Caught in a Monkey Trap?

If a monkey discovers a treat in a gourd, it will reach in, grasp it, and refuse to let go even if it cannot pull the treat-filled fist back out of the hole.

It’s a common way of trapping them, I gather.

Humans are prone to making the exact same mistake. We grasp onto things that do not serve us, to the point where it traps us into situations that make us miserable.

Part of that is due to habit and identity. For instance, I spent so many years living on as little money as I could that I had problems breaking myself out of that mindset when it was time to move on.

Another part could be societal programming. We hold on to things like clothes, furniture, food, and possessions because society tells us that it is horribly wasteful and bad for the environment to just toss that shit and move on. We’ll tell ourselves that we’re going to find someone to pass the items onto or place them in a donation bin but we never get around to it–and when we do, we ignore the cognitive dissonance of handing off the problem of “too much stuff” to someone else.

There are several reasons we could be holding onto something that doesn’t suit us. We could have been taught that divorce is wrong so we stay with an abusive mate. We may have heard that only sluts and “bad girls” wear cosmetics and actively dress in a certain manner.

Sometimes, we simply lack the courage to experiment. While we tend to experiment routinely while young, time can lock us into habits that we hesitate to change. “Why fix it if it’s not broke?”

There is a danger to this. If we refuse to change, to evolve with the times, we can become old and bitter before our time. If you’ve ever had a conversation with an elder who insisted upon complaining about technology, shifting societal mores, “kids these days,” and so forth, pay attention.

That is your future if refuse to let go and embrace change.

Monkey traps can sneak up on you. That outfit you wore when you were twelve. The furniture that belonged to your dead relative. The hairstyle you haven’t changed since high school. The types of movies you watch. The books you read. The places you go. The thoughts you think.

When was the last time you mixed it up, made an effort to do things in a different way? Have you ever looked around and realized that you keep the things that you keep and use the things that you use out of habit?

Did you decide to do things differently? What happened? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Life is Short. Wear the Heels

Another friend died today.

I lost count of the dead some time ago; I see no point in keeping track these days. It’s too depressing.

There is a light within the darkness, however. With every single death, I am reminded that I am still living.

I am also reminded that my days are numbered. Tomorrow, ten years from now…at some point in the future my name will be the one in the obituary column.

I could very well die tomorrow. I could catch COVID, get hit by a bus, disappear down a massive pothole–anything is possible these days.

Because of this reality I’ve started to ask myself:

“What would I do today if I knew I would die tomorrow?”

Annienygma

If the answer won’t create negative repercussions in the event I don’t die, I do it.

For instance, I have always adored high heels. I was the little girl who raced around the school playground in stilettos. My parents would shake their heads in bemusement as I would allot a portion of my “back-to-school” allowance for a new pair of the tallest heels I could find.

As I blossomed into womanhood, bemusement turned to scorn. “Good girls don’t wear heels.” “You look like a slut.” “Wear something practical!

I stopped wearing heels.

I still loved them. Even as I pared down my possessions to the bare minimum over this past decade, I held on (and continued to collect) my favorite footwear.

I would don my beauties at night when the kid was asleep. I would wear them to clean my house or just to kick back and admire them.

I felt so beautiful with heels on my feet, even if I no longer dared to wear them in public.

But I might die tomorrow.

Do I really want to die with a collection of unworn shoes?

No.

What does it matter if the world disapproves in an age where Life is uncertain?

I have now began to wear my heels. I have began to toss the “practical” footwear I detest. While I’ve kept a couple of pairs out of necessity (steel toed boots for work), bit by bit I’m eliminating the shoes I wore due to propriety.

We could die tomorrow.

Let’s enjoy today.

Wear the heels. Use the dishes. Bring out the fancy towels! Enjoy that expensive outfit you stuffed in your closet for an “important” occasion.

Do you really want to die without using the things you want to use or wearing the clothes you want to wear? Do you want to die without having done the things you’d love to do but don’t?

What are you saving it for? Your funeral?

What do you have that you love but never use? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Cheap Thrills

After months of waiting until our schedules matched up, my friend Lady M and I finally went shopping.

It’s a thing with us; we probably enjoy the anticipation as much as the shopping trip but first we discuss it, then we talk schedules. When we both have a day off together, we excitedly decide which town to hit.

We are quite serious when it comes to thrift shopping.

We both decided to sleep in today so we only hit two thrift stores and a flea market but we made every moment count.

Even when we don’t buy we have fun just looking.

Lady M’s husband always laughs as we return with our purchases. He hates to shop, so I suspect that he’s relieved that his wife has a shopping buddy. Today he told me about a yard sale he’d spotted while we were gone. They were selling laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies for good prices, among other things. I checked them out after I left and sure enough, they had some good deals. I picked up a couple of items before I headed home.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun. Sometimes Lady M and I never spend a penny but we always have a blast.

Do you have a buddy that you like to walk the cheap side with? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The Art of Evolution

When the economy tanked in 2009, I found myself laid off with bills to pay and a child to support.

Instead of becoming bitter at the fact that the world was changing, I evolved instead.

I threw all of my energy into a free blog I’d created to toy with, mastered the fledgling online-publishing field, then I wrote and published my very first book.

When it became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to afford to continue living in the house I rented, instead of fighting the inevitable I evolved again. I cast about for cheaper housing, traded for an older mobile home, and settled into a life where I would continue to evolve for some time.

I realized that, by helping others help themselves, that I could help myself achieve my goal of being a stay-at-home single mother. To better facilitate the process, I shifted my spending patterns, cutting my expenses down to a level I’d not anticipated.

I didn’t do it all at once; the evolution from Average American to Minimalist Frugalista was a slow process. I evolved by making one small, single change, allowing myself to grow comfortable with that change, then moving on to the next item of transformation.

By evolving, I turned a situation that was considered disastrous by many into an opportunity to achieve a dream. I thrived where many struggled simply because I adapted to the situation.

We are now facing a similar era of change. Covid has upended our daily lives. People are dropping dead around us. Employers are severely understaffed, and childcare is not only dangerous, it’s prohibitively expensive if you have access to it.

If you attempt to maintain your status quo, the chances are high that it won’t work out so well. But if you allow yourself to roll with the changes, to evolve, then you can come out on top of the situation.

Remember:

How can you evolve to better prepare for the future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The Power of Programming

One day each week I take some time to decompress. I plop down on the couch, turn on a relaxing YouTube video for background music, and I just think.

My thoughts tend to be rather random, but this week my eyes strayed around my living room. I looked at my home in amazement. In less than a year, this place has been completely transformed. I went from sleeping on the floor, using a tiny gifted television and a host of thrifted and gifted items to owning a brand new, large screen television, a new futon, and other items. With the exception of the coffee table that has been in my life since childhood, many items around me are new and have been purchased by me, for me.

I have a bedroom now. I not only have a bedroom, I have a beautiful canopy bed and other items that give me so much pleasure every single time I lay down to sleep at night. When I wake up, I take a moment to revel in how luxurious I feel.

I even own a brand new car. I could barely imagine owning a car a year ago today, much less a brand new one.

How did I do this? I asked myself in wonder as I looked around. How did I go from living on so little to the life I live today?

I realized that the changes in my life began after I gave myself permission to spend money on things that I enjoy. It wasn’t until I knew that my youngest daughter was moving out that I’d felt safe enough to actually spend money on me.

Why?

I journeyed back in time. When I was a child, my parents had more than enough money during my early years. It wasn’t until after my father lost his leg that we began to struggle financially. Before that, I didn’t even realize that money was a thing. We’d owned apartment buildings, a newer car; we’d even owned a farm in the country.

Had that been why I was so hesitant to spend money on myself?

While that seemed like part of the answer I realized that it wasn’t the entire story. After high school I’d taken a job, bought a newer vehicle, and while I wasn’t wealthy, I had enough money to buy the things I needed–if not everything that I wanted. I routinely treated myself to road trips, meals out, and even nice clothes back then.

To be honest, back when I was in high school and shortly after, I wouldn’t have been caught out in public wearing anything less but a nice shirt or blouse, quality pants (I preferred slacks), and ballet flats. That’s a big difference compared to just a year ago today.

But I became pregnant at the age of 19. I was unmarried, and to this day I can recall the tears as I spewed hate upon myself. I was a horrible person. I was a slut. I deserved not just to die, but for horrible things to happen to me because I was a horrible person.

My life began to spiral after that. People around me fed into my self-hate by telling me that the only future I could hope for was to be a “welfare mom.” No one would want to bother with “damaged goods.”

I was nothing and I did it all to myself.

Over the years I’ve rarely looked back at that time because it was too painful, but this time I persisted. I had went from living a comfortable (if not wealthy) life to painful, struggling poverty during the course of that pregnancy.

And I didn’t truly begin to pull myself out of that until shortly before my youngest turned 18.

Oh, I had good times over the years, but even when times were really good I felt guilt every time I treated myself to something nice, to the point where I didn’t treat myself at all unless I thought that treat would benefit us financially. I bought books because they could help me learn how to improve myself. I invested in computers because through computers I made our living.

I wouldn’t even purchase new underthings unless my current ones were completely worn out, and many times I would continue to make do until the items were totally useless.

I realized that during that time of emotional duress, that time when I spewed self-hate upon myself, that I had programmed my subconscious mind to believe that I didn’t deserve to have nicer things.

Perhaps that is why, when I would fill my house with things I loved, something would always happen that turned my life to shit.

I almost didn’t buy the car because of that programming. During the negotiations, I stepped outside to look at it, and I heard that whisper in my mind:

Who am I to even think of buying a brand-new car? There are much more sensible ways to spend your money! This is stupid, frivolous…go home before you do something stupid. This isn’t you.

But I knew that it was a logical choice. It was well within my budget and met every criteria for the purchase of a vehicle that the experts lay out. The cost (even with interest and that warranty plan included) was significantly less than my annual income. The payment I’d agreed to was beneath what even the experts agreed was acceptable. It had everything I’d ever hoped for in a vehicle down to the color and I knew that it would provide not only reliable transportation moving forward, but provide me an immense amount of pleasure as it did so.

The turning point wasn’t simply logic, however. The turning point was when I asked myself why not? Why not own a brand-new vehicle, if it met my needs and desires? Why not enjoy having the ability to drive to work in a car that gave me a feeling of pride? Didn’t I deserve to treat myself to something that was not only practical, but beautiful as well?

While I have no regrets about the life I have lived, I now wonder if I deliberately denied myself nice things because I had programmed myself to believe that I didn’t deserve them.

If that is the case, are there others out there doing the same thing?

Have you ever looked at something you wanted and told yourself that you didn’t deserve it? Do you live with things around you that fail to make you happy yet you refuse to change them?

Has there ever been a point in your life where you hated yourself so much that perhaps you, too, have programmed your mind to believe that you only deserve to live so well, but no better?

If so, please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Facing The Frugality Trap

Frugality is the art of resource conservation. In the financial arena, it’s the art of reducing expenditures in areas you don’t care about so that you can allot the savings to areas of your life that you do care about.

In our society, however, once we become labeled as “frugal,” people tend to lose their minds if you spend money for anything other than the basics. Frugality is lumped together with “tightwad,” “cheapskate,” and other derogatory terms to the point where people cannot conceive of the fact that a frugal person can spend money and will willingly spend in the areas of their life that they deem important.

I’ve spent the last few decades living an extremely frugal life. My goal was to work at a physical job as little as possible in order to spend as much time as I could being a mom to my children. In order to fulfill that objective, I reduced all of my expenditures to an extreme degree. About the only thing I would allow myself to spend on was on the computers and devices that allowed me to work from home and generate enough money to meet our living expenses.

Very few people noticed that fact. I didn’t advertise it, and since I kept the items I purchased for several years it slipped beneath the radar for most of my physical acquaintances.

My life has changed now. My children are now grown so I find myself in the position where I can work away from home as much as I desire in order to attain my new goal of a comfortable retirement, or at least a comfortable life until Covid or some other thing decides to end my time in this world.

In order to achieve my goal I wanted to maintain a simple existence, minimizing the amount of mental overhead and physical clutter while having the ability to travel with a minimum of fuss wherever I wanted to go. While my town is eminently walkable, I found I did not want to invest the time it would take to walk to the type of jobs I had decided to work. I wanted the monotony and security of a factory job. It would have taken several hours out of my day to walk to and from those positions since the public transportation options available in my area are riddled with imperfections.

I needed a reliable vehicle. Before I seriously began to shop for a vehicle to meet my need, my daughter offered me her old car. She had decided not to take it with her when she moved to California and it met my immediate needs, so I accepted her offer and purchased the vehicle.

Being an older vehicle (22 years old), I knew that, in time, that car would need to go to the shop for repairs. In order to avoid walking to work, I needed to acquire a secondary vehicle as a backup.

I did not want the headache of maintaining a second vehicle. Not only do cars need to be driven regularly in order to avoid falling into disrepair from disuse, they require extra space to park them along with the myriad needs that all vehicles require.

I prefer simple.

I realized that if I invested the money in a brand new vehicle with a very good warranty plan that I could limit myself to owning a single vehicle. If I arranged for said vehicle to have a “loaner” plan, I would be able to meet all of my transportation needs without issue in the event that my vehicle needed to be in the shop overnight, an essential need since that was the problem I wanted to solve.

For months, nothing stood out. Every vehicle I investigated lacked something on my mental checklist. If I was going to spend such a large amount of money on an item that would depreciate in value, I wanted to spend that money on a vehicle that would meet all of my needs. This vehicle needed to be a hatchback (this would allow me to haul the supplies from my stock-up trips home easily along with any larger purchases). It needed to easily handle winter driving, and since this was going to be the vehicle I owned for several years, it needed to possess a myriad of safety features. I also decided that it needed to possess features designed for maximum comfort because if I was going to spend so much money on a single item, by golly I would check off as many boxes on my “ideal vehicle” wish list that I possibly could because F it; in our current age I could die tomorrow so I may as well enjoy today.

One day I came across an advertisement from Cronin Hyundai in Nicholasville, Kentucky that indicated that they may have a vehicle that met every item on my list of features. I called them, explained my needs and received confirmation that yes, they had vehicles in stock within my price range that met my specifications. By the end of that day I had purchased a Crossover SUV with an extended service plan that I can only describe as “Apple Care” for cars, a service plan that would eliminate vehicular headaches for 10 years or 100,000 miles. The way I drive, that translates into almost a decade free of having to deal with the things I would rather not deal with. While I did take on an auto payment, it is well within my budget and easily affordable on both my current and projected income for the life of the loan.

This purchase was not only logical, it eliminated a huge concern that had been weighing upon my mind. It also met my need to have some sort of long-term payment plan on my credit report in order to boost my credit score even more. I have plans to utilize that in the future, and simply paying off my credit cards every month was insufficient for my plans.

It threw my inner circle for a loop, however. In their eyes, frugal folk like myself do not invest in new vehicles. They buy old cars, drive them until they drop, then move on to the next one. While that works for many, I realized that, for me at least, I would have ended up spending more money than I would by purchasing new. It would have also endangered my employment choices for the future because attendance is key when one works at a factory. You will get fired if you are late or miss work, after all.

I almost didn’t make this purchase. Despite the fact that the vehicle met every single criteria I had set, even my personal notion of frugality protested. It had been drilled into my head that frugal people buy used vehicles. Logic won out, however. Every person that I know (including myself) that purchases a used vehicle invariably encounters that time when their vehicle requires repairs; they not only face the financial headache of paying for repairs along with their financial obligation, they struggle to get to work while their car is in the shop. Even if I had paid cash, I would have been in the same position I was in with my current vehicle, rendering the financial expenditure moot.

Due to my decision, I now find myself dealing with questions from those who cannot conceive of the fact that frugal people do indeed spend money. While my family is overjoyed at the fact that I finally opened my “moldy wallet,” others who do not know my true financial situation are not so supportive. Their comments and questions have ranged from “midlife crisis” to demanding financial specifics that I have no desire to answer.

How does one handle this situation? Do you simply smile and ignore the snide remarks and invasive questions or is there a polite way to tell people that your finances are none of their business? While I did take the step of not advertising the purchase, it is rather difficult to conceal a new vehicle when your friends see you driving said purchase or notice it parked in front of your house.

Have you ever made a purchase that didn’t fit in with other’s preconceived notions of frugality? If so, how did you handle the invasive questions and snide remarks? Please share your stories in the comments below.

The Consequence of Choice

Last night I stumbled upon a show about wealthy people and their relationships. It was one of those so-called reality shows, the type where they show the awkwardly staged scenes and stuff.

I would have switched it off but one of the women caught my attention.

This woman had focused upon her career for so long that her biological clock was ticking, so she had entered into a romantic relationship with a man who was struggling financially with the goal of children in mind.

Wrong or right, many woman are forced to make the choice between having children and pursuing their careers in our society. I faced a similar choice.

Thirty years later, my children are grown. My youngest moved out, and after an adjustment period I embarked upon a new journey, a journey I would have started earlier if I had not given priority to my children.

Watching the clips in that show made me feel a pang of regret. If I had made a different decision, would that woman have represented me? Could I have avoided living in poverty if I had chosen not to have children? Was there some way that I could have juggled motherhood and not delayed my financial progress?

I don’t know.

I don’t know, and I realized that the questions were moot. I made the best decision I could using the knowledge that I had at that time.

They may not have had a lot of money growing up, but they had a mom who loved them, who actively chose to work at low-wage, easily attainable jobs so that, when pushed to choose between the job and the kids, the kids could win every time without financial risk.

I made that choice. It wasn’t a wrong choice, or perhaps even a right choice, but it was my decision, and I have no regrets.

When you make a choice based upon your best knowledge of the situation, then regardless of how things pan out, that decision is a wise one. It doesn’t matter if others made a different decision; we all live in unique situations. Comparing yourself to others is not only pointless, but a form of self-torture that’s best avoided.

What choices have you made that carried lasting consequences? Have you ever looked at someone who made a different choice and thought about the path you didn’t take? How did that make you feel? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Use Credit to Save Money

One of the common claims about credit is that it costs you money to use. While this is true in many cases, in some cases credit can actually save you money instead.

For instance, say that you have saved up money to make a major purchase. You have done your research, decided what you want, and have finally went to the store to make the purchase when the sales person makes you an offer to charge the item.

Don’t be so quick to brush away the offer. In some cases, these offers may come without any interest charges if paid off in a certain amount of time.

This is one of the tricks I learned about when I researched the habits of the wealthy. Instead of using their cash reserves to make purchases, they would instead finance things at a low or nonexistent interest rate. This would allow them to keep their money in the bank, earning interest…allowing them to make a bit of money.

I actually encountered that the other day. While my initial reaction was to refuse the line of credit, it occurred to me that I could place the money I’d saved up for the purchase in savings, finance the item for no interest, and actually come out a bit ahead on the purchase.

It may not seem like much, but these little decisions add up. Now, instead of being out the amount in my savings that I’d planned to spend, I will be able to allow that money to draw interest. While I’ll have to make payments on the purchase, I won’t have to pay anything for the privilege. This not only allows me to work on my goal of improving my credit, it lets me earn a few more dollars on my money that I wouldn’t have earned otherwise.

In many cases, these little offers are designed to be quick and easy to apply for, so they take very little time to secure. Just a couple minutes to fill out an application allowed me to increase my net work just a little bit more.

There is a caveat on some of these offers. Many of them are designed to encourage you to take out a credit card that you will be encouraged to use in the future. If you do use the card for future purchases, those purchases will be subject to interest charges if the bill isn’t paid promptly. That said, many places offer discounts if you use their cards to make purchases, but if you pay the new charges promptly, you come out ahead of the finance game as well.

Pennies make dollars, and even the smallest amount in a savings account can earn you a bit in interest. If you can keep your hard-earned cash earning interest for just a bit longer, your finances will thank you.

Have you ever accepted a no-interest credit offer in order to allow your hard-earned cash to continue building interest in your savings? Please share your stories in the comments below.

One Rule For Comfortable Finances

It’s nice to not worry about money. I’ve spent my entire life focused on reducing my financial footprint out of necessity so I find my current situation novel.

Even so, there are rules that I still follow. Ten percent of every paycheck is placed in savings, and despite encouragement to do otherwise, I still keep my recurring expenses as low as I can keep them. After that, I’ve been allowing myself to splurge a bit on items that I know I will use and enjoy.

Even with allowing a loose rein on my spending, I still spend less than I earn at my public job, so my net worth is increasing. In time I will figure out where I want to invest the excess, but today is not the day.

I follow my rules for a reason. I have learned through hard experience that Life can be unpredictable. One never knows the future so it is always best to be prepared. The absolute best way to prepare for challenging financial times is by keeping your recurring expenses as low as you can keep them even during times of plenty, because it is a lot easier to come up with $500 dollars a month than it is $5,000.

That said, it can be tempting to upgrade your lifestyle when your income increases. You may want a nicer (or bigger) place to live or even a shiny new car to drive, yet while you may be able to afford them at your current income level, that is no guarantee that you will continue to afford them in the future. For all we think we know the future, next week or next month may mean that we have to work for minimum wage just to survive.

I am keeping that firmly in mind as I move forward. I have seen too many people burden themselves with higher rent/house payments, car payments, and even boat payments only to have an injury or job loss send them into a tailspin.

I have preached this rule for over a decade now. I learned my lesson during the Great Recession. When you keep your recurring expenses as low as you can keep them, it allows you the flexibility to go with the flow as financial circumstances change. It can even allow you to work less if you desire. I used this rule to be a stay-at-home single mother for years, and I’ve also used it when I worked as a single parent, because it allowed me to work at jobs that are easily acquired so that I would never have to choose between my job and my kids. I had to accept a low wage at these jobs, but for me the tradeoff was worth it.

Whatever your current income, remember that times can change. You may have a really nice job today, but that does not guarantee that you will have a nice job tomorrow. It pays to keep your recurring expenses low just in case.

It also pays to allow yourself some time to adjust when you find yourself suddenly flush with cash. When you do not allow yourself time to adjust to the windfall, you can wake up one morning and realize that you’ve spent yourself broke. Lottery winners do this on a regular basis.

Don’t be them. Resist the temptation to spend yourself broke each week because you happen to have money in your pocket and more scheduled to come. It is much better to have money left over and the knowledge that you will be okay should hard times come.

Do you keep your recurring expenses low? How do you do it? Do you have any advice for the rest of us? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The Continuing Adventures of Annie the Annoying

Remember a while back when I said that, after exploring how low I could comfortably go financially that I wanted to explore the other end of the spectrum?

I have officially started that journey.

Last month, when a local concrete factory announced that it was hiring, I submitted an application. It can be a challenge to break into direct-hire factory work; many places will use a temp service so that they can eliminate people whenever their staffing needs call for it. Considering that the majority of my official work experience has been in the food industry, I estimated that my odds of being hired were low but miracles happen so why not?

By the grace of God, I got the job.

I worked out my notice at the restaurant, screwed up my courage, and went to work.

This new job is a challenge. My body is still adapting to the change in physicality. Not only does this position require a bit of speed, it also requires an upper body muscularity that I am working to develop.

The money side is a different story.

I am earning more each week than I am accustomed to living on for a month. That feels strange. I’ve never earned as much money as I do these days.

My discretionary spending has went up as a result. I’ve kept my recurring expenses stable (and at my normal level), but I have finally loosened the reins to allow myself to spend a bit more. I’ve acquired some plants to soften the ambience in my home but other than that I’ve not done much. I’ve placed my decorating plans on hold as I adapt since I’ve got the rest of my life to savor the process of redecorating.

The largest shock is the fact that I now have medical insurance, real medical insurance from a job with low co-pays and good benefits. I’m unused to having medical insurance from a job. That knowledge of being able to go to the doctor without worry about the expense feels strange.

Does it say something about our nation that I’m more surprised at having medical insurance than I am at the pay?

I’ll write more when I have something interesting to share. In the meantime, can you share what you have going on in your life? I would love to hear updates from all of you.

Sending hugs, Annie.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Chapter’s End

“I hope you hate your new job!” Gemma’s eyes flashed as she flounced up to me.

I smiled. “I’ll miss you too.” I had heard that sentiment several times over the past two weeks; managers and coworkers alike were upset when I had given notice. While on the outside the statements seem harsh, they are actually the highest compliment one can receive in the restaurant industry.

That is the statement you receive when you are truly loved.

So many people pass through the restaurant industry. Few stay. They become a blip on the radar to the crew who sticks it out long-term. Many times the old-timers don’t even bother learning the names of the new ones. Why bother when they’ll be gone in a few days?

While I’d never planned to stay when I started working at that restaurant, I’d lingered long enough for the crew to get attached. I’d gotten attached, too, so when I turned in my notice I quietly began to say my farewells.

While it was bittersweet to work that last day, this was something I had to do. Now that all of my children are grown, it is time to work on me for a change and for my next adventure I’ve decided to continue my exploration of finance and life. I’ve spent the last two decades actively exploring frugality (most of my life due to circumstances, to be honest). Now I want to see how far I can go in the opposite direction.

The job offer I’ve accepted is part of that process.

This new adventure is a continuation of the experiment I began with the purchase of a journal a while back. I gave myself permission to buy something luxurious to explore the Diderot Effect. I’d taken a good hard look at my home and realized that my personal environment had changed in a way that did not please me. I did not enjoy having my home look like something out of Deliverance, so I decided to change it.

I am still working on that.

I asked myself what I would own if money were not an object and I didn’t have to count my pennies. I asked myself what my ideal home would look like if finances were not a concern, then bit by tiny bit I began making changes, but I didn’t stop there. I also asked myself what I could see myself doing in my ideal life.

Once I adapted to Katie moving out, the answers shifted. I discovered that I needed the face-to-face interaction that a public job provides. Few things give me more joy than watching my coworkers smile when I sing out my greetings each morning. That said, I didn’t see myself remaining in the restaurant industry. I saw myself in a position that not only provided a stable schedule, but provided a larger income and insurance benefits as well.

I start that new job on Monday.

I will miss my old friends, so after that last day at my old job I took the evening to mourn.

Now it is time to move on. I will make more friends starting Monday.

Change can be scary, but change is also the way that we evolve. Like the butterfly, we have to dissolve ourselves in order to become something better. We have to pare down to the bones of who we are deep down and rebuild ourselves from scratch if we want to grow.

Have you ever decided to change your life, to evolve and explore something new? If so, what did you do? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The Process of Pivoting

What do you do when you can do anything?

That is the situation in which I find myself. For the first time in my life I am free, completely free. I can go anywhere, do anything. The road of Life is wide open. All I have to do is pick a direction.

It feels overwhelming. I’ve spent my entire life burdened with obligations both real and imagined. To realize that they’ve all disappeared…I’m not sure how to feel about that.

This was why, as the waters rose in their routine surge, that a part of me wished that it would wash my house away as well. It would be nice to have a completely fresh start, I mused as I watched.

But I don’t have to wait for a disaster to have a fresh start. I’ve got one already. As for the stuff…I do believe it is time for a pivot. Minimalism is perfect for pivots, because it allows us to cut the crap from our lives. It makes it easier for us to change direction.

So I tossed some stuff. There’s a cabinet and some empty totes sitting upon my front porch for a friend to collect. Another friend has been offered the bicycle. Other items were deemed too ratty to pass on so they’ve been put in the trash.

“Are you going to have anything left?” One friend asked when she came by to collect some of the things.

But I didn’t just focus on physical things. Mental clutter can be just as burdensome as physical clutter. In some ways, it can cause more damage because it affects us emotionally. All of those old grudges and resentments really build up in time. They can turn us from happy people into miserable, hateful old cranks.

So now, whenever one of those memories surface that trigger a negative emotion, I work to eliminate the negativity connected with it. If I find myself getting stuck in a negative emotional loop, I make myself stop by focusing on my breathing. In, out. In. Out. It’s not like a normal meditation where you turn into a pretzel while staring at your navel. This is something you do wherever you’re at, no outfits, ommms, or twisty poses required. I find it much more effective than traditional meditation. I can’t sit still long enough for the standard stuff.

And whenever I find myself wanting to acquire a specific item, I ask myself what purpose it would serve along with other related questions. Those questions helped me to realize that the only reason I wanted to acquire a record player and a VCR was to revisit a piece of my history. But the past is dead so why bother?

So I discarded the plan to purchase a record player and the VCR. I even placed the tentative plan to purchase a stereo system on indefinite hold since I’m not sure if I really need one. My entire music library is stored upon my computer and selected playlists are synced to my phone. I use my soundbar with both my computer and my phone to play my music and I’m more than content at the sound quality, so do I really need to buy more stuff when I’m content with what I already have?

In this world if we’re not growing and changing we’re dying. Just like with trees and plants, in order to achieve the strongest growth we have to prune the branches. After the pruning, it is time to sweep that old away. We have a new future to look forward to.

What can you prune today?

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

If I Keep it, I Must Clean It

It’s taken a bit longer than anticipated to work on this living room. While I’ve been steadily tinkering on it, I’ve not been painting so much as decluttering.

One would think that, as a minimalist I wouldn’t own a lot of things. Compared to many others, I actually don’t. That said, I’m still uncovering items as I shift and reorganize that make me ask the important question:

Do I want to clean it?

Do I want to clean it? Do I want to shift it around and organize it? Do I want to drag it out to the car and rescue it during a flood? Do I want to move it when it’s time to leave this place?

That answer is not as cut-and-dried as it appears. One would think that if you loved something enough to acquire it that you would want to care for it, clean it, and take it with you when you move but in my case, I’m discovering otherwise.

I am discovering truths about myself that are a bit awkward, but that I must face.

I collect books not just to read them, but because my childhood was spent reading the same small stack of books over and over due to a lack of reading material. I don’t collect books because I necessarily enjoy them, but because I am secretly afraid of being without. I remember dying inside as I watched a relative toss a book I was reading into a fireplace. It was in the way while she was cleaning. She’d already read it, so she eliminated it by using it to add a bit of heat to her home.

While I do read physical books, my interests vary and patience is a factor in my purchases. When I discover a title of interest, I want to begin reading immediately. Because of that impatience, I typically download digital copies to devour. The physical books I acquire are always titles that I stumble upon secondhand and add to my collection because they seem interesting. The majority of physical books I collect are never read, yet I keep them out of that old childhood fear of running out of reading material.

In this modern age, that is no longer a problem. There are enough blogs and books to keep me entertained and informed for several lifetimes, many of which are free on websites like Gutenberg.

I have no need to hoard physical books any longer. While it is a wise decision to keep the ones I’ve already read and actually reference, the act of collecting and hoarding books out of fear needs to come to an end.

It is time I move on from that practice.

When I came to that realization about myself, I also discovered that books are not the only things I hoard out of fear. I hoard food, cleaning supplies, and a number of other items. While I see no logic in eliminating something that I know I will use eventually, bit by bit I am coming to terms with this.

I have no reason to fear any longer. If I run out of something, I no longer have a child that will feel deprived while I sort it.

I no longer have to keep or clean things “just in case.”

Some things it makes sense to keep. It would be foolish to eliminate my kerosene heater because the very nature of our planet means that there will be power outages. It would be foolish to eliminate clothes that I will actually wear just to get down to some artificially-chosen number, knowing that clothes have a very limited lifespan, just like it would be foolish to toss good food or cleaning supplies. Better to use those items up, replenishing only after I reached a certain level.

So as I go through my possessions I now remind myself that if I keep it, I must clean it. If I keep it I must care for it, store it, and I’ll eventually have to move it when I leave this place. If I decide I don’t want to care of it, then it is time the item moved on.

As I work through this process I’ve discovered that I prefer my homes to be open and somewhat spartan in appearance. The more I eliminate, the lighter and happier I become. While I can tell that I’ll never be able to fit my entire life into a single backpack, I suspect that in the end I will possess a bit less than the average person.

Have you ever realized that a primary facet of your personality was a negative one such as fear? How did you handle that? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Is That A Computer in Your Pocket?

It is said that once we reach adulthood that our opinions and basic personality has formed and rarely changes. I never paid much attention to that theory until I realized that I’d picked up some interesting opinions and habits myself from what I suspect was a rather young age.

Since that discovery about myself, I have began to question everything.

Those who have followed me over the years have doubtless noticed my disdain for cell phones. I refused to own one for years because I considered them a luxury, only acquiring one because my kids felt that they were a necessity.

I’ve noticed this disdain in others as well. Browse the Internet very much, and you stumble upon memes mocking the youth for the cellphones they carry.

The other day, some coworkers and myself could not remember a setting to use on a piece of equipment. Rather than guess, I pulled out my cellphone, did a quick search, and located the information.

That search made me realize a truth I had denied since smartphones were invented: This isn’t just a phone; it’s a computer.

We literally carry miniaturized computers complete with Internet access in our pockets, yet when we want to do any serious work we reach for a bulky laptop each time. While a small number of us have transitioned to using tablets with keyboards attached for some work, the majority of us still insist upon using a standard computer for our tasks.

That includes me. When I think of writing, I think of sitting down at a computer to do my work, or at least curling up with pen and paper to complete the task. The thought of anything else never occurred to me.

I haven’t had any desire to sit down in front of a computer for months. I haven’t had any desire to seriously fiddle with a computer for over a year, despite my efforts to rekindle that passion.

While my computer use has waned, I have found myself using this phone more and more. It is my alarm clock, my calendar, my camera. It is the notebook I pull out when I need to remember something. It is my stereo both at home and while on the move, and it is the GPS that guides me when I travel to an unfamiliar place.

I use this phone for almost everything that I used to rely upon a computer for, yet I refused to consider using it for my writing and certain other tasks.

I felt a bit sheepish after having that revelation. I’ve always been the one who embraced new technology, yet it seems that I have become a bit set in my ways.

As a result of that revelation I am attempting an experiment. I am going to look at this device as the computer that it is. When I have a task to accomplish involving computers, I’m going to attempt the task on this phone first.

More importantly, I am going to make it a point to do a bit of writing on this device. I not only want to explore the functionality of using this phone to write with, I want to see if the added mobility inspires me to write again.

If you are seeing this post, then this experiment is at least a partial success. I downloaded the app that allows me to maintain my website, and have been tinkering on this post for several days. I write during my breaks at work and while I’m waiting for my car to warm up in the mornings.

While it feels odd to sit here and type out a blog post with my thumbs, it feels good to know that at least I’m writing. I was beginning to wonder if I ever would write again, since I lacked the time and the desire to sit down and actually write.

Maybe this is the solution I needed.

Have you ever realized that you’d been looking at something with a closed mind? Please share your stories in the comments below.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Discovery And Change

It has been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to refresh my environment. As a habit, I’ve always discounted things like wall colors, furniture styles and other decorative touches. I was raised in a world where only the vain and shallow concerned themselves with such things.

I didn’t understand until recently how deeply that was embedded within my soul, but as I painted on Katie’s room the programming surfaced:

What a waste of money, my inner voice complained. And for what, so you can have a pretty little house and be a snob? Who do you think you are?

I couldn’t determine if the deep-seated emotions surrounding the thought of fixing up my home were based upon a poor self-image or some sort of reversed snobbery, but I could tell that they were very strong, strong enough that I took a break for several weeks in an attempt to sort them.

Where did these emotions come from? What makes them so powerful? And just how much have these emotions influenced me over the years? Would my life be better if I eliminated them?

I decided to find out. As I worked on that room, I allowed my mind to drift, to think and remember as I worked.

I wanted to associate the process of making my corner of the world beautiful with happiness, so I insisted upon tinkering upon it only when in a pleasant mood. I would turn on music that I loved to accompany the task and stop the moment that it felt like drudgery.

To my surprise, I then completed the room in short order.

Another angle, another day.

I have learned something about myself as I completed this project. I didn’t avoid painting and decorating to save money, but because I internalized the impression that it was a bad thing to want to improve your living area.

I am going to rid myself of that notion. In order to do that, I’ve set myself the intention of painting this entire house and organizing it until I consider it beautiful.

Have you ever began a project only to discover that you’ve internalized negative emotions or thoughts about the process? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Burnout

When I first started blogging, writing was a joy. I couldn’t wait to sit down at my computer and empty my soul. I loved curling up with a good book, absorbing the knowledge, and distilling it into something that would benefit my readers.

Now I cringe at the thought of reading my email, much less writing anything.

I almost shut this website down, erased it. I thought that my lack of desire was due to the fact that this had ran its course.

Now I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with this website. I’m just burned out.

I began writing professionally back in the mid-aughts at some website whose name I’ve long forgotten. I told myself I would write as much as it took to achieve financial freedom so I could stay home with my baby girl, and I did.

For years I would wake up, terrified that we wouldn’t have enough to make ends meet. To ease that fear, I’d publish another article.

I did this for years until my books took off. Even after that I made myself sit down and knock out blog posts and work on books on an almost daily basis.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much of a toll that decision has taken. I didn’t even realize that this was the reason why I had no desire to read or write this past year.

Now that I know what’s going on, I’m going to step back and relax. I’m not going to force myself to read. I’m not going to force myself to write. I’ll keep this website, however. In time the burnout will fade and writing will be a joy once more.

I suspect this may be why so many bloggers quit after a time. When you force yourself to publish as often as the experts instruct you to publish, writing becomes a chore. Maybe if we wrote less, we’d be happier and our readers would have more time to spend living their own lives instead of reading about ours.

For now I’m going to kick back and relax. It is a beautiful winter’s day. Once I hit publish, I’ll kick back in front of the television and refuse to read so much as a text as a treat for writing this.

Balance is everything. When we allow ourselves to become off-balance, we should all step back and readjust.

What are you burned out about? Are you taking steps to recover? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Keeping Busy

It’s been a chaotic week. I’ve been focused on gratitude, so it ended up being a magical week with some fascinating things taking place.

Just as Katie and I were finishing a cup of coffee before we began the process of transferring her car into her name, Katie received a panicked call from her husband. The shippers had decided to change the pickup date for her car to that day and wanted to pick it up immediately.

Katie told her husband to cancel the shipment. It would leave them several days without a car, and she wasn’t having it.

“I’ll have it shipped after we get moved,” she told her husband. “Mom can use it in the meantime.”

To say I was startled would be an understatement! I’d been walking and hitching rides to work since her husband had arrived. While I’d looked at a few cars locally (and discussed acquiring an unused car (translation: it’s been parked for a while) from a family member) nothing had clicked, so I had spent these past few weeks telling myself that the perfect vehicle would come to me in the perfect way. Could this be it? I wondered silently.

This was how I ended up taking my daughter and son-in-law to the airport a few nights later. I was to have full use of the car until she got things sorted on her end for a return trip to retrieve it.

She texted me her first full day in California:

<Hey, mom. Would you like to buy the Green Bean? I’ll sell it to you for what I have in it.>

She took the money I transferred to her and bought an SUV that very same day.

I honestly believe that I attracted the situation. I like the car; it’s the only station wagon like it in the area. An older classic, it suits me perfectly well, and I enjoy the process of fixing up older cars. Even better, we both benefited from the situation. She got what she put into the car back and I acquired the transportation I desired for my personal game plan.

While I was sad to see my beloved Katie go, I decided to focus upon the empty bedroom she left behind. When I would arrive home after work, instead of dwelling upon her absence I painted.

Here is a short video of the progress I’ve made thus far:

I have to work in the morning so after tidying my house and doing laundry I kicked back with a book to enjoy the rest of my day. I’ll tinker on the room some more tomorrow.

Since I am starting a new era in my life I am considering making a change to how I blog as well. Instead of just writing, I’m thinking about posting some videos as well. What do you think? Would you like to watch me ramble on occasion?

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The End of an Era

Katie moved out yesterday.

I knew it was coming. We both did.

This is why I dropped offline for a few months. I wanted to spend every last moment with my baby. This was my last chance to make memories with her, memories of her being my baby girl instead of my married daughter.

I did just that.

We’ve been joined at the hip these past few months, my Katie and I. We did everything together. We even got a job together, on the exact same shift, so we could pick on each other as we passed the other’s station.

I have no regrets for taking these last few months and devoting them exclusively to my daughter. I have no regrets about dropping offline and focusing upon my life here in the world. I have had one goal these past years, and that goal was to be the best mother I could be.

I did everything in my power to make that goal a reality. And, if the last conversations I had with my daughter are any clue, I succeeded. I believe I even imparted the importance of being a loving parent, a parent who chooses family over the pursuit of money or other goals to my daughter, since she shared with me her personal thoughts and concerns about raising her children in the future.

But now that time is over. My Katie is grown. She moved out, and is on her way to starting her new life as a married woman.

Society doesn’t guide us when it comes to life after parenthood. It seems that we’re to grow up, get a job, find the spouse, raise the kids, then fade into the sunset, visited only on holidays or whatever the kids find convenient. We are to wait until we qualify to enter a nursing home, go there, and wait to die.

I say fuck that shit.

It’s time for me to start a new adventure.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing, but if you think I’m going to allow myself to wallow in loss and self-pity you are wrong. The best cure for sadness is action, so I intend to keep busy until the shock wears off. Somewhere in the busyness I’ll figure out what to do next.

My very first step is reclaiming the bedroom. I’ve not had a bedroom in a decade now; while I hadn’t planned to stay in this tiny house for quite this long, I did, so now, for the first time in a long time, I’ve gotten an empty room in which I can dedicate to sleeping.

Katie’s empty bedroom
Katie’s empty bedroom, alternate angle

I didn’t allow myself to dwell upon the shock of seeing that empty room, of seeing the little things my baby decided to leave behind. Instead, I started cleaning. I gave that room a good scrubbing, called a friend, and asked for a ride to the store. Since fresh starts and new adventures don’t happen every day, I didn’t even look at the prices as I purchased the supplies to paint that little bedroom. I even treated myself to a new lava lamp in my favorite color (red) for when I’m ready to move in.

I stayed up incredibly late patching the damage that only a kid can do as I laughed. I’d not realized one child could create so much work, but she has lived in that room for a decade now. To my surprise, I found spots on the walls from before we moved in. I hadn’t paid attention when I rented the place. That room was to be my Katie’s room so I’d barely glanced at it, and I’ve barely stepped foot in there until now.

It’s faded, but a previous tenant logged the date on the wall back in 2009!

Today I intend to sand the spots and start painting. I picked white, plain white for the walls and ceiling in order to give myself a blank slate with which to work. I don’t know who I will become on this next adventure so that seemed the safest choice. I did select a different color to paint the floor, a dark barn red that will cover the paint splatters and abuse that poor floor has suffered from well before I ever thought of living here. I had to choose between white, gray, or the red; red seems to suit my mood the best at the moment.

We each of us live through different eras as we journey through our lives. We’re a child, a student, a youth, a spouse (sometimes), a parent, and then…

…and then the door is wide open to create a new era, and era that can be anything we choose it to be.

Once I finish this post I intend to eat breakfast and get back to work. This is my day off, so I want to get as much done as I can today.

I’ll write more later.

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
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Smashwords (non-DRM)

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