thriving on minimal resources

[Note:  this entry is based on a CRVL post]

I am still in a house but I have been living on very little for several years in order to pay off debt from a previous life.  :-)   Now I snowball that same debt payment amount into pre-tax accounts so I am still living on the same pittance.

As I wrote this up I realized it might seem a bit like a hair shirt;  it’s really not.  Now I see frugality as a game and a challenge.  Here is how I live on little:

  • housing

    • live in a rural area in a rundown house with very low rent while I plan for ‘dwelling retirement

    • aggressive use of digital thermostat to control house temp.  I cool only my bedroom at night with a window unit in summer and warm with heated mattress pad and dogs in winter).

  • transportation

    • truck is paid for

    • drive at a reasonable speed to maximize MPG;  currently getting 28.1 MPG in a 4cyl Ford Ranger with 299K miles on it.  Motorcycle gets 65mpg.

    • do my own vehicle maintenance when possible

  • food

    • cook for myself instead of eating out

    • a few years ago I reduced the amount of meat I eat (other than that I take myself, a la Ted Nugent).

    • the meat I do eat tends to be inexpensive which work well in a pressure cooker.

    • eat what is cheap due to season, excess production, loss leader sales, etc.

    • if I can put it to immediate use, buy clearance dairy and meat

    • make my own coffee.  I use a thrift store french press ($2-$3) which makes tremendous coffee.  Recommended ratio:  1 ounce of coffee for 16 fluid ounces of water (30g/500ml for our frozen Canadian friends)

    • keep my pantry stocked so I can buy stuff only when it is for sale at my predetermined price point

    • pour a nightcap for myself (Bulleit Rye, omg omg omg) if I want one instead of buying a drink somewhere.  I only buy on sale.

  • durable items

    • thrift stores and garage sales

    • stopped buying any durables that do not fit into my boondocking plan <– amazingly effective life change

  • clothes

    • bought at thrift stores.  Yesterday everything but my socks and underwear was 2nd-hand.
  • communication

  • health

    • medical from VA, optics from Zenni

    • $50 treadmill, $100 weight station

  • hobbies:

    • Computer stuff

      • I have never owned a new PC.  My current machines are vintage 2007 (workstation) and 2005 (laptop) and run great.  When I retire an old machine every few years the sweet spot for replacement is about $120 shipped on eBay.

      • It’s cheap to max out memory on them and run a lightweight (and free) OS on them:  Debian linux on the box and Antergos/Arch on the laptop.   Both of these have Live versions where you can run the OS completely from USB or CD/DVD to see how you like it.  No changes are made to your normal machine!

    • reading - I only read ebooks now;  these can be checked out remotely from the library.  Many older or public domain works are available for free.

    • sewing - I have an old $20 Singer which I use to mend clothes, etc.

  • relationships

    • I am happily divorced.  I don’t think I could be living this simply with an S.O.

    • I no longer chase women.  It’s expensive, exhausting, and in the medium term not a good investment (Keynes:  ”in the long term we are all dead”).

    • I came to this position independently, but later learned of the MGTOW movement.  As with most movements, the principles are useful but some of the adherents are angry, unhappy people looking for an excuse to hate on others (c.f. religion, politics, sports, etc).  So in the way a woman might say “I’m a feminist but not a man-hating feminist”, I will say “I am MGTOW but not a woman-hating MGTOW”.  I am reminded of the approach in Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural:  “honest friendship with all… entangling alliances with none”.  :-)