One year ago… during Easter… we visited the Southern Drakensberg with our dear Kelsey-friends… and during that short, 5-night holiday, Nick and I made the decision: “That’s it! We are changing our lives – we’re going to live differently!”.
Since then… we have purged a whole load of “stuff”… (and debt!)… and we’ve reduced our cost of living fairly drastically. In a nutshell, this is how we’ve reduced our debt:
(Quick disclaimer: I don’t share this stuff to somehow boast about our self-restraint (I’m not very self-restraining – trust me!). I share it, because, recently – I’ve found that a few of people are genuinely curious to know how we’ve kinda toned things down lifestyle-wise in order to live the life we really want to live…)
- We don’t have a TV – (and thus: no subscription to DSTV).
- We have 1 credit card between us – and we’re not in credit card debt. Banks often phone Nick and ask whether he’d like a new card or whether he’d like to ‘up’ his credit limit. He always says no.
- We have no store accounts – or any other card accounts. We pay cash when we buy things.
- Our (only) car has been paid off.
- We phoned the cell phone companies and drastically downgraded to a very simple service plan. Last month, our combined cell-phone fees were R150 ($17).
- We don’t pay school fees (kids are homeschooled).
- We don’t spend a lot on petrol for the car (we both work from home).
- Our bond repayments are fairly low (we’ve been in this house for almost 9 years).
- We phoned the medical aid company and downgraded to a hospital plan.
- We use bonus points from the medical aid company to get cheap (or free) movie tickets… and to get discounts on groceries.
- We seldom buy “stuff” (unless it’s useful gadgets or equipment for business purposes – or those flippin’ Skylanders characters for Nick and the kids). And I really… intensely… dislike “shopping”.
We’re also in the process of developing 2 new income streams in addition to Nick’s usual work – and the rental income from our home & cottage (a frustratingly slow process – at least, in my eyes)…
Of course… there are a number of areas where we (read: me) could be a lot more frugal. I spend an embarrassing amount of money on coffee shops – and Nick and I both eat out… a lot. We both loathe cooking. I’m pretty sure we could save a lot of money if we stopped frequenting Tasha’s, Cafe 1145 and Mexican Fresh… but then again, what fun would that be? Trying to be frugal with money is one thing – but if that frugal-living means cutting all the good stuff out of life… then, nah…I’ll pass…
Anyway – so getting back to my point… we’ve made a lot of changes over the past year.
But most of all… we needed an entire shift in our mentality (and this hasn’t come quickly). It’s scary to just leap out of the boat and learn to swim in the ocean! It’s a bit nerve-wracking to go against the flow of everything we’ve been told & taught for most of our lives.
Some people have been very supportive and understanding… but others have taken our decisions to live in a certain way as a direct affront on their decisions not to! This frustrates me. As someone who loves and respects diversity – this deeply frustrates me. I don’t want the world to live my life – I want everyone out there to live THEIR best lives – and to follow their dreams (whatever they may be) and to do whatever it is that makes them come alive!
And, if that means nesting in a nice little home in the ‘burbs… with dogs, cats, kids and a steady job – then, hey! That’s awesome!
Not everyone wants to sell all their stuff and live a location-independent lifestyle. Not everyone wants to travel the world. Not everyone wants to homeschool their kids… and geez, I’m glad they don’t! Imagine if we were all the same? Ugh! What a horrible thought!
Anyway – so here we are.
A year since we made the Big Decision. A year since we started telling family and friends about the Big Decision.
Starting from tomorrow, we’re getting our first taste of Life-on-the-Road. 6 weeks of working, living and educating our kids… on the road. 6 weeks of a location-independent lifestyle – a taster of what’s to come in August when we “launch” full-time.
Nick is currently on set in a lovely town in the Karoo (he left 2 days ago). Tomorrow, I’m packing up the kids and driving up to Hoedspruit in Limpopo province to visit my crazy cousin, Clare. We’ll spend a few days there (potentially involving a sleepover in a tree-house in a Big 5 Reserve)… and after thoroughly kuier’ing-with-Cuz… I’ll drive down to the Karoo (stopping over at Bloemfontein for the night).
Nick says Klaarstroom (and the surrounding towns) are absolutely gorgeous and there’s lots for us to see and do. Somewhere in the middle of all that, we’ll drive down to Plettenberg Bay and stay for a while at Nick’s family’s lovely flat… we’ll see.
What I do know is this: we’re about to spend 6 weeks travelling through Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Freestate and Eastern Cape…. working… living… exploring… bonding with the kidlets… and just “being” us and doing what we so deeply want to do… and living the way we so deeply want to live.
Once we’re back, it will be 2 months of chaos as Nick edits the movie (they’re currently shooting)… and I’ll be renting out the house and purging / storing the rest of our stuff… ready for the Big-Fat-Launch in August.
It’s amazing how much can happen in 1 year, huh?