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I found this blog this month. I’ve heard of “Mr. Money Mustache” (aka MMM) before, but haven’t been an ardent follower. I’m working on a debt-free journey at the moment, having recently furnished a house and purchased a new-to-me vehicle. I primarily follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps (on Baby Step 2 now) and after I’ve gotten my debt paid off and a Fully Funded Emergency Fund set up (3-6 mo expenses), I plan to look into jacking up my savings rate as high as it will go. I hope to embark on a Financial Independence and Early Retirement journey. Does that mean I will retire early, probably not, but having the freedom wouldn’t be bad. 😉
About the blog
Anyhoo, Mr. Money Mustache is a blog about finding Financial Freedom on whatever income it is that you have. Using things like smart consumerism, such as this hierarchy list here. He suggest prioritizing what you have, what you can get used and as a last resort, purchasing new. I also like his ideas about how to spend your free time – you could start an expensive hobby such as snowmobiling or you can make a list of all the free things there are to do in the area – like hiking, going to creeks and wading or spending the day picnicking.
He refers to things in our society as the “American Sales Machine.” I think this is an interesting tactic for recognizing when some is trying to sell you. All around us, companies are trying to get us to buy, buy, buy! Our society is more and more driven by consumption. Not only is rampant consumption not good for us, by convincing us we need the newest, shiniest car or kitchen appliance (who really needs a restaurant-capable kitchen anyhow?), but such consumption is bad for the environment.
From my perspective, his blog is an attempt to get you to consider the dollars in your pocket. How do you save as much of that money for yourself instead of lining the pockets of big wigs sitting on bank committee chairs? How do you keep as much money as you can, invest it, and turn your future from 40 years of work into 10-12 instead? By saving at an extremely high rate. I for one, find that idea incredibly inspiring and motivating.
Having just spent my first winter in Montana, I can tell you that it feels very long indeed. When things are just white outside, for weeks on end, it becomes a little monotonous. Given, fresh snow is indeed beautiful, after a while it becomes dingy and patchy in places that makes me feel like either it should go away completely or snow should come again to freshen things with a new white blanket (preferably the former, my husband says the latter).
Bringing green into my house via house plants has helped immensely! Not only do house plants actually help to clean the air in your house, they’re pretty to look at and they bring a certain texture into a room that just can’t be beat.
Over the past few months, I have grown a beginner green thumb and kept the majority of the plants I purchased alive (keyword: majority). It helps to ask for beginner plants/hardy plants to begin with.
Plants I have:
2 Peace Lillies (Spathiphyllum) (very easy to care for – just make sure they get water when ever the leaves begin to droop. This plant will literally tell you when that is.) I have one in our Master bedroom and the other in the living room.
1 Basil plant in my kitchen window
1 Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) currently in the living room in this giant metal container I love. I feel like it ties the room together.
1 Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) that sits on the bar in my kitchen. My cat loves to snack on this one, which drives me nuts. This one only gets watered about 1 time a month!
2 succulent plants
So, not a ton of plants, but I pepper them in as I like, so I’ll probably get more in the future. I love bringing nature indoors via houseplants or bouquets, so this makes me very happy (especially when they stay alive!)
New-to-me Patio Furniture
Once the snow disappeared and the sun started coming out more, I realized that our back patio was looking very bare. Now, I don’t mind sitting on the cement steps to read, but I am trying to make my home a very inviting, lovely place to refresh one’s self, and entertain guests.
So, keeping in mind MMM’s buying hierarchy, we started scouring Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to see if a good deal could be had there. Lo’ and behold! A set popped up for $150 that was pleasing to the eye and had seen only half a season of use. Much better price than the 1k-4k I keep seeing in furniture stores!
Since acquiring this set, we’ve spent lazy Sunday mornings having coffee and toast while reading and basking in the sun. I love it!
Real French Bread
A month or two ago I noticed that there was a new shop in Downtown Billings. I honestly did a double-take at this quaint little French bakery, Le Fournil, the bakehouse. French Bakery? Billings? Can it be?!
Yes, yes, it can.
The shop is run by a Frenchman and his wife (who teaches French at the local university, I’d go on to find). Knowing a thing or two about French bread, I proceeded to quiz the baker on his methods, ingredient sources, etc. Turns out his ingredients are sourced directly from Montana. While it’s not 100% the same method as he would use in France, he certainly tried to get it as close as possible.
The result is wonderfully crusty french bread with good flavor. We’ve tried both the sourdough and Cherry Walnut loaf. Mmm. Fresh bread, sliced and toasted with a slab of grass-fed butter and drizzled with Montana honey. Those are life’s simple pleasures right there.