This post may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure here.
When I first started reading this, we’d just gotten our patio set out back. I sat in the sun, and ate very slowly. I savored every bite and every word on the page.
This book made me think about what my life is versus what my life could be. In the past year, we’ve redlined from spending way beyond our means in preparation for a baby we would end up losing (miscarriage) to trimming as much of the excess fat as we could. I feel like there was a frenzy as we started to shape our lives around the little bundle we were preparing to bring into the world and when we lost that little bundle, a haze kind of settled over us and what ended up making us feel better was “improving our lives” with stuff.
We found a small town with decent schools and a nice house with a big yard. Bonus, the cost of the mortgage was less than we were paying in rent for a 950 sq ft house in the city. The week prior to closing on the house, the miscarriage occurred.
Living 45 minutes out of town in a more rural area meant financing a truck to get us from Point A to Point B even in the 6 months of snow that we get ( it snowed November – April this year). Buying a house meant furnishing said house. Furnishing said house meant inviting everyone over for Thanksgiving to show off said house, which meant investing in new dishes and glasses and…and…and. Before I knew it, I was starting to get panicked by the choices we’d made and the credit card statements coming in.
The take away
This book is anti-all of that. It’s about shaping your life based on frugal pleasures. Not just being frugal for the sake of being frugal. It’s a very grounding experience, reading this book. I read the first two chapters and sat, blinking in the sun, gathering warmth on my body as I digested what I’d just read. I felt rather like a kookie, life-loving aunt was sitting next to me and telling me amusing stories about how to enjoy life, work a little, save money and enjoy life some more. Not only do they discuss saving money, investing in pleasurable pursuits (like observing more of the world around you instead of keeping your face glued to a screen), they also factored in environmentally-friendly decision making.
I remember reading this book right around Mother’s Day. We were going to take my mom out to brunch and knowing myself, I figured I’d have leftovers. I immediately stood up and packed myself a “zero waste kit” with a to-go container of my own, a few re-usable grocery totes, a pair of chopsticks, a set of silverware, a cloth napkin and a reusable straw. No more styrofoam take out containers for me.
I find myself asking, how can I get what I want for cheaper, more sustainably? Do I really need to get that item right now? There are lots of lessons in this book, which is surprising because it isn’t super thick!
Lots of people in the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram have been raving about this book. Basically, the premise is that for 1 year, the author participated in a shopping ban of her own creation. With the exception of a short list of approved items, or replacing an item if it was broken.
Prior to this book, I’d never heard of Cait Flanders. I’d never read her blog (still haven’t), or listened to her Podcast. After reading the book, I can say I understand why people are so taken by it.
This book is raw. She didn’t just segregate a little chunk of her life in preparation for this experiment of hers. She examined every nook and cranny of her life in order to understand not just how to stop shopping, but how to stop the triggers that created the impulse to shop in the first place. What hole was she trying to fill? Is there an ideal of a person was she trying to live up to? What motivated her to get that card out and swipe?
My take on it
What I got from this book is more of what I have been posting about on the blog recently – the more white space you have in your life, the more you are able to actually live your life. If you stop just consuming everything you possibly can, stop filling your time and your energy and your mind to the brim with useless junk, what is left? Real, authentic interests and connections with real people, intrinsic motivation to get outside and move your body. If you’re not spending money on things you don’t really need, then you’ll be able to increase your savings rate and say, travel, or pursue financial independence.
Think of how freeing it would be to go to work every day knowing you don’t necessarily NEED to work right now to keep a roof over your head, but rather, you’re working because you’re interested in the work itself. How much of a mindset shift would that be?
My husband has been asking for a grill since oh, the summer after we got married in 2014. We ended up purchasing a metal-framed gazebo with a waterproof covering to add to our little backyard oasis. At the same time, there was a grill on sale I could tell he was eyeing, so I offered to throw it in the cart. He sighed and said that he didn’t need a grill, especially not on that cost $400.
Fast forward about a week and a half and he sends me a link to a used grill on Facebook marketplace. $100, it’s a combo for both gas and charcoal. I’ve
Literally every meal has been cooked on that grill since we bought it. It’s great because we saved $300; we bought used, which reduces unnecessary waste; and grilling outside keeps the house cool (we don’t have AC). Win, win, win!
If you don’t already, I encourage you to check out Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for local used items as opposed to brand new items.
Just beware of “we only take cashier’s checks” situations. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
My second time around with the girls. I originally watched this show in 2015 and now that I can’t remember a thing that’s happened, I figured it was a good time to fire it up again.
Every time I watch this, I have a list of things I’m reminded. That it’s okay to be quirky. It’s okay to have deep, intense interests that people don’t 100% understand. Not knowing what you’re doing, or how to do something and figuring it out is what life is about. Relationships are hard. Relationships with parents can be complex.
And Luke, oh Luke. I watch this show and I look at the acts of service and love Luke displays for Lorelai and two things happen. 1. my crush on Luke deepens. 2. I am reminded of my husband and that I am lucky to have found my Luke. I feel validated, haha.
The talking! I love the fast talking pace of this show. It makes me think about gatherings of my family when we spend hours playing cards and cracking jokes. Those are very happy memories for me.
For the past ten years of so, I’ve flirted with minimalism. I’ve developed a distaste for trinkets. I loathe travel souvenirs and knick-knacks that sit on a shelf and gather dust. I’ve honed my sentimental side into a sharp pointy stick to fend off unneeded bits of paper and handmade items that are cute but don’t really serve a purpose. The only thing I really like to collect is owls.
This lady, Autumn, she gets that. She’s like, Level 1000 minimalist. A level I’d love to get to but highly doubt I ever will. I love to see how creatively she’s decorated for a minimalist birthday. Her home looks so chic and clean. I bet she doesn’t get stressed out by clutter like I do, because she’s ruthlessly ferreted out the clutter and banned it.
The past week or two, I’ve been going room by room and completely emptying each room out, shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer. I’ve gotten rid of a good amount, just in time for a join garage sale with my mom. Seeing shelves empty of unused items doesn’t fill me with the need to shop, but rather fills me with a calm that I rather enjoy. I can tell you, seeing Autumn’s home in my feed each day has helped to fuel that work!
Go check her out, you find yourself inspired to rid yourself of a few things too!