That Ship Has Sailed

 

In past years we have earned quite a bit of money.  Working mostly three months on and three months off, our money came to us in lump sums. My husband and I were able to afford large ticket items and frequently purchased them.  During the off periods, we usually ate Mac’N’Cheese and prayed a lot.  During the money making highs, we never thought of the times where money did not grow on trees, along with the bananas.  He always had a plan going in (a good plan), and we were normally broke coming out.  The life of contractors and the way they are paid is not an easy gig.  You acquire a year’s worth of wages for six months work.  Once the money was gone, financial despair set in and we stayed broke until the next season.  Year after Year we participated in the madness until the seasonal work fizzled down to weeks, instead of months.  My husband had to take a permanent career track to make ends meet.  I still continued onward with the seasonal stuff until I decided to go back to school.

Three years and mounds of school debt later, along with various other debts, left us asking ourselves where our ship went.  The onslaught of good fortune where money rained down from the heavens had suffered a drought.  I tried briefly working in the public sector at a nonprofit.  Then I tried direct sales, that didn’t help at all.  We tried moving into a cheaper place, budgeting, and finance classes.  Nothing worked and as of today, our debt grows with each passing day.  Two incomes dissolved into one and soon we could not rise up.  Why? It’s because of we (mostly me), failed to change our style of living.  We never swapped over to a one income plan.  I still wanted to shop like I still had money.  I used shopping as therapy and I wanted our house to be beautiful and not practical.

Enter the tiny home current plan idea.  Sell the big house, pay cash for a tiny travel trailer, and move to an area close to his job.  This would also give me a larger job market.  I pitched the idea to him of living tiny in general while we were living in a mobile home and renting out the big house.  He thought the mobile home was tiny living enough.   After all, we had given away nearly half of our stuff to charity to move there.  I informed him it was still half the cost of the big house.  We needed something we could buy for cash.  His mind went immediately to the 60,000+ dollar tiny houses you frequently see.   He nixed the idea and we went on with our life.  I wasn’t ready to stop shopping or letting go of everything anyway.  We still owned a lot of stuff!  We had an entire storage room full.  Those boxes represented my past life, a collection of sentimental things that I was holding onto; along with items I knew we would surely need some day. I took a brief inventory a couple of weeks ago; I discovered I had six vases (who needs six vases?)

“What changed my husband’s mind”, you ask?  “Why did he suddenly get on board”?  Well, two major things happened. The first is I watched an awesome documentary about minimalism (which included a segment on retail shopping).  Secondly, we discovered that travel trailers are more affordable than we thought.  While the travel trailer is not designed for full time living it will work for a year or two.  Just long enough for us to pay down some debt.  We also decided to invest in some land where we eventually plan to build a larger tiny house.  It all starts with one step which leads to two and Sunday begins the pare down day part two.  Which will consist of a deeper pare down and will rid us of nearly all our stuff.  I’m not sure how long it will take but I promise you it will have to be done in sections.  It usually takes two passes through a box for me to decide I don’t need it.  I’m willing to invest the time.  I look forward to our new life together.

2 thoughts on “That Ship Has Sailed”

  1. Knowing you and what you do for a living, I understand. And I admire your bravery to downsize. I suffer from the, ‘I might need it someday.’ and/or ‘I just can’t get rid of this.’ syndromes. Every time I get rid of stuff, I go to work and bring back a camper of stuff that I just had to have for one reason or another. Then I get it home and wonder where I’m going to put it. I get it figured out, usually by getting rid of older stuff again. By the time I get things put away, it’s time to load up the camper and head out for another outage season. I’ve created my own merry go round.

    I have finally figured out that I’m not going to do that scrapbooking while I’m working 72 hours a week, so I stopped packing that. And I’m taking less clothes than I used to. Lets face it, I’m going to wear scrubs most of the time anyway. I store those in the camper. And I’m working on downsizing what is in my camper also.

    They say if you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it. I’ve recently decided that the tote box full of cookbooks and Gooseberry Christmas books that I haven’t opened in over two years, can go. I’ve figured it out that if I need a recipe that isn’t in my recipe software, I look online. Ok, I’m a bit of a hoarder. But I’m working on it. I just can’t see me paring down so far to living in my camper.

    So I take my hat off to you and your hubby for your decision. I’ll keep watching to see how things are going for you. ❤

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    1. It was a hard decision to live in the trailer. I wanted to go tiny for a while, but as you read I don’t think spending 60,000 for a tiny home was going to help our debt. We only lived in a travel trailer once for about 1/4 of an outage. So we don’t have season after season of living in one. It probably seems exciting and new for that reason. Thank you for your comments 🙂 It is a nice perspective to hear from someone who understands the job. I too stopped bringing all my scrapbook stuff with me to work. I used to pack it. I still haven’t learned how to pack light on clothes! That will be a new challenge! I’m not getting rid of my craft supplies in the downsize…I’m going to use them up and finish my books…. so you still have a fellow scrapbooker 😉 It will probably take time to sell the house, and we are keeping a SMALL storage unit due to moving into a bigger place in two years. We don’t want to rebuy everything. Thank you again, Deb

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