It’s amazing what you can do.
I set a goal that I would become a fulltime vagabond in 5-7 years. I needed to work at least another five years in order to draw any pension from my present employer and I was six years away from qualifying for social security. Although both retirement checks would be small, the combined total would make possible retiring to the vagabonding life. Most people would not think it possible, and yes, for many people, it would not be enough to live on. However, I have a highly developed skill . . .
Oh yeah? What’s so special about you?
I’ll tell you what’s so special. I can live on just about nothing. Well, perhaps I exaggerate. You decide.
In order to pull off my plan, I needed start-up money for the trailer, tow vehicle, and certain equipment (another post!). I knew I couldn’t increase my income during those 5-7 years, because my work is so demanding that a second job is out of the question. I’m a low-energy person. If I push myself and don’t get a lot of rest, I become ill.
I had to cut back expenses. In a Big Way.
I realized the first step was to analyze my spending. I decided to use my credit card for every possible purchase — groceries, bills, gas for the car, restaurants, clothing. I rarely write a check or use paper money. When the bill comes each month, I pay it off in full and scrutinize the expenditures to see what I can cut back on.
All my bills get this treatment.
The most obvious place to save money? The power bill. My four bedroom, two bath house was costing me about $180-$230 a month for electric. Ridiculous! I keep vents closed. Doors to unused rooms are kept shut. Drafts are eliminated. I do not turn on more than one light at a time. After all, I can’t be in two places at once! When I walk out of a room, the light is shut off. I do not use a light when opening the curtains brings in natural light. I do not use a porch light. I do not linger in the shower singing to the steam or run hot water shamelessly while at the sink. I hang my clothes in the breeze, when available. And the biggie: I don’t turn on the heat pump.
That means no air conditioning at all!
In case you’re from Outer Mongolia and don’t know this, the state of Georgia in the United States is hot and humid. Let me emphasize that…. IT’S REALLY HOT AND HUMID!!!! It also can get very cold. (Okay, Northerners, I know, it’s nothing like you deal with. Georgia has three days of freezing temps and snow. Within a week the dandelions are in bloom and robins are pulling worms).
I never turn on the heat. The thermostat is a relic, an artifact of a former era.
I dress warmly. I do use a little electric heater but I never run it where I’m not. Where I go, it goes or it’s turned off. I never run it at night; I pull up the covers. Spike and Bridget snuggle up which helps a lot.
I do not cook. This is a big savings because I’m one person. I can’t stock the refrigerator without a lot of waste unless I eat the same thing for a week. My analysis revealed eating out was cheaper than turning on the stove/oven to cook for one. (at least the way I cook). No more dishwasher-running or dishpan-washing.
Do these changes make a big difference? Oh yeah.
My “budget billing” (the annual usage averaged to get monthly amount due) . . . is . . drum roll please . . . $34.oo.
I never thought I’d smile at an electric bill!
I apologize for the lack of photos in this blog. I hope to remedy that very soon! Thank you for coming back anyway.