I am sure you’ve heard or read about it, simple living. It seems to be a whole new trend. Which is kind of funny, because I am sure a hundred years ago they would have never expected us to be striving for a more simple life today. But here we are, aspiring to live simply, and to make do with what we have. If you search for simple living on the internet you will find many definitions, because it has a different meaning for everyone.
What does simple living mean for us?
Being more self-sufficient.
Our aim is to grow most of our own food, partially because we want to be less dependent on other people. But mostly because we want to eat healthy. My first blogpost Why we want to grow our own food explains our motivation for wanting to grow our own food. But it’s not just about food, also trying to repair and build things ourselves with the resources we have.
Doing what we love, while spending time with our family.
We love being outside and working in the garden. We also love having animals and taking care of them. My husband loves working with his hands, fixing and building things. We have always been happy to just stay at home and spend time with each other. Live is so much simpler if you don’t have to run errands all the time.
Teaching our children
We want our children to know where our food comes from and how much work goes into producing food. We aim to teach them appreciation and responsibility. We give them (small) chores, like feeding the rabbits, to teach them responsibility. We feel it’s important that our children learn how to grow their own food so that they will always be able to eat.
Being grateful for what we have, and not always looking for the next thing.
Before we had this dream of living a simpler life we would always look for the next best thing. Every time we earned extra money we would feel the need to spend it on something better/newer. We have now realized that having a new car or the latest smartphone does not make us happy. We are grateful for what we have and that the things we have work, we no longer feel the need to replace things when they still function, just because there is a better or newer alternative.
Thinking before we buy.
Like I just said, we used to always feel like we needed to spend the extra money we earned. Now we think about what we buy. Do we need it? If we do need it, we research a sustainable option. We no longer buy stuff for the sake of buying or buy stuff we don’t actually need because it’s a good deal. We might actually spend more money on certain items because we want it to last. For instance, we needed a new frying pan because the old ones were scratched and the Teflon coating was letting go. We finally settled on a cast iron frying pan, which will last us a lifetime and is much better for our health.
Reducing our ecological footprint
We are looking for more sustainable products when we do need to buy something, preferably something that will last us a long time so it doesn’t need to be replaced anytime soon. We are also more aware of the groceries we do buy, we now pay extra for some groceries because they are not packaged in plastic. We use fewer chemicals to clean the house, we try to make most cleaning products ourselves, and when we do not have that option we pay close attention to what cleaning products we buy. We also try to re-use or re-purpose anything we might have thrown away before. We had a pan of which one of the handles had broken off, we now use it as a feeder for our chickens.
Getting and staying out of debt.
We are working hard on getting out of debt. We do not have a lot of debt, a student loan and our mortgage, but we try to put half of the extra money that comes in towards paying that off right now. The other half goes into savings so that we will never have to take out a loan again.
This is related to the previous point, if we want to get and stay out of debt we have to live frugally. We will try to spend as little money as we can, by evaluating what we buy. Did you know, for instance, that graded cheese costs twice as much per kilo as a block of cheese? We are also trying to use our cars less (we are selling one, because I don’t actually need a car) and doing more by bike or foot, we don’t live that far from town. We will try to buy things we need at thrift stores or on websites like Craigslist.
Living in the now but being aware of our future.
We try to just live day by day, but also keep our future in mind. We do this by enjoying our life right now and not worrying about what can go wrong. But we do plan for the future, making our garden big enough so we can eat through winter. Having money saved so if something were to happen we will not be without money.
Living a meaningful life
Living a meaningful life means having a sense of purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning. Providing our family with food that we grow ourselves gives our lives meaning. Being able to spend more time at home with our family also adds meaning to our lives. Every day, we’ll be doing what we love and loving what we do. We eventually want to share this with other people, both our knowledge and experience and our products, so other people can enjoy what we have.
What does simple living not mean for us?
Struggling to get by.
Simple living does not mean that we are turning pennies to pay our bills. My husband will keep his job as long as it is necessary. We will not be without the need of money, because bills need to be paid. We hope to be able to make enough money homesteading, but as long as we still have a mortgage and are “on the grid” we will never be able to make enough money homesteading to cover all our bills.
Living without modern conveniences.
We are not going to give up electricity or plumbing. We will also not get rid of our washing machine, dishwasher, computer or TV. We are lucky to have these modern conveniences available to us and will use them. We will not take them for granted, as we did in the past.
An easy life
A simple life is not necessarily and easy life. Being self-sufficient is a lot of work, it would be much easier to go to the store and buy the food we need. It would also be less satisfying. There will be set backs and losses, it’s a challenging life.
As I was writing this post I got an email that there was a new podcast episode from the self sufficient life by Tim Young, called What is Modern Homesteading Anyway, which almost exactly explains how we aim to live. Homesteading with modern conveniences.
Stay up to date by signing up for my newsletter and follow me on social media!