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Thread: Downshifting and Simple Living

  1. #41
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    I never would have guessed that yurts could be so nice. I always thought of them as made of scruffy hides and covered in dirt.

    That being said, I don't have any particular desire to live in a yurt. I don't know if I'd mind, really.

    @Mahigan: That sounds cool. Have fun!
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

  2. #42

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    Just a personal update....

    Now that the mate and I are married, we are both feeling even more driven to downshifting our careers. I've been compiling all of the monthly/yearly expenses of the house and I could downshift to working 20-24 hours/week in the future with the mate doing the same as well. Basically, we're wanting to "retire" early by working 2-3 days/week. We need to pay off our mortgage and save up at least 6 months to 1 year's salary before we could seriously make any decisions. It's definitely going to take a lot of time, realistically could reach this goal in 10 years or less, but it's a goal worth chasing, in my opinion.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somnia View Post
    Just a personal update....

    Now that the mate and I are married, we are both feeling even more driven to downshifting our careers. I've been compiling all of the monthly/yearly expenses of the house and I could downshift to working 20-24 hours/week in the future with the mate doing the same as well. Basically, we're wanting to "retire" early by working 2-3 days/week. We need to pay off our mortgage and save up at least 6 months to 1 year's salary before we could seriously make any decisions. It's definitely going to take a lot of time, realistically could reach this goal in 10 years or less, but it's a goal worth chasing, in my opinion.
    Good Luck!! We just bought a trailer so no down shifting for us but our own place is a start. and I hope that fact alone will be a big step in our own 'simpler' wants.
    ~~Our power can be replicated, but not our beginings~~

  4. #44
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    I think an issue that may come up in terms of all this is the ability to spend on food and for those with medical issues, insurance. With only a part time job, how can one expect to afford insurance, shelter, and food? Most part time jobs don't give out insurance either. Personally, for some of us, this may actually complicate things, like Akai said.

  5. #45

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    Personally, I have a lot of issues with how downshifting is presented, because a lot of people don't have an option to "downshift" because they aren't from a class status that can deal in the luxury.

    However, I understand as a middle-class sort of person, that the societal pressures to have have have want want want and be top dog all the time in everything--it's exhausting and unnecessary when you step back. I suppose, in this way, I've always been in a "downshifted" mindset, because I have no desire for a big-boss job, cable tv, fancy kitchens, or any of the things we are told we should want. I only need the internet and my books, and I am perfectly happy with a small apartment and a lesser paying job than what I could get if I pushed hard. I think my mindset goes back to my mother constantly rolling her eyes at the realstate sellers who told her about the huge fancy houses she could afford. She told them to stuff it and gave them her budget and stuck to it, no matter what she could technically afford at the limits of her credit.

    Anyway, I figure some of you might be interested in "small houses" and "earthships" (google these things, they are different things). An example of each being: Tumbleweed Houses and Earthship Biotecture. They are a very different kind of living, but I've always been interested in them and I think they could be pretty good ideas for people who are willing to live those sorts of lives. Earthship houses tend to need a good deal of money saved up to buy the land, get the permits, get materials, and do the work, but in the end, the idea is to be able to live with very limited need for contact with the general society/economy. Small houses tend to be made to save money on A/C, electricity, and other things that get wasted with huge cookie-cutter homes. Some small houses feature ones you can literally pack up into your car and take to a new location. The small house lifestyle probably needs a lot of research into permits and what is allowed in your area--it's kind of a halfway between the high independency of the earthship home and the high dependency of average big house living.
    "Everyone sees what you appear to be,
    few experience what you really are
    ."
    ―Niccolò Machiavelli

  6. #46

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    (EDIT - Let's try this post again because I royally wonked it up while I was using my phone, :P)

    Quote Originally Posted by CrepusNocturn View Post
    I think an issue that may come up in terms of all this is the ability to spend on food and for those with medical issues, insurance. With only a part time job, how can one expect to afford insurance, shelter, and food? Most part time jobs don't give out insurance either. Personally, for some of us, this may actually complicate things, like Akai said.
    The neat thing about downshifting is it's a very flexible option for people and if you're creative you can find ways to live a simpler, better life without giving up Full Time work. You don't have to work Part Time if you can't afford to because of medical insurance, (but Part Time work can still be an option for some people if you prepare your finances). A Downshifter could work a Full Time job but they look at other ways to simplify their lives. For example, if the person has a Full Time job that is overly stressful and they hate it, they could apply for a Full Time job at a different place or career field that is more in line with their values and that would be considered "downshifting" because they are trading a stressful job filled with headaches for one that has less stress. Another form of career downshifting would be finding a job that offers Full Time benefits but with shorter shifts. For example, I've worked 4 nights/week for years and I've fairly recently accepted a job that offers Full Time for 3 nights instead of 4. I'm still Full Time and get all benefits, but I'm working 1 less night/week, which is good for my health, home/personal life, and it also helps to save on gas for my car.

    Other ways to downshift would be something simple as starting your own home grown vegetable/fruit garden, or getting rid of cable TV, getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your home, etc. Kitfallen also brought up a few good ideas about alternative houses, such as those Micro Homes, and other people mentioned living in Yurts (tent like housing). I'm not much of a camper like I used to be, and I can't imagine myself and my mate living in a micro home, but the place we do have is definitely a kind a house that is befitting for a downshifter. We have all the space we need to be comfortable and it's very affordable. The main focus right now is paying off the house mortgage, then we can pursue the next steps in our downshifting journey.

    It's definitely a lifestyle change that can take A LOT of careful financial planning depending on how much a person wants to downshift. But again, downshifting doesn't need to be drastic and there are simpler, easier ways for people to make small changes here and there that could be done right away if it's something you are interested in doing.
    Last edited by Somnia; November 7th, 2015 at 09:48 AM.

  7. #47
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    Wow, this thread has been such an interesting read!

    As a freshman in college who is commuting from home, I'm not yet in charge of my own finances/living conditions, and I'm honestly not sure how I'll do things once I do live on my own. I certainly like the idea of trying to downshift in various aspects, but I'm also an avid collector and like my things, haha. I suppose only the future will tell what I end up doing.

    To all those who are currently trying to acquire the more downshifted lifestyle they've been desiring~ Good luck to you, and congrats for those who are getting there. It's so fantastic to read about you guys finding happier, better ways to live =3

  8. #48

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    *** UPDATE ***

    Resurrecting this old thread of mine, ;P


    I'm happy to say I have been living my career dream of working 2 nights a week and making things work for my partner and I! Of course it took A LOT of financial planning, and also getting our house paid off 3 years ago made a huge impact on our finances. We've definitely worked hard at tackling that financial hump and it's granted us the privileges we're enjoying today.

    This whole journey has also forced us to look at areas where we were spending unnecessary money. We dropped our cable over a year ago which has saved us at least $100 a month and I've learned to buy cheaper foods while still being healthy. We don't eat out very much at all as we prefer to cook at home, so that saves us a lot of money. Just generally being thrifty with our shopping/buying patterns and not impulse buying nearly as much as we used too. Another HUGE impact is we've dramatically cut back on alcohol consumption which has saved us A LOT of money. We still enjoy dark red wines, mead, port, cider, but it's not excessive like it used to be. So yeah, we still "Treat Yo Selves" but in moderation.

    I'm extremely grateful we've been able to achieve the lifestyle we've wanted for years. Here's hoping we can continue to keep living this way as long as we can.

    When it comes to exploring downshifting/minimalist living, etc. it's definitely an extremely flexible option and not a "one size fits all" deal. My experiences are just my own and it works well for where I'm at in my life, while others experiences and life situations may vary. Regardless, if a person is interested in this way of living, there are infinite ways to go about experiencing the lifestyle, from small changes to the more dramatic ones. What's most important is to find a style that works for the individual and their life situation and how it fits with your goals and values in what you want in life...
    Last edited by Somnia; October 6th, 2019 at 06:26 AM.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somnia View Post
    *** UPDATE ***

    Resurrecting this old thread of mine, ;P


    I'm happy to say I have been living my career dream of working 2 nights a week and making things work for my partner and I! Of course it took A LOT of financial planning, and also getting our house paid off 3 years ago made a huge impact on our finances. We've definitely worked hard at tackling that financial hump and it's granted us the privileges we're enjoying today.

    This whole journey has also forced us to look at areas where we were spending unnecessary money. We dropped our cable over a year ago which has saved us at least $100 a month and I've learned to buy cheaper foods while still being healthy. We don't eat out very much at all as we prefer to cook at home, so that saves us a lot of money. Just generally being thrifty with our shopping/buying patterns and not impulse buying nearly as much as we used too. Another HUGE impact is we've dramatically cut back on alcohol consumption which has saved us A LOT of money. We still enjoy dark red wines, mead, port, cider, but it's not excessive like it used to be. So yeah, we still "Treat Yo Selves" but in moderation.

    I'm extremely grateful we've been able to achieve the lifestyle we've wanted for years. Here's hoping we can continue to keep living this way as long as we can.

    When it comes to exploring downshifting/minimalist living, etc. it's definitely an extremely flexible option and not a "one size fits all" deal. My experiences are just my own and it works well for where I'm at in my life, while others experiences and life situations may vary. Regardless, if a person is interested in this way of living, there are infinite ways to go about experiencing the lifestyle, from small changes to the more dramatic ones. What's most important is to find a style that works for the individual and their life situation and how it fits with your goals and values in what you want in life...
    Congratulations on getting the life you want (work to live, don't live to work, as they say).
    Some people think to live such a life they'd have to give up everything, when all one needs to do is break free of impulse shopping mindsets and be able to ask one's self "is this something I only want cause it's shiney and new? Will I still want this six months from now?"

    Forever Running, RunningRed

  10. #50
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    Congrats on your strides, Som!

    Wow, my last post on this thread was a long time and what feels like several lives ago. I was in my last semester at university. Since then I've done unpaid internships/jobs, finished my Master's, taken several field jobs in other states, and eventually moved across the country to a much more expensive city, but one that provides me more access to the type of work I enjoy. It's been a crazy few years of basically pushing myself to whatever extreme it takes to keep following my chosen career.

    So, I'm still at a point where I feel like relaxing my efforts at all career-wise is not tenable. Even going as hard as I do, I'm still kind of scrabbling to get by and haven't come close to reaching a point of stability.

    The good news is that it seems I may have finally landed myself more *consistent* income, but how that may end up complicating other facets of my life remains to be seen.

    I will say, though, that we now live in a smaller apartment, and one with its own washer and dryer, and I like it so much better. I also own my own vehicle outright now, and that has helped smooth our lifestyle out.

    I really enjoy upkeeping our small apartment, with my set of houseplants and whatnot. Since I made that last post in this thread, I've also taken up cooking as a hobby and have become a lot healthier through that and a more consistent exercise routine. I need to get some more worms for my vermiculture bin - always trying to cut waste, and since I eat a lot of produce these days, I have a lot of scraps.

    My goals are still pretty much geared toward making strides in my career and finding more financial / schedule stability rather than in pumping the brakes on those fronts.

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