Frugal Living? Minimalist Lifestyle? Stockpiling? Homesteading? Prepping? Urban Farming? Holy bejeesus there’s a lot of buzzwords out there right now! Almost as many as there are for those diet fads out there now. But what in the hell do any of them even mean? These are my interpretations of each one:
Frugal Living- This is essentially avoiding waste. Be it wasting time, wasting resources, money, food, etc. Living frugally means paying attention to what you’re buy, kind of a waste not way of life. Buying only what you need and not letting it go to waste.
Minimalist Living- Owning just the essentials. In many cases this means buying high quality things that don’t wear out as easily, in order to get the most use before ever having to buy again. My understanding here, is essentially you’re striving to own as few things as possible and everything owned is functional.
Stockpiling- I’m not talking about zombie apocalypse stuff here, just being prepared. Having enough food, hygiene, cleaning, and daily living products on hand to be able to sustain yourself and your family for a given amount of time. The amount of time completely depends on the person. Some it’s a few days to a week, others months or even years.
Homesteading- There are various levels of homesteading, however all strive to achieve the same thing. Complete self sufficiency, meaning using and living on only what you grown, raise, and make yourself, again though, there are various levels of this.
Prepping- Sometimes this is combined with stockpiling, but added upon. People who are “preppers” also come in various “levels” some being more extreme than others. Preppers take it upon themselves to learn skills to help them survive and provide for their family in extreme situations.
Urban Farming- This one is pretty self explanatory, urban farmers are people that live in urban areas yet still do what they can to provide their own food, herbs, etc. In some cases, they’re homes with small yards raising small animals and gardens, in other cases they’re apartment dwellers with window box gardens and balconies/patios with container gardens.
Some people and their families fall into multiple catagories. Some families only fit one of these molds perfectly. Some families like certain aspects of one of these, yet make it their own. Then, there’s us. I’m still trying to come up with one of these buzzwords we can call ourselves (any ideas? let me know!).
We like a lot of the ideas of frugal living, seeing as we need to save as much money as we can to pay off the debt we do have. We also live in a way where we buy as much as we can used, and use what we have until we can’t use it anymore (yes, I totally have a pair of work jeans that are becoming more patches than jeans). We don’t have TV in our house, we use an app on a tablet called Showbox (free movies and tv streaming) so all we pay for is internet which we need for the business anyway. We’re looking into finding a cheaper cell phone alternative. We live in a small (less than 600 square feet small) house, we bought it as a rent-to-own, and paid it off in about 23 months, so yes, I’m 28 and own my own home, no matter how small it is. Our cars were all purchased used (I have a ’93 suburban I bought on Craigslist that doubles as a work truck and I totally still have the Ford Ranger I’ve had since I was a Junior in high school), and paid for with cash. We also like a few of the minimalist ideas. I hate clutter, and currently our house is FULL of it, which I’m trying to get rid of. I’m trying to live by the idea, if it’s not useful or beautiful then it needs to leave. However, having 15 spatulas (which we totally did) is unnecessary, so we’re minimizing what we do have to just what we actually need. Stockpiling is something I take semi-seriously. I’m downsizing my wardrobe and the boyfriends (although there are a few pieces I just don’t have the heart to part with). We work to keep a decent stockpile here, but that’s more just so we don’t have to buy so much at a later date than to save us from impending doom. We do have a large, commercial quality, upright freezer (thank you Craigslist) that I attempt to keep stocked. We use the “Grocery Surplus” store here in town to buy a lot of our meats and things, as they get them frozen completely solid and sell them for a fraction of the cost. I buy on sales, and the case lot sales our local grocery store has every few months. I try to keep a stock of deodorant, bath soap, toilet paper, dish soap and other essentials. I don’t go crazy on these things, but I do buy enough to get us buy for a while. I’d like to get better at couponing, but only use it for essentials (I’m sorry, we don’t need 400 bottles of BBQ sauce and I have no where to put it). Homesteading is our ultimate goal. We have plans and are working toward buying our own piece of property eventually (that’s why we gotta get rid of all our debt now). A property we can use to grow and raise as much of our own things as we can, and a property we can earn our income from. We make a lot of the things we use, I try to make as much from scratch as I can. We also fix everything we possibly can instead of tossing it out and buying new. I also thrift shop as much as possible (maybe that’s more frugal) and almost everything we have, we bought used. We also, well, we don’t have normal 9-5 jobs, and from time to time our income is based off of us being inventive and doing what we can (this last weekend we hauled 6,000 lbs of cactus, but made enough money to pay 1/4 of our bills for next month for example). I feel like some prepping can go here too. There’s a lot of things we’re able to do, that many others aren’t in order to help ourselves along if something would ever happen.
We don’t live like most people, and Lord Almighty does everyone let me know that! We don’t need to, and we do just fine. I like the freedom of living like we do. I love the chances we have, and the fact we can be together a lot. Mr. Smivie is fascinated by the fact that I’m not like “normal” girls, and the more I introduce him to blogs I read, the more he realizes we aren’t alone in this. We don’t need new, flashy cars. We don’t need a giant house, or expensive clothes. I buy as much as I can from the dollar store (they’re my weakness). But it’s a way of life that works for us.
So, let me challenge you with this. Frugal living, homesteader, prepper, minimalist, whatever. Why fit into a specific mold or name? Why not figure out what works for you, learn as much as you can, and make decisions for yourself? I mean, it is your life after all.