we now take a brief break from our moving and downsizing saga....sort of
Sunday morning I travel to church a good twenty to thirty minutes away, depending on traffic. It's the closest progressive church in the Dallas area (a separate discussion for a separate time). For the most part, I try to keep Sunday for church, family and quiet time. At least once a month however, I do make some stops on the way home. There are a few specific shops that are on my way, and it makes sense to save gas and make this a "combined trip". These stops include the office supply store where they refill my cartridges, Joanne's fabrics, the Barnes and Noble bookstore, and Catherine's clothing store. On this occasion, I needed fabric-there was a specific color of blue, and I simply did not have it.
While there, I decided to hit Catherine's and check out their clothing. I walked into the store, stood looking, and felt a wave come over me. I wear extremely seasonal colors. Women readers will understand when I say I had my "colors done" years ago, and they were correct. I wear bright blues and greens, yellow, cream, Lavender and soft pink on top-with some variations. A great portion of the year, these colors are hard to find-even in thrift stores, where I do the majority of shopping. This store was full, especially of bright blue and green. While I did not purchase anything yesterday, I plan on going tomorrow and buying at least one if not two tops. At full price, and not on sale.
Which of course, leads me to one of my two points. I can afford to buy this brand new, not on sale top for two reasons. First, because I only buy a few things that I really like. Secondly, because at least ninety percent of my shopping is done only at deep discount end of season prices or at used outlets. It's precisely because I spend most of my time at goodwill and the sale racks that I can afford to by this one sixty dollar top. Being able to make this kind of purchase on rare occasions is important to my quality of life, and worth the lack of spending all the other times. It's worth noting here that I don't consider shopping at Goodwill to be a drudge or a punishment, and many of the items I purchase there are just as good quality as my brand new not on sale top. I don't mean to imply that goodwill shopping is depression, or misery-it's a treasure hunt).
This retirement financial philosophy can be translated to many parts of my life. Most of the time I eat simple and tasty homemade meals with loss leader priced items-chicken with wine in the slow cooker, beef stew, chili, and the like at this time of year. Because I eat this way and don't mind doing so, I am able on rare occasions to buy those gourmet items that I love-lobster tails and rack of lamb for example. Eating home most of the time allows eating out once in awhile.
Recently I decided to downsize my home. I was stretched on my income and had become "house poor". All of my money was going to house, or house maintenance. I enjoy my home and love being a homebody-traveling half the year would not work for me. But being forced to be a home all the time was not working for me either. When I first opened this discussion some time back (long before actually listing this house),most people applauded me. A couple folks said they were sad and this was a terrible decision. I should be willing to sacrifice everything to keep my house. If, I say again IF, this house was paid for or close to being paid for I suppose that might have worked for me. However, I am not ready to cocoon for the rest of my life yet.
After I leave Dallas I will be visiting with a sister who has lovingly invited me and my poochies into her house for a month or so while I find a new place to live. I intend to rent for a full year-a smaller house, probably a two bedroom-maybe even a nice patio apartment for the dogs. In year or so, I may look for a longer term living situation after I learn my new town. I may buy a small house, I may buy a condo, I may stay as a renter. I don't know yet.
I do know that by cutting my costs and my space by a third to a half (as well as changing locations), I am opening up many more possibilities. More time with family. The ability to decide on the spur of the moment on rare occasions to eat out, to shop, to pay for an expensive craft fair space or to jump in the car and take a trip for a week or so. I have even looked at the smallest size of camper/motor home as a way to increase my quilt business and let me go further afield. I'll be able to give more to church and charities than I have been, and be able to quilt when the mood hits (but I'll still sell my goodies). I'll even be able to help my son as he jumps of the precipice into his own business (as he cannot find a job) in some small ways.
In other words, while I'm living smaller in terms of size, I'll be living even larger and more richly in retirement in terms of overall lifestyle. I'm looking forward to making my new space mine and settling in. I'm ready to go.
Now, if I could just do the math and figure out how much of this stuff will fit into a twenty food truck, I would be happy. My mind doesn't do that kind of visualization, and I have to load the truck and have the house empty in the same day-I expect my buyers to be here with their truck one hour after closing! Arggggggggg!