Category: DIY

Try It On for Size

3D Problem SolvingPhoto via

On Monday, I shared our super scary hairy audacious goal to pay off our mortgage in the next 5 years. It is a terrifying prospect, but the idea of having that much more income ours to hold on to in possibly 4 years sounds heavenly. In that post, I wrote:

Instead of just committing to the goal, we’re going to spend the next two months living uber frugally. We’re going to get back to truly sticking within our food budget, and attempting to live on our lowest salary…

Instead of just stating, yes, we’re going to go forth and live miserly on pennies a day, we’ve decided it would be best to “try it on for size” first before we actually commit to the long-term plan. This gives us the ability to save additional income we had not planned to save this spring, and see if we truly can make it work and still function decently in the process.

One of the best ways to see if something will work for you is to try it out for a shorter time period. Instead of focusing on the 5 year plan, we’re focusing on the next two and a half months. If that works and we get used to it, then it’ll be easier to tackle each month going forward.

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It’ll Cost You Time or Money

When it comes down to it, every choice you make will cost you time or money. You can pay someone to do something for you or you can invest the time and learn to do it for yourself. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, some costly, some not so, but each step builds upon the next to open new doors.

When Chris and I first started out, we bought our first home with only limited knowledge of changing light bulbs or decor. Chris’ first lock changing experience was the day we moved in. That took quite a long time to do (see below with the tools all over the place)! He also never changed a toilet seat, shower head, or light fixture. Said toilet seat sitting by the front door.

We didn’t have the money to pay for even the smallest service, so we had to use our time to learn how to do it ourselves. Our parents taught us when we asked for help, but mostly we stumbled along to learn ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes, but we learned more each time and built our DIY skills and confidence in the process.

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How and Why to Cut Your Cable

cut cables

Photo Credit: Jason Eppink

When friends or colleagues find out we got rid of cable over 6 years ago, they are astonished, but are quick to say, “We could never do that.” The further into the conversation we get, they share that they are afraid to get rid of cable, as they think it’s an integral part of their lifestyle.

We found when we ditched our cable package 6 years ago we didn’t miss it much at all. It was an adjustment, but it was far more difficult than it would be today. When we removed our cable package, back in 2010, there was a limit on YouTube videos to 10 minutes and there were no streaming services like Netflix or HBO Go. You still had to rent one disc and mail it back before getting the next one.

I suggest you try it for 30 days or even a week. You can try it out without returning the cable boxes for a few days, and see how much you truly miss it. You can always add it back if you find it’s that integral to your life.

When we ditched cable, we found we had a lot more free time. We spent more time outdoors or working on side projects. I wrote more or read more books. Chris read more blogs and kept up with sports news online or on sports radio.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

It’s super easy to make your own laundry detergent. You might think this takes a lot of time, but it takes about 5 minutes and lasts about 6 months or more. The last time we made laundry detergent was before the Crab arrived, over 6 months ago, and we still had a decent amount left. This past week, I made a bit more to last another half year.

The recipe is pretty simple, you can make it complex with essential oils if you choose to, but we’re pretty easy going with our laundry scents.

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