Okay. So you know the expenses of owning your own home.
Or if you don’t or you rent, here’s something to learn. We have an underground sprinkler system, the first one we’ve ever encountered in all the homes we’ve lived in.
And I must say, it’s the biggest money-sucker going!
The system wouldn’t turn on when the sprinkler guy came to start it up. Seems the “key” head is broken, which requires them to dig down about eight feet or so all around the FRONT yard, then replace the meter with another, then do something else, I don’t remember, but most important of all to hand us an invoice for $895.oo. I think that’s including tax.
And for $895.oo we will fix it.
Well let me get out my checkbook! Isn’t that disgusting? I don’t mean the sprinkler company; they’re just doing their job. But the WHOLE CONCEPT of having to have all of this nonsense. At least when you live in New Jersey it is.
Three years ago just to get this SAME sprinkler system up and running we spent over $1,000. to have it fixed, because it was broken entirely. Now, again?! I don’t think so.
My husband went to Lowe’s and picked up a new sprinkler that you walk around and position here, there and everywhere. Only thing is you do the actual walking and positioning. And it doesn’t come on by itself, you have to turn it on and off.
Have we gotten that ridiculous that we can’t do simple things like turn water on and off? Or cut grass? Or bake a cake? Or clean our own home?
Simple things. Where have they gone?
Or does all of THAT take away from the patina that somehow we are better than our neighbors or co-workers or family. Because when you can SAY you don’t do those things anymore, what does that SAY about you?
I remember growing up on a small street in Roselle Park, NJ. It only ran between Clay and Webster Avenues, and everyone on it did their own outdoor work. Those were the days when you had a hand mower; something you pushed along the grass yourself. Most people really didn’t water their lawns, everyone just relied on the weather.
It wasn’t until we moved to Cranford in 1964 that we found a taste of hoity-toity. (If that’s a word.) People across the street had a gardener.
For a little plot of green grass out front and a small backyard, a gardener? But, it looked good and probably felt really good when you said that to someone else. Mind you, these were the days before “landscaping” companies.
Then there were the bridge clubs and pool get-togethers that you could join. Slowly, I began seeing another world than the one I was living in. A world exclusive to some. Not to most.
As the years passed, the allure of “keeping up” just keeps chugging along.
And, do you want to know why? Because it LOOKS good. It has a charm all its own. But, what do you or anyone really know about what goes on behind closed doors? Of jobs that end, or bills that can’t be paid?
I see it all over; the “keeping up appearances” look. If so-and-so has it, I just have to go out and get it too! Now. No, not now. If it doesn’t really fit into your lifestyle RIGHT NOW, skip it.
I like living my own life my own way. Not breaking the law or anything, simply doing things for myself. And not worrying what the neighbors think. When we lived in New Hampshire we had no one around our inn; no prying eyes looking out windows or watching everyone’s every move. In Pennsylvania we lived on 4 wooded acres and everyone else kept to themselves, too. I think that’s why they lived there.
It’s great to have friends, to see people you know beyond working hours or because they live next door. I belong to a number of Facebook groups and enjoy seeing the same names there that I can chat with.
I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands. (As this blog post attests to!) Knitting is so relaxing a hobby and keeps your fingers and wrists nimble.And you can knit in a group or by yourself. There are any number of online places to share your knitting with, too. Places like Ravelry, Etsy and more.
More and more I’m leaving off the commercial things I’ve always bought in the stores. Because knitting has brought me to a whole new understanding of doing things with my hands.
For instance, there’s always one of my homemade cleaning solutions to mix up; such as laundry detergent or bathroom cleaners. In fact, I’m just about out of laundry detergent and will be mixing up a new batch probably tonight. (After I get home from babysitting my grand daughters.)
I already have all the ingredients just waiting to be mixed up. Since I’ve had the batch that just finished up since February, I’m thinking this new batch should last me through pumpkin season!
Looking for the laundry detergent ingredients? Here they are:
1 Box of Arm & Hammer Borax (4 lb. 12 oz.)
1 Box of Super Washing Soda (3lb. 7oz.)
1 3-lb. Container of OxyClean
2 Bars of Zote or Fels Naphtha soap
1 4lb. Box of Baking Soda
2 Bottles of Purex Crystals Fabric Enhancer
(That link I just gave you for the Borax also includes the Super Washing Soda. It’s a great deal from Amazon!)
I recently came across a box of Zote FLAKES; it’s already grated so you don’t have to do it. It’s 17 oz, where the bars are 5 oz. each, so just use three-quarters of the box. 🙂
In a large 5-lb. tub, combine all your ingredients, grate the soap if you can’t find the Zote flakes. Put the ingredients in incrementally; a little of this and a little of that until it’s all combined. Then stir it up with a big spoon and use 2-4 tablespoons per load.
My big bucket lasted me from February to the end of June. And I do about 6 loads of wash per week.
Start today with making just ONE THING at home, that you would normally buy. Remember, ingredients like Arm & Hammer products have been around since the 1860s! They’re that good.
There is nothing easier than making your own sweet, clean, simple cleaning products! They are just as effective as anything you buy in the stores and will last a lot longer for the money.
Now isn’t that simple?
All I’m saying is that living a simple life doesn’t need to include all the frills and whistles you see other people using. Saving money will not happen if you start putting out for every “luxury” under the sun.
I’ve learned this over the years. It’s not something, especially in the culture we live in, that comes naturally. We are BOMBARDED with ads, commercials, Internet ads, emails, billboards, stores and more stores, where everything we could ever want or need is practically at our fingertips. It’s TOO easy sometimes, to accumulate things or sign up for something. Like a sprinkler company. 😉
But, also over the years I’ve always done things WITH MY HANDS.
I love to work with my hands. From baking to needlepoint, crocheting and knitting, to gardening and decorating, I love all of it!
There is the greatest satisfaction when you work with your hands!
A simple life, if you will. Not one filled to the brim with stuff and more stuff. (Because how much stuff can anyone have?) But, a life filled with good things for you and your family. Fulfilling hours doing creative things that you love to do. Not wondering about what the neighbors think, or believing you have to “keep up” with them.
Our grass, by the way, looks as green as everyone else’s. You know, the ones who run their underground sprinklers three times a day. And we’ve had quite the dry spell here in New Jersey so far this summer. Go figure.
Another good idea for