Another thing I saw in the tiny house movement was people giving up jobs they hated, moving out of towns they didn’t like, and leaving situations they were uncomfortable with anyway. Sure they got rid of a lot of stuff but what did they give up that they really like?
As this started out we didn’t mind living in a smaller space. We didn’t mind getting rid of a lot of stuff. I got a storage unit even after I got rid of things and made a vow that if I didn’t visit the storage in three months I would clean it out. I gave most of my furniture to my friend who just moved here from Texas. Got rid of books and clothes and shoes. Despite my age I didn’t have that many belongings I don’t have a lot of dishes we didn’t have any pots and pans, I had just bought them when my friend moved here. The vagabond lifestyle right? No, just another lifestyle full of bad decision-making surrounding money and any thoughts of future thingy’s. But alas we carry-on.
Michael and I were not leaving jobs we hated we like our jobs. Sure it would be great to not work but having our own businesses does let us make our own hours. One thing we are having to give up that we really like is drinking and smoking.
All these people in the tiny house movement don’t have any issues apparently. No one had to give up drugs or deal with a mad ex-wife? No one’s hiding from a restraining order? No one’s doing anything bad? They all live just happy lives and are making all these happy choices apparently. One overriding aspect I found as I looked to this movement for inspiration and a positive spin on living with very little was that one really made this move because they were on the brink of anything.
We were on the brink of many things. Michael: A divorce and moving and becoming a Weekend Dad. Me: moving YET AGAIN, becoming a Weekend Mom AND being in a New Relationship. Both of us re- evaluating our lives on OUR TERMS.
We spent the first six months drunk. There, I said it. Why? Because we could AND ITS FUN. Then he got his apartment and the kids. They cried when they caught him smoking. We’re still working on that one, we smoke the four days we don’t have kids.
They were introduced to ME at brunch. They asked if they could call me Mom. They call me Weekend Mom now. Things changed. We had to change. If we wanted to pay rent we were going to have to make a budget thingy.
Apparently his children are STARVING and must eat every ten minutes. We would also have to pay rent AND buy food. Bummer.
Making A Budget 101
Step #1: LOOKING AT YOUR UGLY HONEST BANK ACCOUNT
This is the worst intervention of yourself known to mankind. It doesn’t lie and honestly I’m surprised my bank has not already put me on a plane to a nice happy REHAB somewhere in Arizona. Wow. I SUCK. If you are willing to look at what you ACTUALLY SPEND ON BEER you have the hardest step down. Add this frivolous stuff up. I could have bought a new car by now. We considered feeding the kids Ramen and water on the weekends so we could keep our habit up; but alas, we deterred that. WE WOULD HAVE TO CUT DOWN ON GOING OUT. (Sorry El Charrito, that new wing will have to wait.) We would have to start buying food at those places where they sell food.
Step #2: Add up what you make at your job.
Step #3: Don’t spend all of it on going out.
It’s very simple to make a budget thingy see? Actually carrying through with it is the hard part. We do stay home a lot more. We got cable. We bought some tennis racquets at Good Will (well they are racquetball racquets but the kids don’t know that) so we can go to the park on the weekends and not just be some sort of ‘handlers’ for the children that must be entertained 24-7. Tiring them out is good. Sometimes we stay home and tell them to get over it, life is boring sometimes Get Used to It.
We added up in our budget thingy how much we need to spend on food, gas, and bills. We decided on an amount that is reasonable for going out and said we’d cut down to twice a week. We went WAY OVER THE FIRST WEEK. The execution of this budget thing will take some time I’m afraid. The one key to it though is constantly reviewing it and KEEP LOOKING AT THAT NEVER LYING BANK ACCOUNT. It keeps you humble. We review our numbers WEEKLY.
We also made a list of fun FREE things to do so we feel like we have some options. Some of them were to fix up, and have fun decorating the Tiny Apartment. We have plenty to do, it’s just the changing of habits that will be hard. We had to find new motivation in this new life of ours. We make enough to have some fun, and pay bills, we want to save for a trip. Save for a car. Save to just Have Money. That feels good.
So this is an ongoing process. You don’t just Make a Budget. It doesn’t Magically Work. Staying on one is the hard part. I’ll keep you posted on that.