Sunday, September 5, 2010

Livin' Large By Not Livin' Large

Last February my boss was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to work a 4-day work week, and because I commute so far from home to work into Washington, D.C. each day (60 miles each way), this makes for a very long day.  In fact, I usually don't pull up in my driveway until almost 7:30.  As you can imagine, this doesn't allow for a lot of quality time with my husband who has to be in bed with lights out by about 9:00PM (his alarm goes off at 3:30 AM), or the animals either for that matter.  The reduced work schedule sounded great, but the only hitch was getting paid for 4 days instead of 5.  This was a significant decrease in my salary, but when Tony and I talked it over he said go for it, we'll manage, and you'll be so much happier with one less day of commuting and more time at home with the animals.  Needless to say, however, our lifestyle would change a little because of the decrease in cashflow. As a result, I've had not only just to cut down on, but almost completely cut out the luxuries we used to enjoy.  One of the first things to go was eating out.  Don't need to tell you how expensive that can be, and I think I was getting a little too used to it.  Next was online and catalog shopping.  I've always for the most part been a bargain shopper and enjoyed thrift and consignment stores, but I'd say we were previously on an acquaintance basis; now we're BFFs.  We also cut out our super duper cable package with every channel imagineable and down sized to basic cable and that was a pretty significant savings, too.  Personally I'm not much of a TV watcher, but where we live you pretty much have to have some form of cable in order to get any kind of reception at all, and God knows now that Fall is here my husband would not survive one Sunday without his NFL football!  We did manage a little weekend getaway to the mountains a couple of weeks ago as you read in my earlier post, but our annual July beach trip to Ocean City, MD went bye-bye, too. Hotel prices in peak season, as well as all the other costs associated with vacation (kenneling the dogs and paying a petsitter to come in and feed chickens and lock them in their house at night, as well as feeding the cat, have to be factored in as expenses as well) was more than we could handle. Hopefully next year we can swing it.   

I have to admit, in the beginning the adjustment was hard for me.  In fact, after I got the first paycheck reflecting the difference in salary, I wondered if I'd made the right decision. One day a week doesn't sound so awful, but you'd be surprised how you get used to it.  There is a bright side though.  It's now been 7 months into the new schedule and I realize how much "stuff" I didn't need.  I really do stop now and think long and hard before I impulsively buy something that isn't a necessity.  I've also used my day off during the week to volunteer for a couple hours, which is something I said I'd always do "when I had more time."  But mainly, I get to spend more time with my wonderful menagerie of animals that I love so much, and to sit down for a home-cooked dinner, together, with Tony (imagine that!). It's great because we never get to do that when I'm working the rest of the week.  Even made a peach pie from scratch(!) for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was really happy with the way it turned out. Yum!

Today is such a beautiful day here in Maryland. It's sunny with a light breeze, and the temperatures are hovering in the high 70's. I was outside earlier this morning hanging up clothes on the line while the birds serenaded me and chickens pecked, scratched and dusted all around me. I looked up at the clear blue sky and thought about how blessed I am, and all the reasons I have to be thankful.  How good God is! I may have lost a little bit of income as a result of my reduced work schedule, but the result wasn't catastrophic by any means.  I gained time to spend with the ones I love and it deepened my appreciation for what  really matters most to me in this life.        

Happy Sunday Everybody :-) 


  1. I'm sure you've probably seen the commercial and magazine ad for credit cards where it lists the price of certain things and then the one that has to do with a child or spouse says "priceless". There are some things you just can't put a price on. I think you made a great decision. I had to make a decision before we started having kids, work or stay home. I 'm so glad I chose to stay home. It meant many sacrifices over the years (eating out, vacations,and shopping for things other than food), but I can honestly say it was worth it!
    It's great that you and your husband have more time together now on the day when you would have been working.
    Have a blessed Sunday!

  2. Hey - your post reminds me of the financial guru Dave Ramsey who always says to live like no one else so you can live like no one else. Same premise as your post. I have plenty of income from disability, and when moving to the cabin, I'll have less bills because of no utility bills. I won't be able to shop online like I am so apt to do since it is so easy, and it's 25 min to Liberty, which doesn't offer a lot either. I'm hoping to save up some rainy day funds. My good friend Bobbett whom I will be farming with is the ultimate Fru-gal - and she is gonna help me with a good budget after I track my spending for about 6 months after moving down to Casey Co. I'm looking forward to it, having me rule my funds instead of them ruling me. Great post today. Love your alter ego, in the writing world she may be considered to be your blogging muse! LOL Take care, from central KY.

  3. THANK YOU so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your comment! I have to tell you, that in reading this post, I feel like I am reading about myself, right down to the time schedule! You have done the same things that I have done, and you are feeling the same things that I have in finding the balance between the life you want with your animals and work and all that comes with the life that is "away from it all." It is hard sometimes and I have to admit that I sometimes miss the perks from living in the city. But at the end of the day when I'm home with all our dogs and there's so much peace and quiet, I know I wouldn't trade it for anything, and my husband feels the same way! I look forward to following your blog and getting to know you a bit better! :-))

  4. I came to say hi and to thank you for your visit today. You said some words we understand too, and that is finding balance with the time we do have.
    Decisions are hard to make, and then sometimes dealing with the decisions we make is harder yet.
    Sometimes we just need to make sure there is enough time to share love and spend time with each other,,,, and tell each other how important we all are to each other.
    Its hard to balance life sometimes and survive.
    Come back again,,,, lets be friends

  5. Life's simple blessings are the very best. Sounds like you found a perfect way to enjoy them! Have a Happy Labor Day

  6. That is so nice and I know, my husband changed his career, after 22 years, left his field went into a different field and started over. Your life describes mine, if I saw something I wanted, I bought it. I knew that I wanted my husband more than a paycheck. I knew that he would end up dying of a heart attack of a stoke if he didn't change something.So, I became a farm girl. :) Once I got over the shock, life is so much better,just like you said.
    I am like you so thankful that I have my chickens and my garden and everything else.
    Thanks for all of your lovely comments and I love this post.
    I am so glad, that I was forced into a simpler life that has only reaped benefits.
    I am so glad you found me. You make me think. :)

  7. My husband and I lived in Maryland and he commuted into DC each day. We moved back to KY (our home state) to make a change in our lives several years ago, so I understand what you mean about making your sacrifice. It was quite a change moving here, but it is funny how things just work themselves out in the end.

  8. Hey that is a good idea, taking two cars. :) I will have to remember that. I forgot to to say we have hawks so I don't let mine out unless I am home. I have a small flock of bantams and the hawk thinks I bought them for him. I have chased him running and screaming and yelling and he will sit on the fence and yell at me. I have got pretty good with rocks. He will prance around in front of the coop sometimes like he is laughing at them.
    Until I moved out here, I never understood why people felt like they did, I understand, and while I have never killed a predator when the foxes get so bad we do call the trapper.
    Something I never understood until I had my own
    chickens killed.
    Thanks for your comment. It is so nice reading your thoughts.

  9. I understand perfectly. About 4 years ago I decided to quit my job and stay home on the farm. It wasn't long before I wondered if I had done the right thing.
    Now I don't regret it at all. Who knew my husband and I would be building and selling nest boxes on line? Not us. Sometimes things just fall into place.
    I now have a freezer full of fruits and vegetables grown here.More eggs than we can eat. A pantry full of canned home grown vegetables. We eat very good and we know where our food comes from-right here!
    We also cut out eating out. Plus other things,like buying something unless we absolutely need it.
    Great post!
    Have a good day.

  10. Me again, thank you for your very sweet comment, I do think ants in my pants is a very good description. I was telling my hair gal today that when I first became a Christian and I would read about these famous people and all of the way their faith was now blessing me and I asked God to be like that someday, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be or how many lessons there were going to be, Or how sometimes I would just like to give up.
    I appreciate you sharing that it is hard for you too.
    It is nice to not feel alone in this life. :)

  11. "I've always for the most part been a bargain shopper and enjoyed thrift and consignment stores, but I'd say we were previously on an acquaintance basis; now we're BFFs."
    Ha this made me giggle-you always have a way with words!

  12. Thank you for leaving your comment on my blog the other day. I'm an old, retired, woman now and I have had to cut back a lot. My husband still lives in Los Angeles because he has to work there. The silver lining for me is that I have so come to love my frugal lifestyle. I take it as a challenge and for the most part it is working great for me. I, too, have always loved thrift shops and libraries. I have no TV reception and don't miss it at all. I borrow DVDs from friends and relatives and when that runs out, there is always the library or NetFlix. I never was much of a cook or a baker, but I'm learning and enjoying it. I love hiking in the mountains with my dogs and life if good.--Inger