Take A Bow


A reader recently emailed me with her story of conquering debt and simplifying.

Over a year ago she and her husband were mulling over all the extras they would buy and do with an upcoming increase in income. It was regular stuff, stuff that I know well: renovations and vacations.

Then they found Dave Ramsey and this blog.

It changed everything.

Instead of buying more they took a step back and started giving things away. Instead of upgrading they made do, and enjoyed, all the things they already had.

They quickly paid off a big chunk of debt. Now they’re tackling their mortgage.

I love reading these stories from people that have decided to live differently.

Not move to a commune different or sell the house and buy an RV to travel the country different.

Just different from what their peers or their family or the spring ‘must-haves’ list from Lucky magazine are telling them is the normal way to live.

Spend less. Have less. Do more.

I’ve collected a little shout out list below of people deciding to live different.

Rachel’s Shout Out List

Little Green Village Made $946 in April turning clutter into cash.

The Minimalist Year Donated a car load of stuff including dozens of mini muffin cups for the mini muffin pan she never owned.

Rethinking The Dream Sold their big house and moved into a two bedroom apartment. Now they’re able to travel more and have more family time with a shorter commute.

Not Buying Anything Pony Rider sent me to this blog (thanks!). Radical living without buying anything except groceries and guitar strings and not selling anything. We’re not aiming for this style of living but I applaud their efforts.

las maison des minous is biking more and driving less.

Stacy is getting the word out about cycling as a family and all the great benefits to living car-lite.

Momma Jorje has been running Minimalist Monday since October. If you’re a blogger you can grab the Minimalist Monday badge and make it part of your weekly posting schedule.

Hugs and Strawberries ran Project Simplify in March. Great before and after photos.

Mama Loves Life is cutting her living space in half. This will allow her a lot of freedom financially. Bonus: less to clean.

Green Veggies is getting rid of things they don’t use. Love that they got rid of socks, not because there were holes in them, but because they just had too many.

Well done!

Anyone else making small changes?

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  • Thanks for the shout out. We’ve been on a heck of an adventure over the past couple of years, and I’m happy to be able to share it with others looking to downsize their posessions in order to create more freedom.

    I have enjoyed reading about your adventures as well. Your overseas renting, car-free, and baby/child minimalism are a constant inspiration.

  • We haven’t paid off our mortgage yet (and luckily do not have any other loans), neither moved into a trailer, but conscientious and simple living allows us to live comfortably, along with paying for law-school. All that while I work part time, so I can spend my afternoons with our kids, and my husband is and intern, studying for a career he loves. Funny how we have friends who feel envious of us, and can afford such career change. Yet most of these people have more disposable income than what we had when my DH gave up his job and went back to college. :)

  • We still have a mortgage – but we put both of our kids through private colleges without them borrowing a dime – this was a goal of ours from the first moment we talked about having kids. I have recently lost my job, I am primary breadwinner, but based on our current living style, I can still take a 3/4 pay cut in a new job and make ends meet! Our charities will receive less, we are blessed! I do have a friend who has terrible credit card debt for a variety of reasons and I am walking the simplify walk with her now that she’s ready to do so.

  • Thanks Rachel for the shout out! I love reading other people’s journeys too. I subscribe to a lot of blogs, but yours is the only one that goes to my ‘important e-mail’ on gmail, I really enjoy reading your blog. :)

  • I have read alot of people using Dave Ramsey to get out of debt. Does anyone have a recommendation as what book of his to start reading first or do you start with his blog? Thanks

    • I read The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace. I hightly recommend both. My husband and I paid of 60,000 dollars of debt in three years using principles in these books. They transformed my relationship with money. I also borrowed the Financial Peace University CDs from my mom and listened to those in my car on the way to work. I hope that helps!

    • We used the Financial Peace University CDs (also borrowed from a friend and we burned them) and listened to them on the way to work as well. I had always considered myself financially savvy – but learned it was in the way our society perceives financial intelligence – having a good credit score, etc. Dave Ramsey teaches you to throw all those ideas out the window and be money smart in ALL ways…to never NEED a credit score because you learn to live without borrowing.

  • My minimalist writing mojo has certainly took a hit this last week, so thanking you for some fab reading and also inspiration to post… I’m a massive believer that it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference long term… expect a pingback later today!

  • Woohoo thank you for the shout out – on my way to check out the other sites you listed. Reading more about other peoples’ journey keeps me on track. And I can never have enough before and after photos.

  • I have just started a blog to follow my progress on a similar track. I have started scaling back our “stuff” and trying to buy less. Over the weekend, I finally came to the life-changing decision to quit my job to stay home with the kids. It will be a pay cut (naturally) but I really think that the changes in my personal and household spending will outweigh the loss very quickly. I am also in the middle of my own “Great Declutter” and will be sharing photos very soon. (I just have to get up the courage to let other people see how MUCH stuff we really have…) Thanks for the inspiration and ideas you provide!

    Funny enough, I think that reading Dave Ramsey’s book in January 2011 probably laid the foundation for the changes that I have been making this year. He planted seeds that have been watered by life and good friends. I am so excited to see where this road will take us!

  • Suzy Orman is always talking about People, Money and then things. I think we have developed mixed up values when we focus more on the things and the money instead of people. It takes some real commitment to step out of the competition with the Joneses and just buy what you want and need, but it brings so much peace and contentment.

  • We are in the process of hugely downsizing and moving our family of 6 (including 4 kids 6 and under) into a truck and 5th wheel RV to travel full-time beginning in July. It’s been a wonderful, grand adventure just working toward that goal. We can’t wait to move onto the next phase of living in our 400 square feet–with the ever-changing world outside our front door!

  • With another child on the way we decided we “WEED” (our new family word for something that is more than a want but not necessarily a need) a new vehicle to transport our family of 5 people and two dogs. We were literally a HAIR away from buying a 2012 Expedition EL with an MSRP of $56,000. We found so many ways to justify it too! Even after spending the last year paying off way more than that in debt! Once my education debt was paid off it was SO easy to get sucked back into it all again. Luckily, someone else bought the car out from under us and it helped remind us that the decision we almost made was NOT economically sound, good for the environment, and nothing even CLOSE to the minimalist life we are putting so much effort into maintaining. Thanks yet again to the inspiration of this blog and others, we are now continuing our search for a USED, much smaller vehicle. My husband said it is recycling at its best.
    We have to constantly remind ourselves that living this way is not something you can work towards, achieve, and be done with. It is so important to have sources of support such as this blog to continue the process. Thanks!

  • Rachel – you have been an inspiration in my journey (and so my families journey – even though they didn’t know it) into minimalism! What a surprise to see my blog mentioned on a blog I read often – thank you!

  • Thanks Minimalist Mom! I’m glad to be included, and I second what Laura Anne said above–your blog, and your family’s journey, is very inspiring. Do I ever wish I had started the minimizing journey when my first baby (who is now a towering teenager) was a little one! I can’t wait to check out the other blogs on the list!

  • Oh no… now my reading list will skyrocket!

    I’m also on a debt recovery mission, but more in the conscious-spending-and-budgeting fashion rather than the selling-everything-and-going-super-minimalist approach. So far my husband and I have killed off one credit card each, and we’re snowballing onward. I haven’t read Ramsey, but blogs like this one have served as my inspiration.

    Thanks for everything you do!

  • I have recently found your blog and have been reading through the whole thing. Thanks for sharing some other sites as well. You have inspired me to act. I never realized how much the “stuff” weighed on me. And I don’t even have that much. Less to clean, more money to pay off debt, less to manage, store, organize, and deal with. You’re a life saver. Thank you so much!

  • Just looking at your “hit list” again and saw the family who purged their socks. The way socks spring holes in our house we can never have too many. My son put on new socks this morning and had 2 holes in one of them when he took them off tonight. I have no idea how he did that.

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