Our Go Out & Play List

First a bit of housekeeping…I wanted to let everyone know that our 2018 Food Waste Project is back on track. For the past few months, we’ve been locked out of the dumpster area of our “favorite” store. The store reopened on Wednesday and today is their grand opening. In fact, if you’re reading this early enough in the day, that’s probably where we are.

Angie was super excited to see that we were back in business and after browsing the new and improved aisles on Friday, we took a quick peek in the dumpster. It was mostly boxes this time, but we did find one lonely apple rolling on the asphalt. We also noticed on the wall by the check out, the store has posted info on their sustainability policies. I didn’t see anything specific to food waste, so time will have to tell whether the store’s new look also yields a new attitude on dealing with waste. If not, our “time off” from dumpster diving has not been wasted (no pun intended). We found a wealth of new sharing partners for any upcoming food finds.

June is just a few days away and with it comes two things: summer and our apartment lease renewal (otherwise known as the 10th Annual Great Lease Debate). This time every year, we look at the rent increase and cry. Then we talk about tiny houses, RVs, and moving to another apartment. It’s a process, one that some of my family members find silly, but it works. After researching and weighing our options, we usually conclude that staying put is the most cost-effective solution.

Given that we aren’t leaving the area (just yet), we thought it might be fun to create a summer bucket list to get out and enjoy some of our local parks and attractions. We call it our “Go Out & Play List” and on it we tried to include a few things we have not done before.

  • Hit golf balls at the driving range
  • Go tubing
  • Visit a cave
  • Take a train ride
  • Attend a community event
  • Visit a museum
  • Go letterboxing
  • Go to a movie, concert, or play in the park
  • Go swimming:
    • in a lake
    • in a creek
    • in a waterfall
    • in a pool
  • Go for a hike:
    • by moonlight
    • overnight
    • to a waterfall
    • more than 6 miles long
    • in the morning/sunrise
    • somewhere new
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Rent kayaks
  • Host a family dinner picnic in the park

To get a jumpstart on our summer bucket list, we bought a couple of 99 cent golf clubs at Goodwill last Wednesday and went to the driving range. For two years, we have lived less than a mile from a golf course, having no idea that it was a public course owned/operated by the Parks Department. What that means exactly is this – it’s CHEAP! We spent an hour hitting balls for just $3.50. Since neither of us had swung a club in nearly a decade (and one of us has never played a single round of golf in her life – that would be me), it was a comical experience. The laughter alone was worth the effort.

Afterwards, we dipped our toes in the creek and picked up our 3rd CSA basket of the season.

It was a wonderful day!

Having a playlist of summer activities is a great idea for everyone. When those times come (and they will) that you want to go outside but just can’t think of exactly what you want to do for the day, having a list comes in handy.

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Imagining a Moneyless Life

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about money and the impact that it has on a minimalist life. A few things have conspired to place this at the forefront of my mind, but none more so than seeing a family member’s life changed by a rather large and completely unexpected monetary gift. Without going into details, let me just say that the change was not for the better and witnessing it has left us further convinced that we want to live a life that requires very little money.

But just how little can one reasonably expect to live on?

While out for a walk last week, Angie and I spent some time pondering this question. We decided that the amount we need to live a good life is not all that much. This isn’t new news though. For the past 18 months, we’ve lived on a single part-time income for the sole purpose of having more time to take these types of pondering walks. But could we go even lower in our reliance on money? What about living a life without any money whatsoever?

I’ve read a few books and articles about folks who live with no money. Perhaps the most famous moneyless man, Daniel Suelo, has lived off/on in a Utah cave since 2000. Heidemarie Schwermer, who passed away in 2016, lived in voluntary poverty for 17 years and Mark Boyle lived 3 years without money before authoring the book, The Moneyless Manifesto (which is free, by the way). A new Australian contender, Jo Nemeth, began living without money in 2015 to reduce her environmental impact.

As we walked, we daydreamed about living our own moneyless lifestyle – homesteading in a tiny house, picking food from our own garden. We even threw in a few chickens and a hammock among the trees where we could read books from the library when we weren’t dumpster diving. Oh…and there was a solar panel to run our fridge and laptop. It all sounded so nice, until we tried to figure out…

Who’s going to pay the land taxes every year?

What happens when I fall out of that hammock or Angie trips over a chicken and we need stitches?

How will we get the necessities that we can’t grow or trade for – like toothpaste?

Are we going to give up travel? If not, how far can we go on a bicycle? And just where did this free bicycle come from anyway?

But most importantly – where are we going to get free coffee??

I suppose with a little ingenuity, we could stitch ourselves up, grow some herbs for a tooth powder, and ride our free bicycle to the nearest friend’s house every morning to bum a free cup of coffee. Perhaps this isn’t such a far-fetched scheme after all…hmm…

Okay, so complete moneylessness may be out,  but there are still ways to live without much cash. Here are a few moneyless ideas we came up with during our dreaming and scheming:

  • Join Freecycle or check the barter/trade/free sections of Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or apps like OfferUp and LetGo to find items you may need (or want).
  • Plant a garden using saved seeds from a Seed Exchange (or from a friend’s garden).
  • Check out your local library for free books, magazines, newspapers, movies, video games, events, classes, and more. (We love our library! They even offer free tea.)
  • Host a clothing swap with your friends. This works well for other items too, like jigsaw puzzles, sporting goods, baby items, and kitchen gadgets.
  • Go dumpster diving.
  • Get a free check-up at a Health Fair. We recently attended a health fair where not only did we get our annual mammogram for free, but we went home with a t-shirt, a water bottle, and a fresh fruit cup.
  • Catch a free ride. If you’re not into hitchhiking (and we are NOT), you can browse Craigslist for rideshare prospects or find a promo/coupon for a free ride from one of the major rideshare apps, like Lyft or Uber. You can also walk or bike to your destination for a truly “free ride”.
  • Take your pet to a free shot clinic. Every April, our community offers free rabies shots for dogs and cats. Other required immunizations are offered at a substantial discount, saving you a trip to the vet.
  • Try couchsurfing next time you travel. Or pitch a tent on BLM land – it’s free.
  • Take advantage of free community events. We especially enjoy free movies in the park, free day at local museums or the zoo, and free festivals (like Farm Fest).
  • Pick up freebies at the grocery store. In our area, both Kroger and Food Lion regularly offer freebies on their mobile apps.
  • Score free meals by signing up for restaurant loyalty programs or birthday clubs. This is harder for us since going almost vegetarian but Jersey Mike’s, Fazoli’s, and Panera are still good options.

Personally, I think it’s kind of fun to imagine living a moneyless lifestyle. If nothing else, it’s a great mental exercise and if you do implement a few moneyless practices into your current situation, all the better!

What moneyless solutions can you add to the conversation?