trailer living

We recently made the decision to move from a delightfully spacious home in a new subdivision to a 70s-style trailer home in *ahem* a trailer home neighborhood. There are days when I regret it, but they are becoming less frequent now as we walk out some of the benefits. Here they are.

  • We’re saving $600 per month.
  • We can afford to put more money toward our debts as well as buy mostly organic food.
  • We didn’t have to go into (more) debt when Keith was out of work for two months immediately after we moved.
  • What with many of our belongings still piled on the porch, I have a good reason to purge extra stuff.
  • I now know that living in a yurt will (probably) never be for us. Glad we didn’t try it first.
  • When we move again, I will forever be glad to live in a bigger home.
Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

gourmet pizza for less

It’s been about six months since we discovered a little secret about our favorite take-and-bake pizza place.

If you go to Papa Murphy’s within an hour before closing, and especially at the tale end of that hour, it is incredibly easy to get a good deal. We’re told the reason is that people often call in orders throughout the day and then don’t pick them up. Additionally, the employees occasionally make pizzas incorrectly. These add up to the fact that the place tends to have a good number of extra pizzas at the end of the day which will need to be thrown away unless somebody buys them.

This is where we come in.

Last night, Keith picked up a large deep dish pizza, breadsticks, and a dessert pizza for under $7. Another time, we got three pizzas for $9. These are huge gourmet pizzas, mind you. We’ve probably hit them up ten times or more for good deals. Whatever we can’t eat, we toss in the freezer, and then we have delicious pizza to choose from whenever we need it.

I’d say we average $3 per pizza, which is not bad for a huge amount of fresh ingredients and enough to feed us both for two or three meals. I doubt we could make the whole thing ourselves for that cheap.

And neither of us mind having an excuse to buy pizza.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Comments (1)  

neighborhood arboretum

Rilla and I just returned from yet another walk to our free neighborhood arboretum.

Our new neighborhood is one of the worst ever for somebody who likes to go on walks. Dead end one block north, dead end two blocks east, dead end one block west. We can either walk in a two-block square or we can go two blocks south to one of the busiest streets in the city. Beyond that lies the freeway. Not a very great set-up, but fortunately our time here is cheap and (God-willing) only for a season. There does happen to be a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center nearby, though, and I have designated it our own personal arboretum.

I always feel rather silly leaving the house just to walk a few blocks to Lowe’s, but I return surprisingly refreshed. Here are the benefits to having a Lowe’s in our neighborhood:

  • Thousands of beautiful blooms and no weeding.
  • Smooth aisles to stroll up and down.
  • Gives me a destination for our daily walks.
  • Teaches Rilla to appreciate flowers.
  • Soothes my frequent longing for a flower garden.

Seems ridiculous, right? But I am learning to appreciate and be thankful for ridiculous money-saving resources such as this one. And it is fun to watch my not-quite-five-month-old daughter gaze with mouth agape at the bright blooms all around her. She recently entered the shoving-things-in-her-mouth stage, so I can’t hand her broken flowers to hold anymore, but she is beginning to enjoy looking at and touching the water flowing through the store’s numerous lovely fountains. Plus she’s always nice and tired when we come back home, so I can put her down for a good nap and bask in the afterglow of a good outing.

Hmmm… Rilla’s nap is over, and thus so is this post.

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm  Comments (1)  

so long, cell phones

We’re finally eliminating our cell phones.

It’s been on the to-do list for a while. There is enough information out there about the neurological damage caused to fetuses, infants, children, and adults that it should have been a no-brainer for us to make the move sooner. But let’s face it, cell phones are super convenient, and it has taken us a bit of time to be willing to do without them. Every time I read another convincing article and am absolutely persuaded that the benefits outweigh the risks, though, I find myself in a predicament in which my cell phone is tremendously handy.

I’ve been waiting to try to find a good deal on a couple of pay-as-you-go phones so that Keith and I could contact each other in case of an emergency, but I think it’s time that we just bite the bullet and eliminate one of our last flexible expenses from our budget. We’ve been avoiding using them for a year or more anyway, but we still carry them around with us and leave messages for each other throughout the day. I will miss that, but our health is worth it.

And I suppose so is saving $70 each month.

But I wonder how it will go, this not-having-cell-phones thing.

I think the hardest part of getting rid of them is that it will eliminate one of our last ties to the business world. We initially got a cell phone less than three years ago so that we could have a house phone while we didn’t have a house. Then we upgraded to two phones and 2000 minutes a month (and still sometimes went over!) while we were in the thick of the business professional mode. We’ve now downgraded to 700 minutes a month but have added a house phone.

Eliminating our cell phones doesn’t just mean eliminating a convenience. It means no longer having a business line, aka accepting the fact that we really no longer have a business. At least not in the professional “Hello, you’ve reached Keith and Jamie, Branch Managers with United First Financial” message on my voicemail kind of way. It means I will have to toss in the recycling bin all of those lovely brochures with our phone number blazed on the back. It means my business cards are no longer accurate. And so I guess somehow it means letting go of the dream/plan/goal of being successful business professionals. We’ve already let that go in so many other ways; why am I so reluctant to let go of the cell phones?

They’ve been shown to cause brain cancer and neurological disfunction, after all.

But it’s pride, really. My cell phone is my tie to the days of pinstriped dress pants, high heels, and assisting to run a multi-million-dollar company. I was the manager of the department that kept the company going, and I kept the department going. I still have the personal cell phone numbers of the UFirst principals on my phone, and probably some old texts from them. But I resigned, and we moved on, and we know now that if we “do” UFirst, it won’t be as seemingly successful professionals. It will be as Keith and Jamie, Bible college grads who live in a trailer and garden in tires and love the Lord and happen to know a thing or two about finances. This is really us, this is really what we can afford, and the Money Merge Account really works if you let it. And so it’s time to get rid of our cell phones, along with the $70-per-month charge, the neurological hazards, and the pride.

Maybe I should get rid of those high heels while I’m at it.

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment