I Can Finally Afford To Live Cheap

I Can Finally Afford To Live Cheap

Nobody likes to spend money, even if they crave the things that this money buys them. If someone handed you the thing you want for free, you likely wouldn’t beg them to take your money in return. 

I doubt that anyone has ever woken up, read a post on personal finance, and then thought “huh, if I spend less than I make, I have more left for later?”

In other unsurprising news, a cheap life makes saving easy

I live in a small apartment in a small town by the coast these days, with just the right balance between large enough to have all the stores you need, and small enough to avoid the stupidity of hectic city life. I pay laughably low rent, have five minutes by bike until I set foot into beautiful nature, and an hour’s drive gives me access to lakes and beaches, forests and coast, and abandoned bunkers and factories to explore. 

When an hour’s drive puts you into locations like that, then you don’t have to spend money anymore, not on all the expensive things. Social life in the city means entrance fees, expensive drinks, and taxi rides home. Social life out in the sticks means driving to someone’s birthday party in a barn, and a crate of beer costs less than a single cocktail would. Sometimes, we just meet to spend a day cutting wood, or cooking together or simply just walking through nature. 

The bakery pays small-town rent as well, so any bread I buy is twenty percent cheaper, and I can even afford the occasional luxury like a ready-made sandwich. In the city, those things cost 80% of what a full lunch would, so it makes sense to skip the sandwich and buy the burger with fries or pizza lunchtime deal, or the Cesar’s salad with chicken. 

Weirdly, having more time allows living even cheaper

I will be honest: I don’t like cooking for myself, as much as I enjoy it as a group activity. Cooking is like dancing, it’s really weird when you do it on your own. 

That being said, there is a certain simplicity and peace of mind to stuffing rice into a rice cooker with vegetables, a bit of meat and then waiting twenty minutes before you fill that stuff into glass containers to freeze a couple of days’ worth of lunches. 

When you have a frying pan and time to kill, then that assorted mix of almost-fresh vegetables looks like a fun and quick recipe, even though it takes like twenty minutes out of your day. 

Or take fashion, when you run in circles where people wear rubber boots and faded sweatshirts, you can’t help but laugh at the idea of wearing hundreds of dollars on your body, before even adding all the jewelry. Street cred out here means that you bring the Fiskars axe — but if you bring the Fiskars spade instead of the garden variety hardware store brand, then everyone thinks that you are a fashion victim and spend too much money.

Here are two random horses for you, they asked me to say hi.

Remote work is here to stay, so am I.

If not for remote work, my current life would not work as well. Distances are larger out here, and fuel cost are noticeable even though I commute to work just two days a week, or not at all whenever there is a global pandemic going on. 

Related  How I Prepared For My Simple Life During My Complicated One

What I save in rent, it would cost for me to take the train to work, or drive my car there, in any other job that pays city wages to city people. 

But as things are, merely existing out here while staying employed turns me on the right path through life. There’s a guy with many tattoos who explains this concept better than I do: https://codingtofreedom.com/media/fcb36e48639cd0f890b4ad8fbd8ab21bListen to “empty bottles” “shadows” and “devil in my veins”. Thank me later.

Being a remote worker basically turns the idea of actual digital nomadism into a bit of a chore, compared to living in a more rural area around where you grew up.

Investing money in tools has finally reached the point of compound interest

From the day when I bought my first power tool, I always knew that I would end up living like this. The wise man put it best:

It is addicting to see a half-hour task of sawing through steel reduced to a ten-second-ordeal, and having an industrial-chic living room table at the end of the day. You can’t quite come out of that experience unchanged. Next thing you know, you have a basement full of tools, own three angle grinders to avoid swapping grinder attachments all the time — and people call you when they need someone with time to kill and a chainsaw to kill it with. 

What is stacking dollar bills against stacking firewood, and then sitting by a fire when winter time comes around?

To think that I own less in tools than what coworkers of mine spend on a single couch or a weeks-long vacation, and how much use I get out of them, and will for the rest of my life — screw that beach, and screw that black leather that sucks to sit on. Give me a cordless Sawzall and the smell of chainsaw oil, and a job to do instead of a beach to sit at.

You say overgrown garden, I say a day’s worth of entertainment.

I lack things that I lack

The near year is around the corner, so naturally I sit here making the obvious list for the upcoming year — only, I can’t really put that many things on it. Experiences, yes, but it took me just two years to acquire all the things I wanted and needed. Apart from my clothes, I brought frighteningly little with me from my old city life. Some savings, probably half the tools I own, and clothes.

It took just two years to consolidate my life, buy the 2,400€ V70 adventure buddy, I mean car, and get my money’s worth out of it. Social life that I enjoy, instead of the one I begrudgingly fought through back in the city. All the tech gear I need for my job and my hobbies. Audiobooks playing when I do the dishes or whatnot, and trading books and puzzles with friends. Different people in different places, some remnants of my old life who stuck around, and the job in programming that keeps me grounded in the world of tech and technicalities. Plus, more fun people there, and it feels like C# and chainsaws are both things I can get passionate about.

The only thing I lack in life are enemies, and I don’t miss them. 



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