If any of you are still with me from the beginning you may remember that when C and I headed off to Europe in a cloud of unburnt diesel we had a budget. It was £50 a day: £40 for living and £10 for fuel. What this didn’t include was van insurance, life insurance etc, which I guess we spent about another £2500 a year on. In short we were aiming to live off £20,000 a year – the two of us. All in.
And we did. In fact, when we were on the continent C was so frugal we were able to save and use that money to take us to the US to see friends, a trip to Istanbul and supported us whilst we skied. So the lesson for anyone trying this life, you need a van and income of £20k a year, you will need to think through how you spend your money, but it is absolutely possible to achieve. Indeed, we know of plenty of people who try it out with considerably less cash.
We did that for four and a half years and then moved into our (lovely) two-up, two-down in Brissol. Things changed then. For a start we lost rental income from the house; but I started to work a little more – not much, but enough to cover the loss of rental income. But we have kept the premise the same: C pays for our living and she gets £40 a day (out of that she pays for electricity, water, some charity stuff and wifi; I pay for council tax). And she still manages. And we still holiday … and we still manage to save. My work has increased over the past 6 months (for the record, I earn almost nothing from book sales) but I’m not doing more than a couple of days work a month. But ends are being met (our other rental income is paying off the mortgages … it’s a zero-sum gain for day-to-day living).
So what? Inspired by all sorts of stuff I’m going for a ‘buy-nothing’ year. C has nodded consent, but I’m not asking her to join me.
We/I don’t need anything. I have all the clothes I need, there are no gadgets that we are missing. We have a lovely van, a v competent car, a motorbike and two e-bikes. We have coats and boots and skis and snow shoes and … well, you name it and we have it. Our garage is full (massive tidy up this morning, so looking better still) and our attic is bursting (but, again, v tidy and well organised). We have a decent TV, two laptops, we both have (old) phones that do everything we need. We have all we need.
Now, something may break. Indeed the car is one major fault away from having to be replaced, and we have saved enough money to buy a similar replacement. And we will deal with breakages when they come. But, where possible, we will source second hand. That’s my plan.
So, charity shops … you have always been our friend, but now you will become bosom buddies.
And, for the record. I was with the MoD on Wednesday and at a school on Thursday, where, as well as six one-to-ones, I also facilitated a meeting on staff well-being and finished a management course I’ve been running. The final session was ‘how to plan a task’. That’s done now.
I’m a week into exchanges with my audiobook narrator. She’s an ex-student from Wells and we’re four clips into coming to a conclusion as to how best to proceed. I think it will work well and we are both v excited by the prospect. Here’s a link: Sam on a Train – tester mp4Sam on a Train – tester mp4
Friday and today have been admin days. I did run yesterday and found an extra 30 seconds (now at 20.35). I’m out tomorrow morning before we head up to Jen’s to take her to the hospital. I’m hoping to find a few more seconds then. I will get back to sub-20 minutes. I will.
Anyhow, that’s it. We’re still binge watching The Walking Dead. Think Lost but replace the black mist with some zombies. It’s keeping us amused.