Frugal Friday: On Making Hard Choices

Airstream in the woods copyHave you all seen the Living Wage Calculator from the MIT? I linked to it yesterday, but I wanted to talk about it in a bit more detail today. The calculator allows you to drill down to the living wage calculation for your U.S. county.

When I took a look, I was shocked at how very close I was to making the “living wage.” The bare minimum. The figures the living wage provide don’t include savings or emergencies or student loan repayment. I was shocked and angry and a little scared. If I barely make a living wage with a master’s degree, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those that make the minimum wage (as I did for so many years, but also I lived in denial).

I’ve always said that living small was a choice for us. We want to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, but after seeing those calculations I started thinking “Is living small really a choice?!” “Did we even have a choice when we moved from that overpriced apartment to the Airstream?!” And woefully I thought: “We’re never going to save enough to buy a house! Waaaaaaaa!!!”

But after all that ho-humming and doubt, I still believe living small was a choice. We could have chosen to keep living in an overpriced apartment for another 10 years while we saved a measly $50 bucks a month for a down payment on a home. Then, we could have put ourselves into crippling debt for 30 years (or longer) when we decided it was time to own a home. We could have been average.

But we made the hard choice. And there’s power in that choice. We may need to live in the tin can longer than I had planned,  but it takes hard choices to live the life we want to live.

I’m ready to make those hard choices. Are you?

Happy weekend!


Link Love: 4

rp_Link-Love-1024x10241.jpgThis week has been a total blur, but I’ve been able to squeeze in time to find a little bit of web goodness. Check it out below.

I’m loving this article about Unschooling. I’m also intensely jealous that I didn’t have that kind of childhood, can I be unschooled as an adult?!

The stores that will refund your money when a price drops.

The living wage calculator isn’t new, but I’ve been checking it quite a bit lately. It’s scary/sad to see those numbers.

How to make money selling junk from my girl, Anna.

I’m totally guilty of telling my friends that I’d love to help them fix up their houses. This article made me think twice and gave me some perspective.

How to wash and whiten pillows. I tried this over the weekend and man, does it work.

What links have you been loving this weekend? Leave ‘em for me in the comments!


Refrigerator Pickles and Banana Peppers

refrigerator pickles and banana peppers

For someone who has a black thumb, I sure can grow banana peppers. I have them coming out of my ears, as they say. In fact, I had so many I couldn’t eat them fast enough. And although I had a bumper crop, it still wasn’t enough to make the effort and learn how to properly can. I also had a couple of large cucumbers that were looking less than fresh. So refrigerator canning seemed like the perfect way to eat up those veggies! Here’s the how to:


  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 6 or so banana peppers
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp of minced, peeled garlic
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 jars with lids

refrigerator pickles and peppersWash veggies thoroughly. Slice. I used a pair of scissors to cut my banana peppers and that made it super easy. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes. Once brine has finished simmering, let cool. Ladle brine into jars, covering the cucumbers and peppers. Add the cloves. Brine for at least 24 hours in the fridge. Keep for up to a month.

How easy was that?! Have you ever made refrigerator pickles? Talk to me about it in the comments!


Love Weekends: Before the Storm

park with georgeToday is the first day of classes and I’m kind of freaking out. We’re short two people at work and our system is scheduled to go down today for four hours. I’m anticipating hellish conditions. Oh well. I’m just going to try to focus on how beautiful this past weekend was. We had friends come in from out of town. I don’t have any pictures of that because we were having too much fun. But on Sunday, George and I felt like bad dog parents for leaving Bambi home alone so much this weekend so we took her on a long walk at a local park.

park with george park park Bambi duskEeep! Wish me luck.


Frugal Friday: When Impatience Pays Off

Airstream and fire pit copyImpatience when it comes to frugality is usually bad. Impulse buying that 5th lint roller, 2 packs of gum and a copy of US Weekly while waiting in line at Target is not so great on the wallet. But impatience has also paid off for me. I’m impatient to live life. I don’t want to spend 20 years paying off a mortgage. I want to live debt-free now. I don’t want to wait until I retire to travel, I want to travel now. Impatience has made me question my values and my life goals. It’s made me realize that the “expected” (a mortgage, 3 kids, retirement in your 60′s) doesn’t have to be so cut and dry. You can live in an Airstream, like I do. You can retire before 40, like this guy did. There’s so much life to live if you’re impatient with the big things and patient with the small.

love and happy Friday!


Link Love: 3

rp_Link-Love-1024x1024.jpgSince last week was Airstream week, I didn’t get in my link love. There’s been so much Internet goodness out there these past few weeks. Check.It.Out.

A New Golden Age for Silver Bullets.

PriceJump compares Amazon product prices to prices around the web to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

The days of the week that major retailers change their prices.

Reset your goals before they level you.

Photos of people living “off the grid”

These food bloggers are so transparent with their blog’s income reports and I love it. And $30,000 in one month from a blog is pretty damn impressive.

A Global 3 day workweek could be good for innovation. I could get on board with that.

Tips for cutting your own bangs at home.

A beginner’s guide to opening an IRA.

In a nomadic world, do we still need a home?

And for those of us that do still want a home… Mortgage Hippo is a cute site that takes you through a series of steps to determine how much home you can afford. The site is super well designed– the steps look like a safari map! It makes mortgages almost fun.

Crowd funding to pay off your mortgage? Hmm. I can understand his desire to live debt-free, but maybe living small is a better option.

A SNAP Cookbook: Good and Cheap. I adore this SNAP Cookbook. It’s free, first of all. The meals are all under $4 and I was pleasantly surprised that the meals are heavy on the vegetables and low on the starches.

Have you come across any fascinating articles? Leave them in the comments below!



Airstream Front View copySo maybe Airstream Week has ended up being Airstream two weeks. Or week and a half. Oh well. Ya’ll aren’t sick of it yet, are you? I got a lot of questions about the Airstream and our life and I wanted to answer some of them here. So here goes.

1. Do you really live in the Airstream… like all the time?
Yep! We live in the Airstream in the stifling heat of summer and the bone chilling cold of winter. In case of an emergency (like a hurricane), we’ll go to a relative’s house nearby. But other than that, we’re in it the whole time!

2. Are you parked or do you travel?
Right now we are parked in order to save money. We would love to travel with the Airstream one day.

3. Where are you parked?
We are parked on land owned by my husband’s family. It is a beautiful farmed and wooded plot. We stay on the land in exchange for chores.

4. Where do you do laundry?
We have very gracious relatives who let us do laundry at their house in exchange for chores around the house.

5. How much did your Airstream cost?
Our Airstream was $5,000 and we spent about $1,000 on fixing her up. Read more about our buying story here.

6. How long did it take you to fix up the Airstream?
It took about 2 months of intense work.

7. How can I live this life?
This life isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. 90 percent of living this way is deciding that you want it and sticking with it.

What questions have you been dying to ask? Ask me in the comments!