Last night I realised the man and I have almost achieved what we set out to do when I started my blog. Yes, we are now living the lifestyle we were aiming for: the one with a better work life balance.
To do this we have spent the last 18 months actively reducing and/or eliminating debt so we could afford to work less. Of course, the aim was to ensure an excellent standard of living now and in retirement* – this was never an exercise in subsistence living!
So how did we achieve it?
We paid off the credit card and cut it up, never to be used again! Now I know people use the 55 days free credit to their advantage, however it sat better with us to just get rid of it altogether.
We sold the rental which had a mortgage on it.
We sold the family home which did not have a mortgage on it too, as we wanted to live in a quieter place. We did give thought to renting it out, but we have had two nightmare tenants -different reasons, but equally as unpleasant to deal with – and decided it was not worth the grief!**
After deciding what we wanted, we searched for 6 months for the ‘perfect property’.*** We moved here in January. Moving here meant our outgoings went down substantially with a 50% reduction in land rates (not on mains for sewerage), no water rates (we are on tank and spring-fed dam water), no rental for a shed and no transport costs for the man to get to work.
In winter there will be further savings as our heating will be provided by a log burner. This makes sense as our land will provide the firewood. At the moment there is not a wetback facility functioning, but the hot water cylinder is all set up for it and our intention is to get it up and running again in the near future.
In addition to this, we took the opportunity to review insurance cover, electricity, and internet and mobile companies charges. We changed some of our insurance policies, although we stayed with the same company. The house replacement cost went up (bigger house), but everything else went down a couple of dollars reflecting the area we live in apparently.
With regards to electricity, we also stayed with the same company, figuring out the $12 a year saving that the ‘What’s my number’ website predicted was not worth the hassle of swapping. We did change our internet and mobile phone providers though and went with a bundled offer from Slingshot. This saved us $40 per month or 2.75 weeks groceries which the parsimonious part of me applauds!
There are other savings living outside the big smoke too: doctors, dentists, tradesmen are all considerably cheaper. Petrol is cheaper.
Having said this, wages are often less too, but for us that is not an issue. I still think we will be on the winning side financially. And as for living the lifestyle the man and I were after – we are absolute winners!
What didn’t work out? There was only one thing we intended to do which has not panned out: go down to one car.
Yes, we still have two cars. Why? Simply because I will be heading back into part-time work and we live rurally and do not have public transport option. Two cars, therefore, makes sense. We will review this once I retire.
There are also two things that still need to be sorted. The first is my income and the second is selling the boat.
For those who remember, after 39 years in the same profession, I said adios to my job in September. Phew! My intention is to work part time and in a different field if at all possible. I also have an idea for a small business. This will all happen after June.
Why? Because a long-planned six week trip to Canada and UK has made me unemployable! I mean who in their right mind is going to employ someone who is going on a long overseas jaunt a month after I start?
Now the boat. We have used it once this summer. Meanwhile it is growing all sorts of life forms on its hull. Sadly, we can’t see this pattern altering. Our lives have changed. We are busy doing other things.
It now makes absolute sense to sell it to someone else who will use it as it should be used. We have priced it accordingly. We hope it sells fast.
So has anything changed since moving here?
Yep. My attitude to eating the livestock in our fields. I am a meat eater. It is time for me to be honest about where it comes from. I bought a freezer last week. Karl, our farm manager will organise everything. I do think I may be out when the homekill truck rocks up for the first time though – forgive me for this bit of denial!
So where to from now in relationship to the blog?
I think for the remainder of the year, a monthly update is in order. After that I think the man and I should be completely settled in our new work/life balance. Mission accomplished and all that!
I also think I might have sorted out the use of commas by then correctly… miracle, right?
* Financially we are well set up for retirement. We were in Auckland too, but our outgoings are cheaper here which is always a win.
**a small lifestyle block with a shed and a nice house with 3 bedrooms, and a fireplace preferably, which was located near the water in Whangarei
*** Most tenants we have had have been exemplary people.