Monday, December 15, 2014

Secondhand Lifestyle

We live a secondhand lifestyle. We don't HAVE to, but we choose to.

I'm not going to assume, nor would it be right for me to assume, that this lifestyle would work for everyone. Every family has their own budget, values, and preferences. In this series I will share what works well for us.

Our family has our own values when it comes to how we spend our money. It's not "right", it's just our values. For example....
  • We do not carry debt outside of the mortgage on our home. We choose to save for purchases and make them using cash. If we don't have the money for a purchase, then we don't need it. 
  • Having fancy cars doesn't matter to us - if they safely transport our family, they are perfect for us. For this reason, we only have purchased only used cars and drive a minivan (it meets our needs!). 
  • We don't travel. We are homebodies and don't like leaving. Aside from a few locations (read, holed away in the mountains) not very much even sounds appealing to us. Beach vacation? Nah. Travel Europe? No thanks. Cruise? Heck no! We really do like boring old Kansas!
  • We have a large home. We value having family visit and having a designated guest room for that purpose. We plan to homeschool and want lots of space for active learning. We have plenty of indoor space, outdoor space, and garage space for do-it-yourself projects such as sewing, gardening, canning, car repair, and building furniture. These are the things we considered as we chose our home.
  • We are rationally minimalistic and desire a clear visual sense of order. Our daughter has a playroom and she has quite a few toys (babies learn through play - so we want options for her). But she has significantly fewer than the typical baby and they are organized well - when you come to our home it's quite obvious that we have a kiddo, but she doesn't have so many toys that they are everywhere and unable to be contained.
  • We don't have huge wardrobes. Cole and I could probably go almost two weeks (he could go longer than me!) and then would need to have laundry done. Meghan can go about one week. I'm at home and can do laundry; our wardrobes are simple to mix and match and simple to maintain because they are not overflowing.
  • We have to eat gluten free and value good, yummy food. We have lots of kitchen "tools" to help obtain this. We also purchase in bulk to help keep these costs down (and we have a lot of space in our home devoted to storing our bulk purchased foods).
With the above values in mind, we choose to live a secondhand lifestyle. We save money by purchasing many different items secondhand and then use that extra money to save, pay off our home, give to those in need, and to make grocery purchases that meet our dietary needs. 

Reasons we choose to live secondhand include: 
  • We can save money to put towards purchases that are more important to us. We can save money for large purchases or to share with charity groups/organizations/projects.
  • It's good for stewardship of the earth - reusing things that are still usable rather than sending them to landfills and purchasing new is a small step towards caring for the world God made.
  • We are not stuck purchasing only clothes that are currently in the stores/in style. I am not trendy in my dress; I like classic styles. I know what colors I look best in and don't care what colors are in style if they don't look good on me. I HATE most of the current styles - by shopping secondhand I can get new-to-me clothes and do not have to follow current styles!
  • Meghan has adorable clothes! Many children's clothing brands have a "theme" that they use each season - we are not stuck with whatever theme is popular at the time. She has clothes from several different seasons and has clothes that are music, monkey, polar animal, etc. - themes from several different past years from several different clothing companies.
  • We wear high quality clothes. Meghan wears mostly Children's Place, Carters, Gap, Gymboree, and OshKosh. I wear a lot of Gap - I love Gap clothes as they have a lot of classic styles and are styled in a way that fits me well. I also have other great big name brand clothes. I don't choose to purchase these name brand clothes as a status symbol (obviously - we're buying them second hand!), but because they stand up well to constant use and thus last much longer than cheaper brands.
  • It is a lot of fun to patiently search for an item and then find it! I have, twice now, found a new or like-new ERGO and I have been SO excited!
I will be taking a bit of time off from the blog to celebrate the Christmas holiday (and my brother's wedding!) with our family. But, beginning in the new year I will be writing more posts in this series sharing about how and where we second-hand shop, what we purchase, how I keep track of what to shop for and  target prices, specifics about second hand shopping for our daughter and examples of purchases we have made. If you have any specific questions you would like answered, leave a comment or send an email and let me know! 

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