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Thursday, September 20, 2018

List of 10+1 tips to save $$$

Hey you!

People often ask how we can live off a modest salary... and just the one!

My husband does work he loves and get enough money for me not to work and concentrate on other stuff (more on that in another post). And he works in a regular job... no big shot carreer or successful business! We are regular people!

Therefore you can do it to!

The trick is not only in how much money you make! It is mostly related to what you spend! You can be rich getting 50k a year for a couple! We are.

But we had to make choices.
Accept the trade-offs.
Decide what is essential to us.

Here are some tips on how we do it. But these are just ideas... not rules! You are the essentialist, you do what works for YOU!

1) eat less - it is now well known that in America, most non-overweight people eat 30% to much still. Decrease your plate size... you'll save $, be healthier and feel better!

2) put water tank on highest temperature as it forces you to use more cold than hot water to get the temperature you want! Hot water is way more expensive! CAREFUL, YOU CAN'T DO THAT IF YOU HAVE YOUNG KIDS, THEY COULD BURN THEMSELVES!!!

3) avoid buying new furniture - old furniture was of much higher quality! If it's damaged, fix it! If you no longer can stand the look of it, be creative: dye it, paint it, write on it, draw on it, collage... change upholstery! Switch with someone else...

4) get good quality clothes that you absolutely adore, that fits you well, are your style and will wear forever!

5) alternatively thrift store shop for clothes - there are many thrift stores shop anywhere now and of all kind of style, price and quality! If you go regularly you can find amazing deals! I found 2 items last summer, that were of high quality, never worn (they still had original price tags!) and so much cheaper! A top originally priced at 89$ for 9$ and capri pants originally price at 59$ for 2$!!!

6) unless it is required by a medical condition ditch the AC (and being out if shape is not a medical condition!)

7) plan your menu, batch cook, use left over by adding to them to create another meal, buy local and in season, buy nourishing food -you'll need less (example, potatoes and oatmeal are super food and quite inexpensive!) REMEMBER, THROWING AWAY FOOD IS THROWING AWAY MONEY PLUS A WASTE OF FINITE RESOURCES!

8) lower your heating cost by decreasing temperature to 15C when sleeping or out and not more than 18-19C when you are there! Use blankets when watching  TV and dress up more!

9) ditch the car if you can... if not, use it as little as you can! Walk/bike when you can, group your errands, carpool...

10) live in a smaller and/or cheaper place! Do you really need all that space? Luxury?

+1) as a writer, I should probably not write that, but use the library! I do it!!! You do not have to buy all the books you read! (Honestly, did you read all the books that are currently in your home? How much did you spend on books you never and will never read?)  Buy only those you'll keep coming back to! Another option is to buy e-books : they are cheaper and still contribute to the author's income!

These are some of the things we did to lower our budget and be able to afford living on a modest income!

What would you do?
What would you never do?
Any other ideas?

If you liked this post please share!
Chloe  💜&✌

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Shopping ban - when and why

And yet another one...

Hello dear readers!

I feel like it is time for yet another shopping ban.
I feel like I do these quite often in the fall... it just seems like a good timming.

This year, it will be targeted to clothes because I've come to realise, that, by now, pretty much all I buy, aside from food, are clothes...

They will always be a passion.  That I mentioned before,  but it seem that by this time of the year, is a good time for not buying them.

For that reason, I am entering a clothes shopping ban between now and December 18.

Three whole months not buying any clothes.
I can do this!

Here are a few reasons...

1) I love fall clothes - easy to overspend. I have already treated myself for the season. I'm good.

2) we had fun all summer... we went out a little more, travelled, treated ourselves to more restaurants... now it's time to reset our finances and get ready for next summer!

3) it is the season of overspending! In general... from now to Christmas, people buy more than they need and surely more than they can afford!

4) avoiding all the "black friday" madness!!!

5) and even if they are important to me, there are things like experiences that are more essential!

So there you have it!
No shopping for me over the next 3 months. Especially clothes.

If I cheat, you'll be the first ones to know!

Let's see how that goes and what comes out of it.

Chloe 💜&✌

Saturday, September 15, 2018

My fall wardrobe - part 1

Hello dear readers!

As summer slowly turns into fall, I want to present to you my fall wardrobe.

But first, let's go back to a short history of my clothes...

I am a reformed shopaholic.
I may have cured my need for shopping endlessly for in-style-at-the-moment clothes that I may or may not wear (sometimes not even once) but in no way have I stopped loving clothes and style!

On the good side, my love/addiction to shopping,  along with my many shopping bans have allowed me to develop a personal style rather than fall victim to fashion that changes all the time and is impossible to keep up with. A unique way to combine clothes: in fashion or not, old and new, thrift stores with brand names... and some hand me down. It did more than creating debt. Fortunately.

Fast forward to today. I have no more debt. I pay clothes cash. I do more thrift store shopping. I mostly buy new items when they are on sale. I do fair trade every chance I get.

But I won't get my wardrobe to less than what it is today.
I refuse to.
I tried.
I once had it down to as lown as 27 items for a season.
I was miserable.
No creativity possible.
Always the same.

You see, to me clothes are  a way to express myself, to show who I am, to let out my inner creativity.
I need it.
To me, it is essential.

As an essentialist, I have determine that clothes will stay.
I chose them over a bigger apartment, a car, expensive furniture, artist material, books, CDs, cable TV, plenty of dishes, extra cookware and even food!

It is my choice, it represents who I am and I am happy with it.

So here are the items in my fall wardrobe:

(some of those items are carrying from summer over to fall and others will go well into winter. I do not have many one season only items. It is one of my criteria when I shop that an item can be worn for ideally 3 seasons!)

8 t-shirts
7 sleeveless tops
3 short sleeves tops
10 long sleeves tops
4 flannel shirt
2 dresses
3 skirts
5 shorts/Capri
4 jeans
1 kaki  pants
7 cardigans
2 pairs of mid-calf boots
2 pairs of Birkenstock 

There it is. My wardrobe. It may seem excessive to some but not me.

And this is what is great with essentialism: it is not about number, or less simply for the sake of less, it is about choice, about what is essential to YOUR happiness.

What is essential to you?
What would you sacrifice to have more of something else?

Chloe  💜&✌

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Listing some of my favorite books

Hello dear readers!

Sometimes, a short and sweet post is great for me... and you! Because honestly, there are so much more things to do... but, staying on track into you essentialist lifestyle is, well... let's say, essential!

I am an avid reader! I love reading on many different subjects and a great deal of different authors and genre.

Here's a list of my all time favorite books!

Perhaps, if I was to make the list in a month from now it might be different but as if this morning, this is what I came up with.

Le petit prince, St-Exupery
Never-ending story, Ende
The Three Musketeers, Dumas
Narnia, Lewis
La Valse Lente des tortues, Pancol
Le Zebre, Jardin
Dans les coulisses du musee, Atkinson
Un parfum de cedre, MacDonald
Au nom de tous les miens, Gray
Eat pray love, Gilbert
The hidden life of trees, Wohlleben
Grits for the mill, Ram Cass
Liberty, Osho
The wheels of life, Judith
Healing your emotional self, Engel

There you have it!

Have you ever read any of these?
Did you like it/them?

Chloe 💜&✌

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New orientation for the blog

Hello lovely readers!

First, a few announcements...

1) New link to register by email - if you were registered before you will need to do it again as I changed the domain name.

2) Slightly different look - bet you noticed that!

3) More focused content

Well, it was time for a change...  a few hints were pointing in my direction and I finally took them.
I had been thinking about it for a while...  and after this morning intense brainstorming session, it all became clear!

I was lacking direction, purpose...  I was writing my thoughts on this blog but it was all over the place with no specific aim...  so I kept missing my target! I would write about anything interesting me but I couldn't find the common ground.  I finally did! Yay!

As you may, or may not have noticed, I also changed my introductory presentation to this one:

"Hello! Here, I wish to share my knowledge and show you how, by living an essentialist life, we can save our planet, be healthier, happier and stress free. Enjoy!"

This reflects exactly what I wish to do.  I already wrote about essentialism here. This is my key.

After days of reflection, I realized that the common thread to everything I was writing about was always the environment...  of course there are health benefits but essentially, the one thing I have been passionate about all my life is the environment! Whether I write about my food choices, my shopping bans, my second hand furniture, my yoga practice, my camping trips... What I am really good at is sharing, teaching what I know. What the world needs right now, is more knowledge how we can, by our every day actions and personal lifestyle, save out planet.  The health benefits are just a nice side effect to the whole thing...

So here's this blog.  To do all of that.

Therefore, from now on, this blog will be about an essentialist lifestyle.  How you can, by implementing my suggestions in your daily life, do your share to help save Mother Earth.  We need to do this...  I have a kid, a surely some of you do too...  we inherited a more or less healthy planet and we are leaving it in even worse condition... maybe it's time we do something about it! We do not have to behave like previous generations.  There are other ways.  If not for us, for our little or not-so-little ones.

Of course, you cannot do everything... neither can I. We still want to enjoy life... But I believe that if we try, if each one of us do our share, cut our losses, make open-eye decisions on each of our actions, what we feel comfortable with or not, we can have a positive impact. Every action each one of us makes is cumulative and in the end, we can shift the situation we are currently in.  I believe so.  I need you to also.

As a result, I will still write about lifestyle choices, about what I do, how I live and stuff... but it will always be related to an essentialist lifestyle.

I am now asking you guys a BIG FAVOR!  If you like the new direction of this blog, please share, share and share!!!  I am really trying to build a community here of like minded people who wish to do what they can for this world to go a little better!

Chloe 💜&✌

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Weniger aber besser

Or, in English, less is better.

I like that.

For years, I was calling myself a minimalist or practicing minimalism when asked what was this lifestyle I chose. But, as I mentioned before I could not identify properly with the label. It felt negative. It felt like I had to deprive myself. The word did, not how I saw it and lived it. However, when asked to explain, I found most people where uncomfortable with the word. No matter how I explained it and for how long, many walked away with a feeling of doing with less, getting rid of what they loved, depriving themselves... and there was not much I can do. It was "common knowledge" that minimalist had nothing. And don't get me started with the word frugal.

I get the words and I understand that they are just that: words. But, uncomfortable, bearing a negative connotation in our society of always more, always faster, always better.

I do believe that this lifestyle could save our Mother Earth. In order to do so, more people need to embrace it. For that to happen, the word used should feel more positive.

I stumbled upon a book at my library called "Essentialism - The Discipline Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown.

Love the book which I am not quite done reading and absolutely fell in love with the word "essentialism".
Isn't it lovely? More positive? Feels like you have all you need?

Essentially how I live... claiming that less is better, choosing quality over quantity in everything: relationships, work, what you own, activities...

Who needs quantity in this world? We need quality... more than ever. We need meaning. We need depth.

Quantity has proven it doesn't work in so many ways. It makes us stress, sick, it depletes natural resources, rids us of time...

Quality is everything. Who needs a circle of 25 friends who barely have time for you when you can have 2 who will absolutely show up because they also value quality? Who needs a big house full of stuff if you are hardly ever there to use it? A wardrobe with all the latest fashion finds when it changes every month and they probably don't even reflect who you are... An agenda fill with things to do but no space to catch your breath? We all need to breathe...

Obviously, it implies making choices. It requires trade-off.
You can't have it all!

But more on that later.

For now, look at quality in your life.
Keep that. Focus on it.

I will help you with the rest in the upcoming weeks.

I find fall to be a wonderful time to let go.
Just like trees let go if their "old leaves" that will not serve them well comes winter, you can let go if what will not serve you well in the next season of your life.

Meditate on this.

If you liked this, please share.
Chloe 💜&✌

Monday, September 3, 2018

I lost everything

"I lost everything, I have found myself." Rumi

This is me right beside the Third Vault falls in Fundy National Park, Canada.  They are the highest falls in the park accessible after a moderately difficult hike. But so worth the effort.  Breathtaking. I fell so small... and at the same time where I should be right then.

Over the years, I have, like in the quote above, lost everything. But I found myself... it started years ago... it took a while... but layers after layers, I shedded who I had become to find who I was.

I had to let go of who I had become for the wrong reasons. This was not easy... conditioning made it really hard. From the moment we are born, we are identified to a name, an astrological sign, a religion, a family, a town, a country... and those come with pre-set values and beliefs. But we don't get to choose any of these...

And it goes on for as long as we want it to, or let it. We go to school, make friends, do sports, play music, do art... but how much of this really is our choice? Let's move along... after high school, how many of us freely, consciously choose our next step? We are surrounded by "you should", "you have to", "this is the best option for you"... but is it really? I am not necessarily  blaming the adults we are surrounded by who push those decisions on us, after all, they got the same conditioning.  They think they are doing the best they can...

But something is wrong. Somewhere we got off track... we decided that the only way to be happy was to be successful in a well paying carreer. 

Why do I dare say this is wrong? Why do I go against the most common belief? Well, I base my opinion on my own experience and that of many other adults I have met who are unhappy, lost, feel like something is missing, like there should be more...

I base this on the fact that there are more people on anti-depressant, and stress controlling drugs... more adults committing suicides... we seem to have it all but people are more unhappy and stressed than ever before in our history!

We wake up one day, in our thirthies, forties, fifties or sometimes later and realize we are no where close to where we'd like to be... life went on... and we have a family, a career, money, a fully furnished houses a pension plan, a car or two, savings, yearly trips, a closet full, jewelry, a huge collection of books, movies, etc... We have it all so it seems, but we feel empty!

We are never home because we need to work to pay for it and everything in it!
We use the car to go to work!
We wear the clothes that can be worn at work but not the others we really like, well because there is no time.
We travel to forget work!
We don't have time to read the books because we are working... nor the movies!

And if you have kids, it get's worst! You need even more money and have even less time for you or them!

We make more money but have less...
We live longer but have less time...
We can't enjoy the ride...
But we should as this is really all there is.
There is no real destination. Only life and death.

This is what happen to me... I hear you! Not judging.
But there is another way!!! There is a better way.

I woke up I was 35!
My son was turning 7.

I changed everything... and over the next 11 years, I worked hard on myself... really hard. But I did it! I am now who I thought I would be as an adult...  I lost everything but I found me! I was there lying underneath all the layers of conditioning, layers of "should", layers of "have to"... all squished but there.

And now, life goes on, but I get a say in it. I no longer let other people decide for me because why should they? It is my life.

I own my life.
I am responsible for it.
I love it.

And you? Do you identify with any of this?  Do you feel empty? Tired? Like there should be more? Or have you already done the shedding?

If you like this, please share...

Chloe 💜&✌