What I gleaned from The Richest Man In Babylon and how to apply the principles to modern life.

I’m trying a vintage look with the photos. I returned the iphone and went back to my old LG phone. It doesn’t take the best photos, often blurry as you all have noticed I’m sure. So, I play with the buttons and just enjoy what I have.

Although we have sold our rental and were blessed with a nice profit, I’m feeling my cheap roots these days. I just finished reading The Richest Man In Babylon and renewed in my penny saving spirit.

I know from the past that money comes to you slow as a tortoise but peels out of the driveway leaving a dust cloud. So, with this bag of gold coins, we are going to choose wisely and pay down the mortgage and it’s time to live wisely, slowly, frugally.

This is following a post shopping spree, of course. We always go on diets after we have eaten half the cake.

I wrote a book about money and compromising our family lives or dreams to chase it. The question was basically, could you live on much less, maybe a little broke and regain your life? I wrote this in January. The book wasn’t published until recently in June, but what happened from the time when I wrote it and today is that I cut way back on my work. Bali has not yet, he is driven. But I kept questioning my time with my family and my connection with the boys. I put the laptop away and stopped filming, writing, and all that busy work. This blog is my only creative outlet and doesn’t take much time or work, thus it is a joy and not taking away from our lives.

I stripped our budget down to the basics thinking we would need this strict budget with me not working on line and Bali cutting down his hours. I prepared in every way; stocking the pantry, the tools for the house, kitchen and garden, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, medicines. I stocked up our clothes by hitting 50% sales. The boys will be dressed fully for years. I even stocked up on seeds for next year and more trees.

But what happened was this; stimulus checks, husband working more due to changing employees and some construction in the store, and then we sold the rental. Money here, money there, money everywhere. So, broke we are not. For now. However, if we act silly with the money coming in we will be broke faster than a gambling fool.

I gulped coffee and sped read the book, finishing this morning. In a nutshell, here are the practices of a rich person;

  1. Save 1/10th of your earnings each and every time.
  2. Take 2/10ths to pay of debts.
  3. Invest your savings wisely and carefully with people who know what they are doing and are masters in their field.
  4. Extra teachings were to be cheerful, positive and faithful in your work. Learn to love work and see it as a way to have all you need and desire. Do not take the hard path, be resentful, nor angry about your lot. Work hard to change it.

A good coffee read. We learned to pay ourselves first the year before we bought this house. I kept reading about this in homemakers blogs, maybe I read it in Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, who knows, but I finally took it seriously. It turned our lives around. Because we saved the first paycheck of each month (much more than 1/10th of the income), we were able to move to a new town and live in a place were we are all thriving.

In the book TRMIB (can’t keep writing out this title, sorry) one of the wealthy men discusses how we will keep using every coin, thinking we just couldn’t possibly live on less and make it. The very surprising result is that once we just commit to putting away the first paycheck or decided amount of money, we can live on less easily. We need far less money than we think. We need far less things, food, water, square footage in the house, less cars, less friends even. Turns out we are naturally greedy for things but we don’t need half of what we take or have.

I learned this when I decided that we should save $500 a month, then I thought, “what about a challenge of $1000?”

At the time Bali was working only 4 days a week and my book royalties were around $400 a month and YouTube was just getting off the ground and making about that as well. I made out the budget and it didn’t look possible. We had some little debts too.

So, a new month began and our friend needed a loan. This is a trustworthy friend who had helped us often. We handed over out first paycheck. The rest of the month we payed the mortgage with the second paycheck (I always pay the mortgage two weeks ahead…middle of the previous month) and bills and groceries were covered with my royalties. We were a little overdrawn by $35 in the bank but we did it! Right then and there I realized that it could be done and we continued to save $1000 a month by setting the first paycheck aside.

This is talked about in the book, about how when you work hard and save diligently, you are prepared when opportunity comes around. It also brings about more good fortune. It is simple metaphysics. If you are acting wise and abundantly, good things are attracted to you.

Bali started working more and at one point two employees left for India and never returned, but the good thing was that Bali was able to put in double shifts for a few months. It was grueling but we saved so much money. My channel grew, my books sold, I cooked dishes from what I picked in the garden and consulted my Tightwad Gazette often to lift my spirits. I went all out with baking all the time and canceling my Amazon credit card. I saved and pinched and analyzed everything coming in and going out. The community on YouTube sent me gifts of knitted dish clothes and cards to the grocery store. One woman sent us $1000 to stock the pantry. You do the work and you will be blessed, it’s Universal, Biblical, just how it is.

I took every money gift or card gift and would sit on it for a few days to figure out the wisest jobs for all the money. I paid off the small debts and that really made budgeting much smoother. I stocked our pantry with 25 lb and 50 lb bags of dried goods to cook from scratch. I made things stretch.

A year from when we started our mass savings and dreaming, we found Arthur, the house we are in now and moved to the forest. We went from a two bedroom and one bath to three bedrooms and now two baths, a larger pantry, not a larger house, but I don’t want a large house, it’s too much cleaning and utilities to run a big house. The extra rooms are great though. We went from a small yard that was half a cement patio to a quarter acre yard in town, how lucky is that?!

We have good neighbors, a good part time school for homeschoolers, friends, adorable little towns all around us, forest and rivers. It was a hard year of work but when you are inspired and have a goal, it is fun, truly. And the victory!

Now, we saved and mastered that. We invested in a house. We even kept the other house and had a rental property. It was all so nice. But now what? We made a big profit from selling the rental at the right time, but besides paying down this house, we don’t have a goal. Bali wants to wait and buy another property but the landlady gig is not my favorite act.

I just know that we need to sit down with the amount and go over what each part of it will do to enhance the quality of our lives. To pay off half the mortgage is my dream. To set aside some for renovations is a luxury but if you have no luxuries why would you work so hard to earn and save?

I go to extremes with being hard core frugal to throwing money in the air. A budget gives you focus and purpose. I have learned that you must not deprive yourself. What I relearned with this book TRMIB is that you save some, invest some, and leave yourself enough to live on. How you want to live is up to you, but we know we need rest, peace of mind, good food, and some luxuries. It would behoove most people to learn to find joys in more simple and less expensive pursuits.

For example; we love to dine out and lunch is our favorite meal, partly because we usually have our biggest meal midday instead of dinner time. We treat ourselves out now and then but it’s much less than a full dinner. I am choosing more quality over quantity these days. I just purchased thick linen sheets after some thin, cheap sheets fell apart after one year. These linen sheets are luxurious and more than I usually spend but they will last years.

We enjoy shopping, we love clothes and books and toys and art supplies. We have found ways to get all these free or at low cost. Library, thrift stores having big sales, free section of Craigslist, through our homeschool funding through the school.

We have changed many habits to accommodate this simpler living and it turns out that we love the way we live. We don’t travel yet, but one day we will. We take small road trips to the coast or small gold mine towns and we love that. We love being home and putz about, play with toys, read books, color, Legos, garden, bake, cook…it all depends on if you really get into your task and how you see it. I find baking or cooking, even cleaning to be calming, creative, therapeutic. But I also love my inner world these days so I enjoy the thinking time when I do chores. I am on Goodreads and I so enjoy that community, find great books, share my reviews. These things are positive, productive and free.

To us going to Disneyland would be fun, and may happen one day, but it is also overly priced and crowded and we just don’t look forward to that. Traveling the world is Arjan’s dream. I traveled Europe with my mother and would like to do it again but for now my home offers enough character and opportunities. I write from home and homeschool myself and boys from home. We have a very delightful atmosphere right here. We can create and recreate our home world over and over again.

Here is the other point I want to make over and over. When I wrote, Broke And Happier For It, the point was that by living as simply as possible, as humbly as works, one can start to get ahead be it with building a savings, working on a dream such as novel writing, going back to school, starting a cottage business, and thus build a better life and thrive. Being frugal will lead to having more money and a more comfortable life, it all depends on what you do with that extra money.

8 Comments

  1. I think it is wise to sit with a large sum for a while and process how to handle what you and the family needs long-term. We wanted land when we purchased our home. Yeah, the landlady gig is wearing on one’s soul at times. We enjoy travel and have found ways to travel very frugally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Kate, Glad to see you’re still going to blog! Congrats on the house sale and profit. I’m happy for you that you got that and the stimulus $$. It is a great financial security blanket. I agree with CozyCabinliving that you might want to sit on the windfall for awhile. Whatever you do though, as always, I wish the best for you and your family. Hugs, Sis

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post. You’ve accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. What a lot of people don’t understand is that by living frugally you not only end up with the funds for what you “need”, but for what you “want”. It may take some sacrificing at first to get into the habit and to build up a pantry, and built up an account for things like vacations, but if we continue on we will eventually see we keep more of our money. And keep less of the stress. I’ve done it so many years now that I don’t even think about it. It’s just part of me. Two years ago I bought a small fixer upper on the end of a dead end street with a small yard that was filled with junk from the previous owners. I did as much work myself as I could in the house while I saved to have someone do the big jobs like drywall and flooring. It never bothered me to see studs where walls should be or vintage, torn linoleum because I had the vision. That is all replaced now because I was frugal in other areas. This Spring and Summer was the first chance I had to work on the yard and I have worked endlessly every day cleaning trash and building up garden and flower beds. I’ve finally gotten everything done that I can do without hiring labor (which will happen next Spring). My 13 year old grandson and 7 year old granddaughter helped me little by little. But my dream was a small farm with vegetables and some chickens and goats. So I wasn’t feeling very content with my land until my granddaughter, Dotty, said something the other day. I was telling my daughter in law that I had to accept I’ll never have a farm but will make this my sanctuary, and Dotty spoke up and said, “But you do have a farm Grandma. You have vegetables and flowers growing everywhere, and a goose statue and birdhouses and birdbaths. You have butterflies. And you said you are going to plant some fruit trees. You live on a farm.” It actually brought tears to my eyes as I realized she was right. I had made this into what I had dreamed of. I’ll never have chickens or goats here, but it’s my dream land of nature, tranquility and harmony. And my grandchildren see it as the same. I always longed for a place my grown children and grands could feel at home in. And now I know I’ve succeeded. Sometimes we need to step back and take in everything we’ve accomplished to see the truth of our situation. And enjoy the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We also recently sold a house, and between that and the stimulus checks and tax refunds, I was able to go for a dream I’ve had for a long time of starting a flower farm. It’s soooo much work and definitely no profit for the first couple of years, but I’m having the best time! The only way we’ve been able to do this is because we’ve been living very frugally our whole marriage so that we were able to finally have the savings and everything else in place to just go for it. Living frugally doesn’t just save money—it really does open up opportunities!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is so wonderful to read your blog first thing in the morning. I can think about it all day long. I am glad that you all paid your mortgage down. Your insight into money management is outstanding. I just finished reading your new book and I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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