We get asked a lot of questions about our budget. We also get a lot of odd looks when we tell people we’re living in our trailer for the summer. People we meet either think we’re geniuses or they have this look of pity on their faces. We can certainly understand both sides. But, trust us…you don’t need to worry about us. 😊 We made a conscious decision to step away from corporate America, downsize, simplify, and live on a retiree budget. In case you’ve wanted to ask the same questions we’ve heard from people we meet, here you go!
What’s the difference between being broke and living on a tight budget?
When we say things like “we can’t afford that” or “we’re broke” Holly’s mom always corrects us and reminds us that we aren’t broke…we just choose to live well within our means and tuck everything else into investments. We lived like that in our 20s and we still live like that today. A few years ago, we heard the term “naturally frugal” and we realized that’s what we are. We just don’t have expensive tastes. We prefer camping over 5-star hotels, a picnic over fine dining, and matinee movies over Broadway shows. Carter’s goal remains to only wear shorts and t-shirts for the rest of his life. So, a lot of “fancy” stuff is off limits anyway!
How do we stay on a tight budget?
Before we retired, we had a rule that any purchase over $100 had to be a joint decision. Now, it’s more like anything over $20. That sucks, right??? Well, kinda. But, the truth is at this point in our lives we really have everything we want. Well, except for when Carter thinks he needs a drone, e-bike, sciff, golf cart, Xbox, outdoor furniture, Apple EarPods, and a complete set of every 18-volt tool Ryobi has ever made.
We watch our budget and track everything we spend through Quicken. We know if we’re getting ready to go over budget on a specific category and talk through what we need to do. We’ve only gone over budget a couple months. And, each time it was for a necessity (e.g. tires) that was budgeted later in the year.
How do we not feel deprived?
We told one of Holly’s friends what we were doing and she actually said, “that’s pathetic!” We looked at each other and burst out laughing. Holly’s friend has high-class tastes (think Ritz-Carlton, Porsche, Gucci), so the idea of staying in a trailer for a night (much less 5+ months) is terrifying for her. Oh well…we’re more Hampton Inn, Honda, Nike kind of people. But, we’re sure others we know feel the same way Holly’s friend does, but they don’t say it out loud!
Getting to explore America in our trailer is a dream come true. It’s actually the opposite of feeling deprived for us. We 100% realize this adventure isn’t for everyone. It’s all about choices. We chose to work hard for 25 years, save >50% of our incomes, make our money work for us, slim down our budget, and retire as early as possible.