Being as frugal as we are, friends and family often balk at the common conveniences that we live without. While we are not living like hermits, we aren’t letting machines do all of our work for us either. If you are thinking of living a more frugal and simplistic lifestyle, try removing these appliances first:
Television– The one television that we have stopped working about a month ago. After trying to fix it and having no success it has been unplugged and taking up room in our living room ever since. We have never had cable so we are only challenged when we want to watch a DVD from the library. (And since we have no cable we have no DVR, TIVO, or other associated gadgets) Thankfully we have laptop computers so we can still enjoy our movies together, and have an extra excuse to sit close together. By not having a functioning TV we have read more, made great use of our kayaks, started having candlelight dinners, and upped our fitness routine.
Dishwasher– We have lived in a home and now an apartment with a dishwasher but have not used one in over 5 years. That’s right- we wash every single dish by hand. This takes maybe five minutes for small meals, ten for large meals and we wouldn’t want it any other way. There are arguments that could be made that hand-washing is less efficient than a dishwasher, but we won’t be changing this anytime soon. In our move this year, we reduced the number of plates, bowls and cups that we have. This helps us to continue to justify hand-washing because we would never have enough items to fill a dishwasher (and of course would never run one not full).
Air Conditioning– Guests who have stopped by to visit have likely not noticed this, as we only turn it on for their benefit. Even though we live in balmy and warm Florida we go as long as we can each year without turning on the A.C. and when we do it is only turned on in the evenings, never below 80, and NEVER runs when we are not at home. We make use of fans and enjoy the beautiful view from our balcony on warm evenings. We do enjoy the A.C. provided by the gym in our community, but we are also getting pretty warm when we work out. Where some pay $200-$300 monthly each summer, we easily pay half of that.
Washer/Dryer (SORTA)- During our grand scale downsizing when we moved earlier this year we sold some of our larger items of furniture, including our washer and dryer. Both machines were older and still in good working condition, but the thought of lugging them up to our 3rd floor condo and then back down was not appealing. We now do our laundry when we visit our family- The Winning Williams Senior. They don’t seem to be put out by this and we have brought our own detergent. We fold and stack all of the laundry ourselves and it gives us one guaranteed visit per month. That is right, PER MONTH. We have fewer articles of clothing than our colleagues but we make sure that we have worn these items before washing them. Given our healthy workout routine, those items get stinky pretty fast, but most other items stay pretty clean during the course of the day at work.
You may wonder why we opt to live without these modern machines. Give it some thought the next time you get home and instinctively reach for the remote to the TV. Could you be doing something else with your time? What about when a meal is finished, do you rush to throw your plates in the dishwasher so that you can get back to the TV? We’ve found that we don’t miss any of these items and challenge you to give it a try. Go for one week, or one month without using a TV or dishwasher. In the summer, see how long you can go before turning on that wonderful but highly costly air conditioning (or heat for the northerners in the winter). Try to limit your laundry to once a month.