Current events: Car free with six kids

I’m signed up for regular email updates from Care2.com, and this post came with a recent email blast, containing a brief story about Emily Finch, a mother of six who does not own a car and instead transports her family via bicycle.

Around the summer of 2009…Emily said, “I started looking at my life… I was living in a giant house and had a nine-person Suburban. I remember thinking, there’s no reason I can’t walk or bike around town. “I was really depressed before,” she shared, “But I was so happy after I got the bike. I just loved it.”

I find this incredible!  For the foreseeable future, there is no way I could get along without my car.  I commute 30 miles to work and 30 miles home five days a week.  My mom lives 25 miles from me.  I visit my sister who lives 85 miles away.

I could cut back around town — I do drive to the grocery store, and sometimes on date nights we just drive around and look at scenery and explore new areas.  We could take a walk instead.  I could probably bike to the store and back if I really tried.  My boss lives close to me so, in theory, we could carpool to work a couple days a week.

At least if I am driving, I have a small, fuel-efficient car.  It’s no hybrid, but it gets about 36 miles per gallon, and it’s a “Low Emissions Vehicle” and is not the most guilty of cars on the road (I see you, Hummer drivers, I see you).

How do you cut back on car use? Do you even have a car?  What do you think of Ms. Finch, who takes her kids around town on a giant bike?

 

Current events: Life without cash

I recently read an article online about Heidemarie Schwermer, a woman who has lived without cash for sixteen years! She started a year-long experiment to see if she could live without money, and relied on a barter system of goods and services to get what she needed to survive.  After the success of her experiment after a year, Heidemarie was inspired to give up her possessions, job, and even her home in favor of living a nomadic life, free of a “greedy consumer society.”  She relies on the kindness of others who offer food and shelter in exchange for her services of cleaning, gardening, and other skills.

I’m really intrigued by her success.  For me, giving up everything would be too big a step to take toward a minimalist life.  However, I definitely see the appeal and the freedom she has gained as a result of her extreme minimalism.  Personally, I have too much going on at the ripe age of 24, and I still have debts to pay off and a family to raise (at some undetermined point in the future!) so I need an actual, physical home base.  Maybe when I am 69 years old like Heidemarie, I can give up everything and travel with that incredible freedom!

Giving it all up isn’t for everyone, but reducing spending and consumerism is a wonderful and rewarding aspect of minimalism.  Personally, I have begun focusing on the things I want to do instead of the things I want to have, and that is very freeing for me.  By reducing spending on “Stuff,” I am able to save up for the things I do truly want to have a place in my life, and I can invest in experiences that will give me lifelong memories that don’t take up any physical space!

Has anyone else improved their life by curbing their spending habits? Comment below!