Decluttering is the Best Thing We Did This Year

Decluttering is the Best Thing We Did This Year

This weekend the Rustic Walks household settled into our new apartment. We moved from our home of three years to a new place just down the street. It was a whirlwind of packing and schlepping, but we made it across the finish line. There’s one thing we can say with absolute certainty: decluttering was the best thing we did for ourselves this year.

We went into 2016 knowing we would be moving, so we took every opportunity to get rid of as much clutter as possible. We cleaned out our closet, threw packing parties just for fun, and thought hard about what we truly needed for our new home.

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Inspiration: The Minimalists

Inspiration: The Minimalists

In a recent post about Minimalism vs Frugality, Ms. Rustic Walks mentioned that just under a year ago, we discovered who are likely the first two people anyone researching this stuff would come across: The Minimalists. Their message sat well with us: less is more. We found that we had a good amount of things, but they were not improving our life anymore.

For years, I have had an aversion to clutter. Keeping my life in order physically meant less work for my future self when looking for something, or needing to run out the door. Meanwhile, Ms. RW moved around a lot and had to keep her possessions to a minimum. We both already had a predisposition to curating our possessions, but we needed extra motivation to get rid of things we no longer needed.

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Change Your Community, Change the World

Change Your Community, Change the World

The 2016 Election has certainly been a doozy for anyone that has followed it. With division and dissent at what feels like an all-time high, it’s easy to become jaded with the entire political process. Most Americans believe that Washington doesn’t care about them and their needs. It’s all corporations, special interests, and lobbyists running the show. No one considers the struggles of the average American and their community.

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Emergency Fund: Only You Can Bail Yourself Out

Emergency Fund: Only You Can Bail Yourself Out

Emergency funds are a necessity. There’s no negotiation on this one. The personal finance community knows this, and I hope everyone knows this. Having even just $1,000 on hand can save you from years of debt. I’ve had an emergency fund without any idea of when I should use it. That cash cushion was always meant for some vague future where I’d be out of a job, injured, or otherwise thrown for a loop. It’s never been money that I intend to spend. There’s no guarantee that I will ever use it, but I still want to have it just in case. The thought of needing to spend it genuinely stresses me out.

Until I had to.

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The Millennial Exodus: Choosing a Simple Life

The Millennial Exodus: Choosing a Simple Life

We’ve all seen the headlines crediting the revitalization of cities to millennials. Yes, those pourover-sipping, blanket-scarf-wearing, bicycle-riding young people want easy access to jobs, culture, and community. They want walkable neighborhoods, fancy coffee shops, and boutique stores selling artisan crafts. Where’s the easiest place to find all these things? Surprisingly, it’s not where you would expect.

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Glasses, Contacts or Lasik: Which is Cost Effective?

Glasses, Contacts or Lasik: Which is Cost Effective?

About a month ago, I made the error of trying to move too quickly while running errands. I threw my glasses onto my car’s seat, and when I came back to drive, I sat down with a nice crunch. My heart sank as I pulled up my glasses and saw that I had given them a good flattening. They’re still mostly wearable, but the lenses are just about ready to fall out, and they sit a bit crooked on my face.

As I began researching what I could do to fix them, I ran into a bit of a brick wall. Nobody seems to want to fix rando glasses – they will either offer a warranty or want you to swap them out with something else. That makes sense from a business perspective, I get it. Still, it got me thinking about vision correction and what route would be the most cost effective: glasses, contacts, or Lasik.

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Fixed Costs Matter More Than Everyday Spending

Fixed Costs Matter More Than Everyday Spending

2016 has been the year of slashing budgets in the Rustic Walks household. Our Frugal August Challenge showed us what a difference small changes can make, so we’ve whittled down our spending to focus on the essentials. But we realized that we only cut back on everyday expenses. The easy choices like packing lunch over eating out, buying less expensive coffee beans, or resisting the urge to buy every wool sweater in sight (this can’t be just us, right?). Things like our rent, utilities, and transportation have yet to be put on the chopping block. In fact, they are staying the same even though we’re moving to a new apartment.

That’s the thing about small changes. They’re easy, but they also make us feel like we’re making a difference. Of course saving $200 each year by cutting back on everyday spending is a step in the right direction. But what difference does an extra $200 make if other expenses are higher than they should be? How much money could we save if we reduced our fixed costs? Certainly more than $200.

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Minimalism vs Frugality: Two Philosophies, One Goal

Minimalism vs Frugality: Two Philosophies, One Goal

Nine months ago we discovered The Minimalists and fell headfirst into intentional living. The philosophy appealed to our habit of binge cleaning our apartment every few weeks. Clutter stresses us out, especially when it takes over our tiny apartment. We knew decluttering would help us confront our weak spots (like the black hole that is our closet), as well as get rid of useless junk that doesn’t bring value to our life. What we didn’t expect was the impact minimalism would have in another area: our finances.

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Tech Disconnect: Our Beef with Social Media

Tech Disconnect: Our Beef with Social Media

Lately we’ve noticed something strange. At least it seems strange to us. A lot of folks seem to be staring down at their phones. Like all the time. It’s increasingly common to see people watching YouTube videos on the subway rather than reading a book or newspaper.  People walk into oncoming traffic because they’re busy checking their email. Selfies and tweets get round-the-clock coverage on cable news networks.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with these occurrences. Social media is an important source of communication for millions of people. But the fact that the average American spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook is rather alarming, especially since there’s hundreds of social media apps out there. Are we the only ones that think this is weird? Have we gone full-throttle minimalist?!

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5 Things We Learned On Our Camping Trip

5 Things We Learned On Our Camping Trip

We did our first camping trip of the fall! Sadly, it rained for two whole days. As in we only saw the sun for maybe an hour. We knew what we were getting into when the weather predicted downpours all week, but we signed up for our campsite and committed to our romp with the outdoors. If we’re going to camp, it might as well be muddy and nasty!

We learned some important lessons during our trip. It turns out that camping is hard. Especially in bad weather. We hope these tips will help other aspiring campers that are intimidated by the wet stuff. If we can survive in the rain, so can you!

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