2016 has been a year of change for Team Rustic Walks. It was our first full year of living together, which gave us a surprising insight into what was working for us and what wasn’t. Things like spending willy-nilly, letting our health decline, and filling our home with excess stuff. We saw these problems, and we made a pledge to fix them. By the end of 2016, we wanted to give ourselves space physically and mentally to figure out what’s truly important.
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.
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.
Okay, time to fess up. During our Frugal August Challenge, we brainstormed ways to travel and spend time outdoors that didn’t cost too much money. We agreed that the best way to get our nature fix is to go camping. What better way to see the country and hike our favorite trails? This would unlock so many doors to adventure, and it was frugal to boot!
Over Labor Day weekend we trekked 480 miles for a family wedding. We could have easily taken a short flight or train ride to our destination, but the cost was unbelievable. $200 per person roundtrip on Amtrak. That’s not even for business class! Instead of shelling out several Benjamins on this trip, we turned our weekend getaway into a good old-fashioned highway adventure – and we saved serious money!
Have you ever bought something that you use all the time, only to realize that you’ll have to replace it in a few months? Do you buy whatever is the most convenient? Do you shop for the best price, regardless of the quality? We fell into this pattern so easily – just buying the top search result from Amazon or the front display pieces at department stores. Never did we consider the longevity of our purchases. These things wouldn’t be expected to last longer than a couple of years. Anything we buy can be easily replaced, right?
We realized that doing research and spending more on quality items meant we end up saving money over time. It makes sense to invest in well-made products that we can use for years to come. Not everything has to be expensive either! There are plenty of affordable products that are reliable and durable.
We recommend putting a little extra research into the categories below. These are items we use all the time, and our investment in quality and durability has made a huge difference in our everyday life.