I began this blog six months ago with the goal of keeping myself accountable and helping both me and MadMan grow and reach our goals. I can’t believe it’s been six months. Time for a re-cap and future look.
For a long time, we were the “paycheck to paycheck” type. We lived on our parents help and had no idea how we were ever going to buy a house or a car. Sure, we knew about early retirement and extreme saving, we even looked at famous bloggers like Our Next Life and The Frugalwoods every few months. Those people just weren’t us we thought. We didn’t make a living wage, couldn’t work full time because of college, and had no savings to begin with. We owned nothing in out apartment, not even our TV in those days. Our parents helped with everything, from food to fun.
Then something changed. MadMan got a great job, we began making enough to support ourselves a bit more. We still couldn’t work full time and still needed our parents help, but we realized something. We might never make it, but we for sure wouldn’t make it by waiting. We began to read our favorite bloggers more, we began to budget, and in May of 2017 decided to make a website of our own. A diary of what we have learned in hopes of helping others.
Neither of us are writers and neither of us knew the first thing about running a blog about this type of thing. Being in marketing, I made the site, but from there I didn’t know what to do. I just started writing. At first, we didn’t hide our names or faces, but we quickly realized that was not going to fly. We took everything down and started fresh with MadMan and MadLady on One Mad Life. It wasn’t the last time we started over, but it was the format that stuck.
We’re still relatively lax about who we really are, and we still get help from our family each month, but we are getting there. Now? The help from our family goes straight into savings, we make enough to cover 90% everything ourselves. We plan on phasing even that out in May of 2018. One year later.
Lessons of Six Months Past:
Over the past six months we’ve learned just as much about how to save as we have each other and writing. We’ve learned to cut out what wasn’t important, to spend less, to save more, and to be happier. I’ve learned what MadMan is best at and he’s learned my strengths too. We’ve learned just how important spell check and a re-read is before publishing and how to take less fuzzy photos. We have a long way to go before we’re done, but these are the top three lessons of the last six months.
- Getting help from family is nothing to be ashamed of. Friends would complain about having nothing. We would feel bad and try our best to help. They would mock college kids that got help from parents and say that they had no room to complain. We thought we were doing it wrong, that we should have these perfect lives. Then we realized that we were privileged to have the help we did, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have our own problems. The world is complicated. Everyone’s problems are valid, even our own.
- The biggest key to saving is not spending: It seemed obvious, just don’t spend. Yet, it was something we had to learn. We wanted to go to the movies, yet that would put us negative for the month. So, we used my father’s Netflix for a date night. We love to eat healthy, yet between work and school, fresh veggies often go to waist. There were the obvious things, no new clothes, no new video games, no eating out, but what helped us the most was cutting out almost all spending that wasn’t 100% required. Through this, we now save everything our parents give us. We still have fun, but now we know we have a savings in case anything goes wrong.
- Shit Happens. Yep. Regardless of learning the last two things, things will go wrong. We’re in college and I no longer have a job. We’re back to living on MadMan’s money alone. We stopped getting help from his family right after this happened. It that life? Yes. Was it optimal? no. Will we still be okay? Yea. We’ll keep learning as we go, trying our best to get it right, and doing what we can to make it. We’re millennials, we’ve got a lot of work to do to catch up.
I just finished washing dishes and eating lunch. Which made me realize one more thing.
- The past six months has taught me to be real. When writing to help people, I had to tell the truth, which has often meant discovering the truth for myself. There are times when I want to write something better but know it wouldn’t be true. There are even more times when I have wanted to write something but haven’t due to the embarrassment of a realization. I’ve learned, and am still learning, that it’s ok to not be happy, but you must be true to yourself to get anything fixed.
I’m looking to get my first full time job, MadMan is looking to work more, and we both are still in school. No one said growing up today was easy. We pay more than I used to earn a month in rent and now I don’t earn anything.
I plan on keeping this site updated with the hopes of helping even more people as time goes on. There have been three times that I have been contacted personally and thanked for this site. To me, that’s mission #1 accomplished. Now for mission #2, meeting our life’s goals.
A rehash of goals:
When I first began this site, MadMan and I were not minimalists. We just didn’t have a lot, not the same thing at all. Now, we’re minimalists which conflicts with our dreams somewhat.
We still want to move to the west. Will it be Portland, Seattle, Austin, or LA? Only time will tell.
We still want an Organic Event Farm by 35. How is that minimalist? We want to teach children how to grow food, rescue animals and run and shelter, host simple affordable barn weddings, and grow our own food (all organic) on the farm. Like we talk about, minimalism is fluid. All that matters is that what you have helps your life. To us, there is nothing better than helping those around us (and fresh home-grown food.)
We want to travel. Whether it be without jobs or on our own, we would love to travel bi-monthly to new places. It might not happen for years to come, but we sure will push for it.
We never want to retire. Even if we own our organic event farm, we want to keep working in our industries. I love what I do and so does MadMan. Reaching financial independence, for us, is a way to work and do what we love with zero pressure. Not a way to quit all together.
But the new thing that has changed, is that we always want less. We don’t want to have tons of stuff, we don’t want to have tons of bills, we don’t want to have to move in a tractor trailer. We’ve added a goal of less. Less worry, less stress, less everything. If we make it to our goals, we will be happy and while we will push as hard as we can to get there, life happens. We’ll be okay if things change.
Assuming I keep this up, there will be a new one of these every six months.
Let me know how your goals are coming along.
It takes a village to do more than raise a baby. It takes a village to thrive.