One of the challenges of early retirement is learning to live within a (smaller than we were used to) fixed income. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room, and making a big purchase means the money has to come out of our investment savings. That’s okay… we’ve built in a buffer to cover the occasional larger expenditure. After all, houses do need occasional maintenance and repair. Appliances will eventually fail and need to be replaced. And, lets admit it, once in a while we’ll want to take a bigger vacation than simply traveling around the province in our camper. But when the possibility of a large expense comes up, we need to do a lot of research on it first. We can’t just order it and be done.
What “came up” was the hot summer weather versus the smoked glass ceiling on our covered deck! 27º in the yard sends temperatures on the deck soaring towards 40° (that’s pushing 100° for you Fahrenheit friends.) Unlivable. And it was heating the rest of the house up something terrible, as well!
Enter the need for a sunshade. Mr C went on-line and found a variety of sunshades. The cheapest he could come up with that would cover the entire deck was going to cost us $1,700. With tax & gas, that comes to $1,870+.
But wait! I had been at the thrift shop just the day before and purchased a couple of large, light grey sheets that I thought I could use for quilt backings or to work out the kinks on a dress pattern with. Sunshade cost breakdown (drum roll, please!)
Two thrift store sheets: $2.00
one roll of clothesline: $4.00 assorted hardware: $2.00 TOTAL SUNSHADE: $8.00
Money saved: $1,862. One thousand, eight hundred and sixty two dollars, folks!
We were back out on the deck eating supper and enjoying a nice glass of chilled white wine that very evening.
So, in the spirit of that resolution, I spent almost my entire April allowance on playful inspiration: books!
I want to knit something bigger than a sock or a hat, but I know myself…I will make the front of something, or a sleeve, and then put the project away. Why? Because I just hate sewing the seams. I actually have an entire knitted sweater – front, back and two sleeves sitting in my basket. It’s been sitting in my basket since…um…gah! I am embarrassed to say it: about 1998. Needless to say, it no longer fits. But the yarn is good! It was expensive! So I’m in the process of unraveling the entire thing so that I can make something lovely with it. Knitted tops with no side seams! Yay!
Prairie Children and their Quilts because I love anything to do with history and story-telling, and I’ve also become fascinated with miniature quilts. AND Mastering Quilt Marking because I want to expand my hand quilting beyond using purchased templates. I’d love to quilt some of the beautiful, intricate feathers & fans etc. I have the skill to do the hand quilting, but lack the technique of how to get the markings onto the quilt top. Maybe I can practice on a miniature quilt! Boo yah!
Bread from Sourdough to Rye because I’ve been given the wonderful gift of heritage Yukon sourdough starter (read all about it here – it’s a cool story!) and I’ve been experimenting with baking bread. This book also has breads from all over the world, from challah to chapatti! And The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair because I follow her blog, which is all about yummy Asian-style cooking. (And Jaden is also a quilter, so duh….)
And then BONUS! Look what my extraordinarily fabulous son of mine sent me for Mother’s Day!
All the indoor rainy-day bases are covered! Over the next couple of months I’ll be saving my allowance for outside play…new hiking boots and a day pack.
A spending allowance is built into our retirement budget.. I’ll post about it soon!