Live Free Or Die

CrystalCove

 

I’ve taken a few weeks to listen to the words of some of the happiest people in this world and I’ve realized some things about them. These people have anti-commercial and anti-consumerism beliefs. In fact, they are so anti-commercial/consumerism that they “live free or die”. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google the words, “Live Free or Die”.  Scott and I have been watching this show for about a month now, and I am so happy to see a different perspective.  

You see everyone on this show has decided to live off the grid. Scott and I used to make fun of these people on long road trips. “Why the heck would anyone build a house here?”, we’d say driving by a shack of a house 500 miles away from the nearest city. Then we’d talk about how weird they must be. “Maybe a serial killer lives here and he’s decided to hide out here in the middle of nowhere.”  We’d take wild guesses at why anyone would want to be this anti-social. 

Well now there is a show dedicated to these kinds of people and I love it! I can’t get enough of it and it’s really changed my perspective on life and what we really need out of life. 

Commercialism tells you that you can’t live without a certain product, or that life will be so much better with this thing you must purchase. Or buying into a lifestyle that everyone must adopt or you just won’t be as happy as the people featured. The reality is, once you’ve purchased said thing, it becomes a burden to you. It’s one more thing you have to take care of.  

The people on “Live Free or Die” have purchased land out in the middle of nowhere and they’ve decided to live off that land with little to no money using only the resources that the land provides. For example, we follow Colbert who lives in a Georgia swamp. He’s built his swamp cabin by himself. He catches beaver in the river nearby, eats its meat and sells its pelt to buy supplies to build his cabin.  He has no debt, no mortgage payment, no car payments or electricity bills. His food comes from the swamp, what he catches or what he grows. His shelter comes from what he’s built with his own hands. He lives free. But more important than simply living free, he’s happy. He despising gridlock society where everyone reports to an 8-5 job and lives their lives on the weekends. As a former financial advisor, Colbert says he’s the happiest at his swamp cabin living a simple life. 

Another couple on “Live Free or Die” also bought land and built their homestead in the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina. This couple has built a self-sufficient homestead. They never need to go to a grocery store. All their food comes from their own land. They are completely self-sufficient. They tend to chickens and rabbits, grow all their own food, including bee hives to help pollinate their crops and harvest honey which they sell for things to help them become even more self-sufficient. They can their own food and trade goods for other goods without the use of currency. They even got a truck to run off vegetable oil so they can use the truck to haul lumber and scrap materials for their projects from scrap yards. Once again, they have no mortgage payments, they rely on herbal remedies for most of their health issues and don’t have to report to an 8-5 job to earn money for the majority of it to go toward the roof over their head. They live free off their own land and have little use for money.  

Another man who goes by the name of Thorn also lives in the blue ridge mountains about 5 miles away from these homesteaders. He lives an even simpler life. He is an expert with the bow and lives off what the forest can provide him. He teaches his daughter how to fish and grow food and eat things other than chicken nuggets. ūüėČ  

I’m sharing this all with you because after a month of watching this show, I’ve grown to appreciate these people and their perspectives on what a person really needs in life. We think we need so much in this world to be happy. The reality is, commercialism is like a form of brainwashing. You are brainwashed to think you need things. I’ve been brainwashed to think I need things that I really don’t need.

Moving from 2,700 square feet to 1,500 square feet is a bit humbling, I do hate having half my things still in boxes in our garage waiting for a new home to be built, but my perspective on what I need in life has changed. And this is less of a burden to me than it was seven weeks ago when we moved into this house because my perspective on what I “need” in life has changed. I’m less materialistic these days and I’ve gained a perspective that frees me from society’s expectations of what success means.    

I am learning that success is more about a happy simple life and less about money. Success is learning to live with what you have and make the best of your circumstances finding happiness outside of money and social status.   

While I don’t think Scott and I could tackle a project like buying land and building our own home on it with our own two hands or tending to livestock and gardens with his back and my shoulder issues….I love the idea! I love the idea of living a self-sufficient life. Consuming less, reusing and recycling things and I want to dive into more money-saving challenges. Scott and I have enjoyed seeing what these people do with little to no money and we enjoy seeing the happiness they’ve created in their lives by being able to do it themselves. It has given us a better perspective on life and I feel challenged to go down a more conservative road in spending. I’m now willing to sew a hole in a pair of pants to make it last longer, or repurpose something for a different use instead of throwing it away. 

In an attempt to be more conservative with our spending, I have really tried to see where we’ve failed in our grocery budget. Back when I could spend freely at the grocery store and not worry about a budget, we would spend upwards of $700. We definitely don’t have that budget anymore! $700 a month is a lot of groceries. Guess how much of that we threw away?  Probably a third of it. A lot of rotten fruits and veggies waiting to be used in a meal or with intentions of being healthier in the moment, or we’d leave leftovers in the fridge because no one wanted to reheat something. It’s sad how much food households throw away all the time. 

I have been a little successful with keeping a budget by menu planning and only buying things I need on a grocery list, but good intentions go out the window when a budget isn’t necessary. These days a budget is necessary for our lives. And I am determined not to fail this time. I am so determined that I’ve taken an approach that might seem extreme to some.  I have an excel chart where I log all of our food consumption. I portion out the price of the food by its serving size and we only eat the serving size.  I have tracked how much we consume each day in a chart by its serving size and logged it in an excel calendar. Some days our consumption is $3.88 per day! Isn’t that great!? That is a day where we eat the left overs in the fridge! Some days the consumption of food we eat is higher and it’s more like $15.00 for the day. But I have determined from my $400 a month grocery budget, that in 16 days, we only consumed $166.16. That means that I can be even more conservative with what I buy. I’m learning new ways every day. I can stockpile some things, use coupons for things I already buy, and create meals that can feed your family for more than one day.  At the end of a month of logging our consumption in excel, I will share what I’ve learned. 

About Heather Jones

I’m a coffee addict wife, “work at home mom”, mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy “momisodes”.

Heartfully Heather

 

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Heather Jones

I’m a coffee addict wife, “work at home mom”, mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy “momisodes”.

9 thoughts on “Live Free Or Die

  1. I fantasize about living off the grid, or at least living as a minimalist, but I debate the pros and cons all the time. I think it would be fun to have all my possessions in an RV and just travel the country full time, but then I remember how nice it is to have my home parked in one place. “Live Free or Die” sounds thought provoking tho!

  2. My husband and I would love to live off the grid. I haven’t seen this show, but we will have to check it out. We have actually been trying to reduce our spending so we an buy a vacation home on one of the local islands. It isn’t about how much you have but all the life you live in those moments.

  3. This sounds like a show I need to check out! I don’t think I could love off the grid, but I would love to learn how to do a few things to make life a little simpler.

  4. Me and my husband have been thinking of downsizing when the kids have left the nest to start their own families. We would like a small house in the suburbs or even out in the country. Its been a dream to go back to living simply away from the noisy city.

  5. I haven’t seen this show Live Free or Die but it does look like a show that will give me a different view of how to live content with simple things in life. I must admit, we have grown accustomed to material things and we fail to appreciate the little blessings all around us.

What do you think?