Moving to Michigan

Why we’re heading back east after a few years of living in Oregon, and how we’re doing it

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After a little over three-and-a-half years of living in Portland, Oregon, Abagail and I are moving to Michigan in less than a month. We’ve been planning on moving out of Portland to live in a smaller city that’s a little bit slower and has a lower cost of living. We weren’t quite sure where or when we wanted to move until earlier this year.

Our lease is up at our current place at the end of April 2019, so we could either renew or move. We thought why the heck not just move sooner rather than later if we know that’s what we want to do? So we’re moving to Michigan at the end of April.

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Systematically Reducing Expenses Through Budgeting

Reviewing our spending in 2018 and pinpointing how we can easily save more money in 2019

Once you’ve got your budget and have been using it for a few months, you’ll be able to see where your money is actually going. This insight is incredibly powerful and allows you to put your budget to use in a real way that will help you save money.

My wife and I have found that through reviewing our spending over the course of six months or a year, we’re better able to tell how we can reduce our spending day-to-day in certain categories based on our tendencies. It allows us to make behavior changes based on real data, not just feelings. We’re by no means perfect. Not even close. Which means we can keep trying to do better.

Abagail and I identified the following spending categories at the beginning of 2019 based on our 2018 spending as easy places we could cut back without impacting our quality of life. We wanted to reduce spending in categories where the change would be significant: at least $100 or more. Here’s what we cut back on and how it’s been going.

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Tips for Budgeting Successfully

Practical advice on how to approach budgeting and stick with it

Budgeting can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you’ve operated without one for a long time. But the more you do it, the better it gets. It eventually becomes empowering. Regardless of what tool or technique you use for budgeting, here are some practical ways to make budgeting easier.

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Rethinking Weight Loss

Viewing it as a byproduct instead of the goal

I’ve been overweight for most of my life. My weight has fluctuated throughout the years, a bit like a rollercoaster. Over the last few years, I’ve started thinking about weight loss in a slightly different way.

I always viewed losing weight as the goal of dieting and being physically active. At my heaviest weights, I felt like my size was the reason for everything in my life that wasn’t right and that losing weight would solve those problems. Losing weight was an obsession.

I’ve lost about 60 pounds over the last four-and-a-half years, but that was never my goal. To me, losing that weight was a byproduct of something much more important: prioritizing my holistic health.

It’s a subtle change in mindset, but it’s had a profound impact.

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A Simple and Unique Case for Veganism

Examining why eating a plant-based diet so special and powerful

As I head into my fourth year of being vegan, my conviction surrounding it being an important part of my life grows only stronger. I’ve been ruminating on why that is, and I think I’ve found an answer.

No other way of eating is rooted in love and compassion.

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The Great Grocery Experiment

Analyzing a month of grocery receipts to determine how to spend less

One of our highest recurring expenses is groceries. Our average monthly spending on groceries in 2018 was $985.47 ($227.42 per week).

I have no clue how that compares to others, but seems like a lot. In an effort to better understand where our grocery money was actually going, we saved all of our receipts for a month and analyzed them. We learned a ton about where our money was going and how we could save more.

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Reading Log: Buddhism for Beginners

An approachable intro to Buddhism using a question and answer format

I’ve been interested in Buddhism since around the time I started meditating last year. I’ve watched some videos and done some reading. I understand the core tenants, but it’s all still quite new to me. A few months ago at the local hippie bookstore in Portland I saw the book Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron and decided to pick it up. It sat on my bookshelf unread until last week.

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