Moving to Michigan

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


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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Frugality for Beginners

Getting started with spending less

Frugality gets a bad reputation. Like any practice, it can be taken to a comical extreme. But I think there is a lot of merit to trying to live a more frugal life.

The first handful of synonyms in the thesaurus for frugality are: thrifty, economical, careful, cautious, prudent, provident, unwasteful. That last one in particular stands out to me. Not wasting. That’s a very noble quality. Not wasting money or food or resources in general.

So let’s shift our perspective on frugality. Let’s run with it being an admirable way to approach living a healthy and balanced life. How does one even be frugal, particularly in respect to finances?

It’s simple: buy less stuff you don’t need.

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The Great Minimizing

Simplifying our lives and making some extra money in the process

Abagail and I have been reinvigorated with minimalism and frugality over the past few months. We’ve practiced and followed minimalism in the past, but we lost our way a little. We kept convincing ourselves that we needed this and needed that, and we somehow amassed a whole bunch of stuff that we didn’t need, use, or enjoy.

After refreshing ourselves about living with less by reading books, watching videos, and having conversations with each other, we set out to sell and donate our excess stuff. This wasn’t our first time minimizing our things, but this time has felt significant because of our renewed focus. I’ve been calling it The Great Minimizing.

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Falling in Love with the Library

Read more and save money, what’s not to love?

I didn’t read much growing up. I don’t think I read a single book in high school that I didn’t have to. It just wasn’t my thing.

I started reading in my early twenties, largely due to the works of Haruki Murakami. I still read pretty regularly, but I found myself buying way more books lately than I could ever hope to finish. Dozens of books sat unread on my bookshelf for years. I was buying them as if I would never have a chance to buy another book again.

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Getting Serious About Saving

Setting financial goals, minimizing what we don’t need, and saving over 50% of our take-home pay

My financial mindset for the last few years has been pretty simple:

  1. No debt, at all costs 🙅‍♂️
  2. Have at least three months of safety net saved up 💰
  3. Max out my Traditional IRA annually 🏖

My wife and I have managed to avoid debt, build up a safety net of six months, and contribute to our retirement accounts as much as possible. Beyond that, we weren’t really sure what to do. So, inevitably, we spent our extra cash. Not on anything too lavish or wild, but we weren’t mindful and didn’t have a plan. Until now.

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We Sold Our Car

Why we decided to go car-free, and how it’s been going

After thinking about it for a few months and doing an experiment to see how little we could drive in a given month, my wife and I decided it was time to sell our car. It has been a positive change so far.

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