We did have one experience renting a house for a year, which in terms of the house and renters was just fine, but in terms of what we actually "needed," it was well beyond what we should have worked with at that point.
Each time we step towards something larger, or with more amenities, we plan the next time to cut back and downsize. So far, other than the drop from the 3 bedroom house to the 1 bedroom apartment, we haven't done it much. Even then, the apartment was amenity-rich enough that the actual savings between the two was minimal.
Where I work, I do what essentially amounts to "needs-based" sales. I find out what the customer wants, I assess what they technically need, and I recommend based on that. Sometimes it's for more, sometimes for less, and often they still go for what they originally intended. But, I make it a point to always point out that "technically" they could get by with less (if that is truly the case...sometimes it isn't).
So, in thinking through our patterns of housing, I realize we have been shelling tons of money each month into rent. I know it's something that can't really be avoided, and Austin is growing so prices just keep going up each year.
Juliet approached me on a recent mini trip to Oklahoma about maybe making a bigger downsizing than what we had done previously.
My mom and stepdad have been living comfortably in a Fifth Wheel RV now for the better part of 2 years, and each time we visit, we notice how functionally everything still works the same. They cook, they clean, they shower, they sleep; everything is essentially what we "need" in a place to live-just smaller.
After researching a bit into it, we decided that purchasing our own used RV, would provide us with the downsizing that we seek, and give us something of value to sell after a couple years, should we decide to upgrade, or save enough for a house. Because it would be used, it would likely not depreciate while in our possession, and so at the end of a year or so, we could sell it for about what we pay, and use that as a down payment towards a newer used one (if we like the lifestyle), or have some considerable savings (ideally).
The game plan, as we are praying for it to unfold, is that we will finish out our lease in the current apartment complex (which we have enjoyed the most out of all our other locations), and move into the RV and RV park to begin our "downsizing."
With RV park rent (which his way lower than apartment) and a minor payment on the RV (depending on what we buy), we'd still be cutting back considerably, and be able to start saving a bit better.
As part of this possibility, Juliet would finally be able to do what she was wanted to do since I first met her in Mexico--work for her dad in Mexico.
She spent her high school years and later (until I brought her here with me) translating and helping with missions teams coming down through Manos Juntas Mexico. They primarily conducted the Methodist churches who want to build houses or help on medical teams, and that is how I met her originally (through the church in which I was raised).
The downsizing plan allows the financial flexibility for her to test out/pursue her dream of working in missions, and learning the ropes from her father, who currently is one of the main coordinators for the ministry. She would make a small salary and tips from teams, which would amount to essentially what she gets paid now. She may also have opportunity to teach English to kids while there for payment.
The idea behind it all is that she feels she is being called to pursue this, and that some ministry opportunity lies behind it that we currently can't see completely. By taking a bit of a faith jump, and living more within means (or less than our means to a degree), we hope to move forward in a position spiritually and financially that if we needed to respond to a call, we'd be ready.
The RV in and of itself would make mission work much easier if we moved from place to place, as we could simply pack up and tow it to a new location.
Most of this is still tentative, though I've told her that doing the Mexico work is worth pursuing. And, we are in the process of buying the RV pretty soon. I guess it's tentative/happening all at once. It's a bit overwhelming, and there are lots of things to coordinate, but so far, everything has fallen into place pretty well. We are trusting God to provide what we need, and feel that downsizing in general is a wise-decision. Living better within our means, and saving some money for future needs.
All in all I'm excited, a bit nervous, and excited again. The RV part alone would be a good idea in terms of finances, and living in one for a year or two would not be too bad (or doesn't seem like it would be). We would be paying more for a studio apartment, and not have resale value, so in terms of furthest we can downsize, this seems to be the spot.
One snag we hit was the forced changing of my current work schedule, and the possibility of not having Sundays off for the foreseeable months. As it is today, there was an opening on one of the Sunday off teams, and I put in for it in anticipation that God will put me there if that's where He wants me. If not, I will have 4 days @ 10 hours each, with a Monday, Tues, Wednesday off each week. The benefit of that schedule would be time to go visit Juliet during her stay in Mexico with more ease.
Either way, I've committed to God's will in it, and I'm just awaiting what He has in store now. I would love to continue having Sundays off as we are very active in our church now. I'm sure if I am temporarily misplaced from that (through nothing in my control) that God will use me in some way. Or perhaps, the random opening on the Sunday off team is the answer to my prayers? I trust God either way.
As we proceed with our plans, we are trying to be open and flexible and just lay them out generally. If we get too detailed, we would seek reliance on ourselves (or be tempted to do so) and I think it would be wiser to let God guide this move.
Prayers during this time are greatly appreciated, and I will put a minor list here of specifics. In everything we give thanks that God has consistently provided for us over the past few years, and we know whatever happens, He is in control.
In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to express our heart's desires, and to pray for fulfillment of this. We just ask God's will be done either way.
So please pray for us in terms of:
-Having days off with my job that allow Sunday worship and activities
-Juliet's transition to working in Mexico, and the financial implications (however minor)
-To find a great RV deal, something within our price range (this may have already happened)
-For the time we will have apart as Juliet pursues her calling in Mexico, while I continue working here
-For God to use her time in Mexico and those ministries to open doors for further opportunities for both of us to fulfill our purpose
-For peace and comfort during what may be initially stressful times
Thanks in advance, and thanks be to God, who is always providing, and in whose will we put our trust, looking forward to the good things prepared for us from the foundation of the world.