Friday, September 23, 2011

FREEDOM!

I just deposited my 401K check today. It was a fairly small sum...might get me through a year without income, but just barely. As soon as I got home from the bank, I logged onto my last outstanding credit card account and scheduled a final balance payment for Monday. It took more than half my 401K, but it feels SO damn good!
It's not just that it pained me to pay $100 or more per month in interest charges to the banks I helped bail out. Not giving them that money will feel great! And it isn't all about getting out of the stock market by cashing in the 401K before things go bad again. If you don't sell in a blind panic, there is usually a decent recovery.
No. What makes me the happiest is that I feel like I'm a pioneer in a new economy that is just taking shape.
I switched my banking to a community bank last year. There's only one branch, so it's not exactly convenient, but I know this bank supports local businesses. I charge things on my debit card with them. Which means that I don't go into debt.
Last week, I spent a fair amount of money buying thermal window curtains and a comforter set. I had to search online for days to find products that were made in the USA and affordable. I feel like I'm supporting the US economy, reducing energy consumption with my new curtains, and doing something concrete to help America rebuild. I'll try to get cushions and pillows made locally if possible.
We also just had an energy audit and almost $3,000 worth of tightening up/insulation work done on the house this past month. Most of it was paid for through a grant with PSNH. Our cost was about $1200. The money I save on oil will go right into new projects like solar hot water and a pellet stove. I plan to track and blog on it throughout this winter. I took lots of pictures of the work during the final inspection. Energy savings measures are better than money in the bank...they are practically organic because the more oil prices increase, the bigger your return on investment.
I am a happy woman tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Fran Cosentino WhiteSeptember 24, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Pat, I love your new found freedom. And, wow, your plan to live so simply and sensitively is making me aware of how our life is here in Maine.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Fran

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