Moving A Family Of 7 Out Of State On A 3.5k Budget; And My Introduction To A Semi-Minimalist Lifestyle
We recently moved to Illinois from Pennsylvania. My husband and I needed a drastic change for our family. We were surrounded by toxic people in a city that never really felt like home to any of us. So we took a leap of faith in October of 2017 and started to save for our move.
The biggest question we get is the how. How much we spent, how long we saved, and we went about it. We aren't rich. We lived for the most part pay check to pay check. We sacrificed A LOT to be able to do this.
Budgeting any move out of state is INSANELY expensive. A truck alone could run you over 5k (rental + gas) easily. And let's face it... depending on how big your family is and how much stuff you have.. one truck load probably won't cut it either. And us? We're a family of seven. Yikes.
I got to looking online and seeing how other people did this. How does one move on a tight budget? My searching brought me to an article on minimalism and living a minimalist lifestyle.
"What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life."
I was aware of the concept, but not in this way. Things like tiny homes (and if you have ever seen my pinterest, yes I am obsessed) were ideas that appealed to me later on in life. But I did not think it would be possible to really declutter and downsize with children.
And the other HUGE part. I had no idea the concept applies to relationships and activities. I was so intrigued. I really started to dig deep. I joined a few Facebook support groups on minimalism and recreated my goals.
Now for most people doing a big move, there is a car or cars involved. Well my husband and I don't drive. This meant the first part of our budget had to be for our own transportation.
My husband put in for his job transfer in February and actually applied for a couple different states. We had two accepted. One in Washington state and the other Illinois. We went with Illinois as that is where my in laws lived. We set his start date for the first week in April.
Traveling this time of year was still relatively cheap. We got sleeper cars with beds for seven people on Amtrak for 1.2k total one way.
Now, this would also be important in the planning of getting some of our belongings to Illinois as well. We were allowed to take two large suitcases each. So for seven people that is 14 bags! We utilized this for all the clothing we were taking.
Now, if I am being honest. As a family we owned waaaayyyy more clothing than could fit in two bags each. But this is where our minimalist journey begins. With the clothing.
We spent a good week going through all our clothes. If we didn't NEED it, love it... it was donated or tossed. I am talking items that were never worn or didn't fit. Things being saved for "some day"...yeah no. We were living in the now, so they had no room in our future.
Next we had to decide what wasn't replaceable. Now I have always been an upcycler. I have furnished every home I have ever lived in with FREE or used furniture. So I let go of my initial instincts. The "but I love my couches, but I love my dinning room set". Those can be replaced. They were not coming with us.
What would be most expensive to replace were TVs and Mattresses. We could have gotten upcycled of these items as well, but we had just purchased new six months before and didn't want to waste that money.
Shipping these items would cost an arm and a leg, and again... we don't drive. That killed the idea of a truck. So we then we decided a POD would be the right choice for us.
PODS are amazing honestly. The company drops it off. You have three days to load it. They pick it up and deliver it right to your new address. So simple!
We went with the smallest POD and packed it up tightly based on our needs. We did not want to force a minimalist lifestyle on our children in a traumatic way. So a good portion of our boxes for the pod were the kids toys and personal belongings.
I packed my books, some camera gear, one full box of picture frames and photographs, my crystal collection and incense. And a few personal items. Pots and Pans my father had given me, and plates. Blankete, sheets and pillows. That was it. We pretty much left everything else behind.
$1.2k Train Tickets
$1.5k Boxes, Packing Supplies, POD
$500 To Replace Furniture
$300 To Replace Decorative Pieces
Total moving expenses of $3.5k
Roughly $8k - $10k cheaper than those who would have moved their whole house or bought brand new furniture at their new location.
Full disclosure, the first place we rented was out of our budget and we knew this. But we wanted a place to get our foot in the door so we signed a six month lease. If you wanted to budget in our rental cost it would be an additional $3k for rent and deposit putting us at a $6.5k move total cost. We kept our furniture budget in savings and waited until we found a cheaper place closer to Chicago and transportation. We applied for an apartment in a gorgeous complex after our first lease was up and we got approved.
Renting a temporary house helped us learn our new state. Research neighborhoods and school districts. Decide what we wanted in our home and where. We were able to get our deposit back in full and applied it to our new place.
Our apartment complex is in a great neighborhood, close to transportation. Easy train ride to Chicago. Pool, gym, clubhouse, 24/7 maintenance. Our unit is three bedroom, 2 full bath. It's everything we wanted.
It took six months of saving and planning to leave Pennsylvania and another six months to get settled into a new state and find the perfect apartment but we did it.
I will make a follow up post with some pictures of our new apartment and the items I purchased to decorate as well as the upcycled furniture.
We had A LOT of odds against us. We don't make a ton of money. We had to sacrifice a lot to save up. No going out to eat, no takeout. Cheaper phones and plans, no cable etc. We don't drive. Traveling was difficult. But I am here to tell you, if we can do it... so can you!
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE UNHAPPY.
Our worst days in Illinois have been better than some of our best in Pennsylvania. So that says a lot.
If you're stuck in a place you are unhappy... start small. Make tiny lifestyle changes and learn to let go.
Until next time.... love and light friends!
There are some things (and honestly some people) that just no longer mesh into your life. Sometimes it's not just enough to ignore the situation, you have to pick up and leave. I spent ten years in a city I hated. I thought it was perhaps simply the people I associated myself with making me so unhappy, but it was so much deeper than that. I was living for change and peace around me but was surrounded by hateful people who were going no where. Just going outside, walking the streets and over hearing the conversations of strangers. I could not escape it. I had to get my family and myself out of there.
Change is good. Whenever someone says I have changed, I see it as a wonderful thing. I am constantly learning and growing. Society is always shifting. As I learn new things, my opinions and outlooks on life change. I am not the same person I was two years ago. And I am definitely not the same person I was 1 year ago. I don't even think I am the same as six months ago.
I keep saying this, and I will continue to do so.... LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE UNHAPPY. Don't wait for change, make the change. Cut all the negative out. Don't let it hold you back one second longer. Not everyone has the will to or can drop everything and leave. I understand that. In my personal life I am adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. That isn't everyone's jam. But for me it made leaving everything behind so much easier.
You can set your own goals. Come up with your own plan. Go as fast or as slow as you need... but don't stand still. It's scary. It may even feel impossible, but if I can do it. Trust me. Anyone can.
Let's start off with.. what IS a vision board? Make-a-vision-board's website says; A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.
A lot of times we see these for long term goals that to take place over the course of years, maybe even a lifetime. For example, your board might be that you would like to become a millionaire. So you would find imagery online or in magazines related to that goal. Whatever is important to you.
For my long term vision board, I am still working the kinks out. I want something a bit more solid once I am sure about my direction. But I still wanted a fun way to pull together some goals and ideas. So I decided to give a digital board a shot. It's really easy and you can do it too.
So for my short term goals, and going digital I used pintrest.com to find pictures of the things I wanted to set for my goals. I had to decide on a really good time frame. For me, my goals are for six months. This means these are the things I want to make happen over the next six months.
You really have to envision yourself not only working on, but living your best life. I say that phrase a lot. Living YOUR best life. This should be based on your own goals. Your own hopes and dreams. YOUR standards. So when making your board, keep that in mind. This is for you, not other people. You don't even have to post your board if you do not want to. Just work on your goals, the things in life that make you happy.
You may not be sure what you would even want to put on yours, so let me dig a little deeper into for you;
-You can share things you want to do! Get a new job, climb a mountain! Whatever pops in your head.
-Places you want to go. You want to travel to Italy? Put it on your board.
-Who you want to be. Maybe your goal is to be a kinder person, or be a better mom.
-Things you want to learn. Maybe a new language. Or how to places you would like to go.
Let's talk about my board's goals. Again, for me, it's 6 month shorter term goals. And they are pretty personal. Yours maybe be nothing like this. But here are mine;
- Continue to declutter and practice minimalism.
- Learn more about different species of houseplants and find the most sustainable for my family's lifestyle.
-Submit some of my work to an art show event.
-Give myself some more self care.
-Read actual books I can hold and turn the pages.
-Plan a beach vacation to a beach I have never been to and GO!
-Work on my yoga posing goals.
-Polish my raw crystals, give them life.
-Meditate more when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
-Study the teachings of Ram Dass, my guru.
I really hope these ideas will be helpful to anyone looking for fun and interesting ways of goal keeping. Keep your board someplace you will see it every day. Make it your facebook profile cover, set it as your phone's background. Let it help you stay on task.
What's going on your board?
I didn't get as many pictures this time as Inbnwould have liked to, but I did get the chance to meet some people from the Chicago chapter of Norml. A couple hundred people stopped by throughout the day and I would say their event was a pretty good sucess!
This event was hosted by Jim Patton and his page is https://www.facebook.com/Chicago-Peace-Fest-107420245952134/
Worth a follow for more Chicago related marijuana information.
So this is not my prettiest angle, but I am sharing it with you guys today (rolls and all) because I am 25lbs down and on my 5th yoga class! As I said in a previous post, sometimes being open and vulnerable is a good thing. It teaches us we don't have to pretend to be something else. In light of this new thinking, I have been sharing more and more full body images of myself. I can love myself even at the start of this weight loss and soul searching journey.
Early before going into my Tuesday evening Mindful Mini class, threw on some meditation music and just let go!
This space felt like Zen, the vibes were so beautiful. The blessing of just letting it go flowed so beautifully for me in this space.
The first step in Spiritual Surrender is- Prayer, and asking for the highest good for all! So I sat in meditation. Truly doing just that, praying for this feeling of acceptance. It is a powerful thing to become humble and courageous enough to dig deeper, to let go that little bit more. However, I am so ready for this work! This deep pull that has come over me to finally show up for what I have been so deeply ignoring.
Far too often I find myself judging .... ME!
Judging how I’m not getting enough done. How I’m not spending enough quality time with my children or my husband.
How, shoot for just a moment I want a minute to drink a coffee and sit in silence. Judging and picking apart every moment I feel inadequate or less than....
Ugghhh can you relate?
Something that I am learning on my matt and truly bringing the essence off my mat is the idea of no of myself. That each day I am where I am meant to be, doing the best I can in every present moment. When I let go of this idea of how I am supposed to be “Momming”, “Living”, “Being”, “Working”, etc. I have truly began to breathe in this beautiful presence that is the real authenticity that is myself.
Truly my authentic whole self is the best version of me. Something I continue to strive to always embrace.
My judgement of myself is no one else’s perception of me than me. Allowing myself the ability to release this perception only allows for a loving mindset to take form.
I have SO much to update about, but first I wanted to talk aboit some things weighing heavy on my mind. Karma. When you spread positive energy positivity it will come back to you. Nothing that goes against you or wants to cause you harm will ever prosper.
I recently had a discussion about business practices and Karma at Yoga with a friend of mine, Addison. She is not only this queen of zen and has yoga skills that blow my mind, she is a business and life coach.
We got into a discussion about the old phrase and mentality of "fake it to you make it". When does it hurt your karma? How to go about it in a positive way.
If you're lying to your clients about your lifestyle, how much money you're making, or your team - it's not faking it till you make it. It's simply bad karma.
What should you being doing? Exude confidence when you're scared. Work through your fears. Share your goals. Talk about the ones you have already met and plan to meet.
I almost got into a MLM with a girlfriend of mine. You may of selling essentials oils. She made it sound like such an amazing oppurtinty. The company was called Doterra, and in fairness, I do believe in their products. Their oils are high quality and I actually use them everyday. So I could in confidence speak very highly on Doterra oils. However, where my karma comes into question is the MLM business plan itself.
For one the company sells people the dream of their own business. You will often hear, let it be Doterra, ItWorks, Beachbody, Plexus, or Younique. You are sold and are selling the idea to people that you are going to be a business owner. And that just isn't true. The company is using you to push their products essentially for free. These presenters disguised as business owners are trained to lie to people.
They all make similar posts which a lot of time are copy n pasted sent around over and over. They make videos about their lives changing and what an amazing opportunity they have invested in. All while their life circumstances have not really changed. They may have an extra few hundred dollars that month, but you have to ask yourself how much of your karma did you sacrifice to do so?
This business model also encourages you to push these products on your friends and family in order to make a decent profit. They have you create facebook groups, host online parties and overall just be an annoying pest.
Where I am living now, mostly everyone is in an upper to middleclass financial situation. I know a lot of the Chicago land suburb mommies can easily afford Doterra so I could in better conscious speak to them than my "friends". If we are talking my close friends from back in Carlisle, or some of the people I grew up with... well a lot of them are living in housing. They are living pay check to pay check. How could I tell them how awesome this MLM life is when I know that $20, $40, $100 oils order could have went to their rent or their children. Instead it went to a company who won't even pay their employees a living wage. Because that is what you are. An employee, not a business owner.
Oh and the fighting - let it be in these groups or on the side line. Never let a situation take you out of your character or do something vengeful... people have to remember these situations are temporary while actions have permanent consequences. These companies are supposed to be a sisterhood, but they are nothing like that.
So the way the conversation ultimately sparked was me talking about my business and how I, although I never pushed the idea of a better life on people or pushed MLM product purchashing, I am guilty of adapting to the "fake it till you make idea". I told Addison that not working is becoming tiresome. I really need some new strategies, but I wanted to steer clear of 'fake it till you make it' because it honestly got me no where in the past and just left me feeling empty. I no longer understand the point of pretending my workload is more than it is, or that I am making more money than I actually am.
Addison said a lot of things that just made sense to me. And opened my eyes. For one, getting back to the core roots of why I started my own business in the first place. How far I came when I segregated myself from unhealthy relationships, bonds, and friendships. Not just in business, but in life too. It's ok not to be near your goals, but standing still is not a possibility.
I really don't need to pretend things are amazing for me business wise right now as I have only just started to dig into my Chicago potential. Looking at it that way, I have really relieved a lot pressure I had put on myself.
I really busted my ass to get out of Carlisle. And whilst I do not want to get to a stand still, it's ok that things are starting slow here. I mean, in Pennsylvania I built a name and a brand. It did not happen overnight, in fact it took years. Essentially in so many ways it's almost like I am starting over completely. And more than anything... I just want to keep my business karma clean.
I hope that this doesn't offend anyone. Perhaps you yourself are involved in a MLM and have had amazing experiences and feel your karma is clean. That is fine. I will support you with nothing but peace and love. I just know what I can and cannot do to myself or my friends and family.
Always remember that in our lives their is always room for growth. The energy you give off and your vibrancy are the most influential factors in determining your level of success. That is something you never have to fake. Just find your authentic voice, become vulnerable, and then put yourself out there.
If you’re like me, gratitude is an emotion that has a limited shelf life. It’s not because I don’t want to feel grateful (I do!!), rather there so many things that seem to pull me away from that experience.
I traced the roots back to the theme of yesterday- entitlement. It is because I feel entitled that my gratitude is limited. After all, if I feel I’m deserving of something, when I get it my attitude is more along the lines of “Finally!” instead of deep appreciation.
In the lives of my own mentors and teachers, I’ve observed one quality that is present in those who live a life of consistent gratitude: they are humble.
They are humble because they live a life of no expectation. Whatever comes, they appreciate so deeply because they have deeply realized that this life is one of service, not one of being served.
It’s a high standard and definitely not one I’m anywhere close to. That said, their example and presence in my life, make it seem possible.
Just some random thoughts I had today... Please enjoy my view. Happy Sunday!
I am a ride or die New Yorker, but I will admit, this pizza had me asking some questions about my pizza loyalty! Lol Sooo yummy!
Adjusting to life in Illinois has been interesting to say the least. I am just trying to take it all in at a one day at a time pace.
I am realizing that with this new space and place I don't have to constantly walk around on eggshells anymore. I don't have to fear what people think they know of me or how they define me.
I have changed a lot in the past two years. Losing my father has caused me to change how I looked at the entire world around me.
One morning I woke up and I looked in the mirror and saw a person I did not like...a person I did not know. I spent ten years of my life trying to fit into a mold I did not belong.
I spent the next year searching and I found myself again. I found my reason and purpose to be in this world. But I still felt incomplete. I was surrounded by people who didn't want growth or change in their lives. Or they wanted it, but were not willing to fight for it.
You are a lot of who you put yourself around. Their energy and vibes feed into you. Not only in our friends... but our neighborhood and community too. When I realized this, I knew I had to leave. I could not strive to be the person I was meant to be and have the life I wanted for my family in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
My husband and I spent the next year researching places to live. We looked into about 10 states, but only put in for job transfers in Washington, California, Illinois, and New York.
We were approved in both Washington state and Illinois. However, we went with Illinois because they offered more money, was closer to family, and had several gated communities / subdivisions.
I wasn't sure what to expect and how my life would fall into place into place here... but so far I am loving the direction things are going.
Every afternoon it's been nice weather, Poppy and I have been walking the nature trails in our subdivision. Poppy brings her tablet to take photos and I bring my camera.
The beautiful spring birds are out. My favorite are the Redwinged Black birds and the Tree Swallows. I had to look up their names on google and now I am inspired to journal them. I ordered a "birds of Illinois" book and plan on learning as much as I can.
You can probably expect a lot more pictures like this (smile). I really enjoy bird watching and nature photography as a whole. It's relaxing and nice to have something I can share with my toddler.
It has been a tough week with lots to do and so I just had to get on with it. I was so tired that when I got into bed on Saturday I actually felt emotional and needed to just let my tears roll and have a little cleanse. It wasn't because I couldn't handle it, it wasn't because I was weak, it was because my body needed to release the stress and the exhaustion and so I gave the day that last bit and then had the best 9 hours sleep. I haven't slept like that in years... having 3 boys who love to rise with the sun means that a morning in bed to chill isn't really a reality I know, but on this day- I got to stay in bed and sleep. Have to say that none of that would have been possible without my Mr and oldest daughter and I am so grateful to them for helping me create the space for me to prioritise a little diffrently this week.
I am so use to running my whole day, week and months around the needs of my family that those two days felt so different to me.
I got in a little yoga and am working hard on my posing. I am not as flexible as I once was, but I am working on it. I set a tiny goal for May, and a big one for the end of the summer. Here's to setting goals and achieving them one tiny step at a time.
I get a little tired of people who assume that just because you have kids, you are automatically completely uncool, and that all your time is spent wiping babies from head to toe, giving spit baths, criticizing their every move, volunteering for PTA, blogging in your spare time, clipping coupons before crock potting a pot roast, ironing the clothes, bleaching the whites, mopping the floors, harvesting your eggs, sewing for your etsy shop, scrapbooking the little things, taking pictures of everything they do, saving for college, reading Dr. Suess, socializing at the bus stop, sweeping the floor, laughing over coffee with your jogging stroller, wearing your birkenstocks and listening to Baby Einstein.
Just because I DO THESE THINGS OCCASIONALLY.
Does not mean for one second that sometimes I don’t just want to be a kick ass girl with streaks in her hair, a ring in her nose, a tattoo on her arm, concert tickets in her purse, vodka in her fridge, a leather mini-skirt in her closet, her best single friends and a standing reservation for Las Vegas once a year with a don’t ask don’t tell policy, and the desire to just once be seen as more than the mother of 5 kids. Sometimes I just want to be seen as a “Maggie”. A “Maggie” with an extremely adorable set of children… (I joke, but sometimes it's hard to over come labels. )
Married + 5 Children
Born in New York
Living in Chicago Land
Italian + Mexican American household
Published Photographer + Artist
Lung Cancer Activist + Advocate
Social Media Enthusiast
Openly in Grief Therapy
Believes in Freedom Of Religion
Studied Animal Science
Backpacking + Hiking
Crystals + Meditation + Yoga
Writing + Scrapbooking + Blogging
Foodie + Cooking + Baking
Tropical Fish Keeping
Coffee + Coffee Shops
Travel + Road trips
Okkervil River + Good indie bands