Downshifting To The Good Life

Way back in September I announced that I was downshifting, and that I had applied to work a 9 day fortnight, which essentially gives me on day less work (and pay) each pay cycle.  I will therefore be working 26 days less each year, or nearly a month.

Anyway, great news because yesterday the application was approved by my employer, and commences from 1st Jan 2012.  I am so looking forward to giving Kim that break she needs and deserves.  By taking this action now and sacrificing some potential earnings, it gives us a better quality of life onward into the future.

So what will I be doing with my reclaimed time?  Well first thing in the morning I will do the laundry, then the housework, and any grocery shopping that maybe required.  In the afternoon, some admin, and hopefully a bit of time for the garden, then cook dinner in the evening.  Mainly though, it is about giving Kim the time to recharge her batteries to get through the rest of the week.  As for the week that I don’t have a day off, we will just have to play it by ear.

How did I manage to take the pay cut and not affect our budget?  Kim does not have paid work which may put some families on the back foot to start with.  However, I have a good wage (which helps a lot) and a military pension, and we have managed to reduce our outgoings so much by being frugal and green that we have been paying triple our regular mortgage payments.  On top of that we have paid down credit cards to $0 or thereabouts. So we simply readjusted the remaining mortgage payments by the amount that I loose by taking the extra 26 days off, and we still have room to keep up high payments, but at a slower rate.  All other budget items are not affected.

Also with the reclaimed time, I will be ramping up vegetable production to cut our food bill even more. Every little bit will help, as we still want to pay down the mortgage quick smart.

I believe that if you really want to change your lifestyle badly enough, you will find a way.  We are living proof, so to speak.  I will leave you with this quote from Tracy Smith, author of the Downshift Manifesto which I totally agree with.

“Money – We’re surrounded by the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ credit culture and have forgotten the value of our true earnings. Curb your debt and prevent overspending by cutting up a [credit] card. Mantra – The more money you spend, the longer you need to work to pay for it. Remember – The best things in life are free. Re-learn the value of money and live within your means.

Time – Everybody can claw back time here and there. When you change your perspective on the best ways to spend it, a whole new world opens up. What happened to playing games, reading, talking and interacting as a family? We’ve just forgotten the joys of doing them all. Mantra – What’s the point of owning a fortune if you haven’t the time to spend it? Remember – The most important gift is time. Spend quality time with the most important people in your life.

I hereby pledge to slow my life down a gear, for the benefit of my health, my well being, my environment and for those around me whom I dearly love.

—Tracy Smith, The Downshifting Manifesto”

 Here is to living a full and exciting life!


  1. says

    Very inspiring Gavin! I am a stay at home mum and grow a few veggies but certainly not as much as I could be! Also loved your article in the current issue of Grass Roots and will definately attempt Cheesemaking in the new year.

    Cheers Becc x

  2. says

    Hi Gavin, I think that’s a great idea. I started doing something similar about 2 years ago and the extra health of our family from growing our own vegies which I could never do when working full time as a teacher, is really obvious. Good luck with it all. I’ll keep dropping in to see how you go.

  3. says

    Good idea Gavin, I also work a 9 day fortnight and turned down the extra day when it was offered. I relish that day at home to sort out the gardening and get some housework done :) I think you will more that reclaim that money by increasing your garden productivity. I’d love to keep dropping days and increasing productivity at home until I didn’t have to work anymore, but I haven’t told my work that yet!

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