1. When did you first start living aboard a boat, and what inspired your decision?
I was strictly a land dweller until I met my husband who has basically lived and worked at sea since he was about 17 years old, so he was my influence and I have to admit I love it!
2. Why is self-sufficiency so important in your life?
Self-sufficiency means freedom to us. We just want to be free to live our lives on our own terms, not being dependent on any entities. For example, in bad weather if you have a solar wind, or a good generator and some batteries, you are all set if the electricity goes out and the electric company can't get to you for a few days or weeks. People who live in houses that don't have any of those things are at the mercy of the electric company that may not be able to reach them due to circumstances beyond their control. That is something that people like us don't have to worry so much about.
3. How did you select your top five products that you recommend for saving money?
We are not wealthy people. My husband is retired and living on a pension which isn't as much as we would like; so saving money is important to us. I have found that often the more money that people make, the greater the debt that they get into because they haven't altered how they viewed their money or their time. We love spending time together and doing the simple things in life, so the products that I recommend are actually coming from how we are learning to live our lives. We actually save more money this way, and it frees up our time to do the things that we value in life.
In other words, we really believe that managing the money that we have is far more important than making more money that we don't adequately manage.
So I am making these recommendations to anyone who wants to learn to manage what they have and learn to live within their means. That is very empowering.
4. What do you say to people who don't believe that couponing is an effective way to save money?
I say that they are really missing out on an effective opportunity to not only save money but get top brands. I have found that effectively using coupons frees up my income so that I can pay more on debts that I owe, and yes we still have debts.
It makes our lives less complicated. For example, if I use buy "ones or twos, get ones or twos for free" on things that we use like laundry soap, razors, toothpaste, deodorant, dish detergent, etc for three months straight, then I don't need to spend any money on those products for the next six months to a year, and that frees up at least $40 to $100 per month on those products alone. It is not about being a hoarder; it is about being prepared. Notice that I have not even mentioned how much we save on our pet products or food. Also remember, we are only two people with a cat. A family has the opportunity to see even more savings because they tend to spend more money.
5. What do you enjoy the most about living on a boat--and what do you find most challenging?
The things that you don't really think about living in a house, you have to think about while living on a boat. How and where to dispose of your waste, generating your own power, keeping your batteries up to date are all challenging, but at the same time, it is these very things that keep me independent. It makes me think that there is and has always been a high price for our conveniences, and I would not trade the life that I have.