A woman in the valley traded in a successful and profitable career for a life of minimalism. Now she says she's richer than ever.
Not too long ago, Kathy Mullins made her living as a computer programmer.
“I've spent about a decade behind a computer screen, in a cubicle for about half of that,” she said.
She was doing what she thought she was supposed to do.
“To be a responsible adult you need to have a respectable career,” Mullins said. “You need to make a certain amount of money to be successful. And that's success. That's America's idea of success.”
But she wasn't happy.
“Just being stuck indoors all the time behind a computer wasn't what I wanted. The outdoors was always calling to me and I wanted to be outdoors,” Mullins said.
At the time she was making $96,000 a year. Could she afford to live the life she imagined? She was willing to try.
“At first when I did I'm like, ‘OK, I could probably live on like $70,000 a year. I could probably do that, right?’” she said.
So she started to scale back.
“There's still things I was holding onto that I thought I had to have like expensive anti-aging cream and stuff,” Mullins said.
But in letting go, she says what she found was far more valuable.
“Every time I let go of another thing it gave me freedom,” Mullins said. “So I let go of every single luxury that I had and I have reduced my cost of living to $15,000 a year.”
Mullins lives off the land. She owns and operates A Better Way Farm and Goat Dairy, selling goat’s milk products like raw milk, cheese, and soap. She also has a recently planted couple-hundred peach and apple trees. While her day lasts from sun up to sun down, she says it doesn’t feel like work.
“I feel like I'm just doing what I would most want to do,” Mullins said.
She says it's really about finding what makes you happy, whatever that may be.
“If you love something and you have enough passion for it, you can make it work,” she said.
Mullins says there is one luxury she misses: housekeeper, because doing that for herself takes her inside.
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