People often ask: “why did you move to France?”
My common response is: “because I could.”
That might sound like a smug answer, and I don’t mean it to be taken that way. Yet it’s true. I’m healthy, my children are in good places in their lives, and I figured out how I could afford to live in France.
Let’s set the record straight. I’m not wealthy. A farmhouse to remodel in Provence is not in the plan. I “finagle” and try to stretch my retirement funds, just like most everyone else.
What I did was add up how much it would cost me to live in France — which is less than you’d think– then I minimized my monthly costs in the US.
By “minimize“, I mean I got rid of my “stuff.” Some things went to my children, some were sold at an estate sale. Charities got boxes full of clothes and household items and the few remaining “treasures are stored in a mini-warehouse.
“Minimize” also says to me, for the time I’m in the States over the holidays, I “mooch”. (There are a few friends who actually love for me to visit with them for weeks at a time.) My first year back to the US from France, I put over 5000 miles on a “borrowed” car to see friends. I drove to South Carolina, North Carolina and through Georgia to stay for one to two weeks each with various good buddies. Most of them have guest “suites” which works out great for us all. Happily, all my hosts have homes with beautiful views. I’m blessed.
P.S. They all know they have a “vacation home” to visit in France, anytime they’d like. Some have already taken my offer.
This year I really lucked up. I moved in with my son and family during my time state-side.
I took him up on it.
He’s finished the walk-out basement of his home into a guest apartment.
It pays to teach your children to keep promises.
P.S. The “rent” I pay while I’m in the guest quarters helps him with the cost of the house addition — which adds to the re-sell value of his home. A “win-win” for us both.
Costs in France
Apartment rental is less than you’d think in small villages in France. Problem is, if you want a furnished apartment, usually, you can only get a one-year lease. The “tower” apartment I fell in love with was unfurnished. It has a three-year lease.
As you’ll remember through various early posts, I furnished the apartment in Uzes with pieces mostly from brochante stores. I shopped around for good values on other new items. The best part about this is that when/if I leave, everything can be sold back to the brocantes or through a house sale.
Some things I “bartered” from my friend Geoffrey who was “downsizing” his massive collection of “stuff.” As for the cost of utilities, food and “miscellaneous”, everything’s about the same as in the US.
Cars and more cars
Just like iPhones, I have a car for France and a car for the US. Both compact vehicles were purchased “used” with 100,000+ miles on each odometer — for less than the price of one “new” car. Yes, I pay to store the car in France, but it’s not exorbitant, and I know it’s safely put away from weather and vandals.
“Minnie” is stateside, “Lucy” is in France. Again, if I ever leave France, “Lucy” will find a new “cash ‘n carry” home.
Why not move to France?
Now when anyone asks why I moved to France, I turn the tables and reply: ask “Why not?”
Believe me, if you want something badly enough, you can figure out how to get it.