Friday, September 3, 2010

Life, simplified

Like most folks out there, I like a simple life. I don't like being tied to possessions, debts, etc. While my husband and I have our fair share of student loan debt, besides our mortgage, it's the only thing we owe on. We have credit cards, but use them prodigiously, as tools, not as a financial lifeline. We (try) to exercise patience when it comes to wants. Often, I ask myself or my husband, "Sure...I WANT it. But do we NEED it? Am I rationalizing a want into a need for the sake of having it?" We sure aren't rich, not on one income, and with two kids in diapers.

But we're happy. We've learned to enjoy being broke all the time....you have to have a sense of humor about life and the curveballs it throws at you when everyone around you just spends, and spends, and spends. We're some of the first of our friends to have children; our first child was born fifteen months after we were married, and while he's such a wonderful little guy, it wasn't part of our Grand Ol' Plan. (I certainly wouldn't change anything though; as I write this, I'm hearing him singing the Alphabet song in his room while waiting for me to come let him out.) We've learned to gracefully say, "We can't afford that..." and mean it. We've also learned to say, "No thanks, we don't want to spend our money on that" as well. We live as simply as we're comfortable doing.  Would a two bedroom condo be everyone's cup of tea with two kids in it? Nope, probably not. I know some days, I'm really, REALLY glad that our basement is finished.  However, it is a warm, loving home. It's usually clean - 1400 square feet isn't that hard to keep clean, even with a three year old boy running around. Financially, we can afford more. But we don't want more right now.

I'm going to share a little secret with you that I've learned in the last four years on my journey into extreme frugality: not everyone's standard of living is the same. And not every level of frugality is right for every person. While I'm perfectly comfortable shelling out $125 a month to my cable company for cable and internet (but I still curse the amount every month), a friend of mine doesn't have ANY cable. No tv at all. And while my husband and I would die at that (we like our Discovery channel and History channel, thankyouverymuch!), my dear friend and her family are perfectly happy with that! What's right for one, isn't always right for the other.

And with that lovely diatribe ending, I'd like to share a link to a story MSN originally published in June to inspire you to perhaps make A lifestyle change to save yourself some cash.

Living on $18,000 a year?

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