The Simple Life

Hiding with rabbit.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I should probably say the simple-ish life. My husband commented tonight how much he appreciates our modest lifestyle. I absolutely agree.

Where we are not modest: we own three cars, we have two computers, we own a digital camera, we eat out monthly, we like to buy things like tools and books. I’m sure a simpler person could comment on all our lavish luxuries, but I’ll focus on those.

The cars, first, are all paid off. Two are identical in color, year, make, model. One was purchased as a parts car a few years after we purchased the first as wedding gift to ourselves. The third was a vehicle my husband needed at the time, so he splurged on something he wanted. He made the last payment on the modest loan a year before we got married.

We live in a 966 sq ft house on a 50’x 100′ lot. It is more cluttered inside than I like, and it’s not as cluttered as what my husband is used to. The funny thing is, we both have places of employment where our work spaces are nearly pristine and free of clutter. I feel a splurge on shelving/organizing tools could be beneficial for the home life. But, regardless, it is modest. I am using the $10 desk purchased before I met my husband, which is on a computer that I bought myself before I met my husband that has been swapped with parts from my father in law and redone with Ubuntu. Read: re-purposed computer with open source software. The digital camera was a gift. Our cell phones are hand-me-downs. Our table, that we love, was a Goodwill special that came with six chairs.

It would be a lie to say we don’t aspire to nicer things. But, we’re trying to keep our priorities in check by making sure my husband has the tools he wants/needs for work before his student discount goes away. We’re trying to keep those priorities in check by paying off my school loans a little bit at a time.

Much of the clothing for us or our son is gifted, from volunteer events, or second hand stores. (Save things like the Drunken Prayer t-shirt my husband must have.)

Lately, my husband has been riding his bicycle to work, which means Levi and I have been taking the car instead of the SUV. We’ve been taking the non-freeway route as it offers fewer encounters with other cars. These steps lessen daily stress. These steps encourage not wanting more. (Although, I do crave a VOLT if GM would get them out to the mass market.)

Levi got birthday/Christmas money. We haven’t let him spend it all in one spot. First, how many toys does a kid really need? Second, I received different budgeting lessons as a kid, but I want to make sure Levi’s are more obvious. So, we’ll stagger the spending.

Our neighbors use small space much more efficiently than we do. But, we certainly don’t really crave or seek the new tv, tivo, dvd, extra special system. I think in part it’s due to our location where thrift in many ways is more celebrated. This is one of my fears when we go back to Michigan (read: five year plan) – that the “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality will seep into our subconscious and consume. Instead of getting tvs for free, as I have historically done, will we find ourselves wanting to purchase one?

I sure hope not. I hope we can remember the stress-less-ness of this supposed simple life.

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2 Replies to “The Simple Life”

  1. You’re absolutely right about how too much stuff — especially new, expensive stuff — can make our lives more difficult than they need to be. Keeping only what you use frequently and/or cherish is the secret to a clutter-free home and simpler lifestyle. In the end, I believe stuff can never make a person happy, whereas having the space to do what you love to do can make your heart sing. I wrote a post about the hidden burdens stuff carries with it, if you are interested. http://respacedpdx.blogspot.com/2011/04/feel-like-you-are-drowning-in-your.html

  2. Loved that post! We put so much pressure on ourselves to do different things. It mimics many of the “alternative” forms of thought I was exposed to in my twenties.

    What do we really need? Do I need a TV? No, it offers a veg space when I’m busy and want a brain drain, but it also offers a procrastination tool. Do I need a computer? No, but it helps me feel connected to the things I like to pay attention to and an easy outlet to write.

    Next goal: make more concerted efforts to declutter the home! Like unloading all those files I’ve been toting around for 10 years that are likely past their useful date.

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