Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learning to Love Living With Less


Learning to Love Living With Less

Life doesn’t have to be expensive. We area family who chooses to live below our financial needs. We believe that investing our money thoughtfully and carefully will allow us to have enough extra to make a difference in this world. We choose to limit the number of expenses we have so that we have more to give away.  That sounds great in theory, but life with children is expensive right? I mean there’s soccer, birthday parties, and a myriad of other activities our kids have to participate in. Except that they don’t.  There’s no law that you have to attend all those birthday parties, or any of them for that matter. As far as all those sports and classes go… how many of these classes were your kids idea? How many of those classes and sports did you enroll your kids in just to fill up your calendar? 

As a family, we cut our expenses by saying no to unnecessary activities. First of all, I hate birthday parties, so unless the party is for someone who my kid really enjoys playing with, you can forget it. I have another deep dark secret that most of my close friends don’t even know…  My kids don’t play sports, and they never will.  Guess what they do instead? They play. With each other. Am I afraid that my children won’t turn out as well rounded individuals? Do I lose sleep over the fact that my children will never get athletic scholarships to major universities because they weren’t enrolled in soccer at age 3? Nope. I have come to terms with the fact that most days my children would really rather ride their bikes up and down the driveway then be carted off to yet another activity. 

So what happens when you eliminate all these unnecessary activities that your children never loved anyway? You have more time and more money. So here’s a little tip on how to love living with less, look at your calendar through your children’s eyes, is there anything on there that they’ll never miss? You might even have them evaluate their calendar. Is there anything they’d be willing to give up? What on that list is not nearly as fun as hanging with their friends from school? You never know, maybe there’s something that’s not as much fun as spending quality time with you… 

Now that you have all that extra time and money, what are you going to do with it? Instead of spending it on something that you don’t love, I recommend that you invest it. Not in the bank, all though that’s a pretty good idea. Why don’t you invest it in an activity that your whole family will love. It can be an elaborate activity, or a simple one. Remember, more expensive doesn’t automatically equal more fun.  

Had enough quality time with your kids? Why don’t you invest that money into the community. That doesn’t mean go shopping, heaven knows our houses are already full of enough stuff we don’t need. That means investing your time and energy in someone or a group of people in your community. You could bring lunch to the teachers at your kid’s school, or fill up a shopping cart with groceries to take to your local food bank. The possibilities are endless. There are a million simple things you could do that would make someone’s day. 

Together we can make a difference in our community. By simplifying our schedules and eliminating the unnecessary items on our to do lists we can find both the time and money to make an impact on our community. 

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