A Blissful, Simple Life

Every morning, I assemble two lunches. The lunch sack containing a sandwich and chips isn't glamorous, but it saves my husband and I $3,000 a year. (Two $6 fast-food lunches, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year)

In the evening, we snuggle in and watch a TV episode on DVD, or show on Hulu. We can't join the conversation about the latest Office or American Idol, but for over $700 a year for the basic cable channels, I'm OK with being out of the loop.

The cars we drive may have around 100,000 miles on them, but they are paid for. No debt on the cars, no debt on the credit cards, no debt on the school loans- interest on what we owe works against us, and I avoid it like the plague.

In our home, only our desk and our nightstands were bought new- every other piece of furniture was bought second-hand, handed down to us, or hand-made. Our guests are none the wiser.

On the weekends, a home improvement project often consumes our time- whether it's painting or re-flooring or siding or something else on a huge list. We could hire out the work, but my husband enjoys working with his hands and taking care of our home (and he does a great job!).

Rather than vacationing during the summer, we're busy in our yard. The backyard garden provides produce that continues to feed us throughout the year. Green beans, applesauce, herbs, potatoes, pears, peaches, pickles- all these things I haven't had to buy since they were last in season, and probably won't have to for a while.

Why live like this? If I can afford to buy a new car or furniture or processed food, why not go the easier route? Because I believe in living mindfully- Mindful of what we consume. Mindful of being a good steward of what we have. Mindful of being in debt to no one. Mindful of our impact on the earth.

Thanks to this mindfulness, and living below our means, we can ride out the ups and downs of life. When a refrigerator started leaking, we were able to save up and get a new one fairly quickly. When a car was caught in a bad hail storm beyond repair, we were able to incur no debt to replace it. A pipe burst in our home, and the panic was only due to the water pouring out of the hole in the wall, not how we were going to afford a repair. This year, we were able to give more than ever to those less fortunate than ourselves, and that was thrilling. Life is good. Blissful, even.

This is my entry into Inexpensively.com's contest for a Blissdom '10 ticket. I'd love it if you popped over there between the 14th and 20th and gave me a vote. Also, Heather's site is a huge help while working to live this blissful, simple life. Go check it out.

7 pennies for thoughts:

anonymouscogitations said...

Great post. We live on a fairly tight budget right now but I'm hoping that when our income increases, our spending habits don't increase with it and we can be in the same boat as you. :)

Not to be picky or anything, but packing lunches saves you less than $3,000 a year since the food you are using to make your lunches isn't free. You'd need to subtract the amount of your supplies.

Amy said...

I've started taking my lunch to work too. Mostly out of a desire to be healthier, but I'm enjoying the savings as well. Would love to get rid of the cable, but my dh would rather me put needles in his eyes. Sigh...

PS - You got my vote.

joanna said...

AC- Yes, I realize that I didn't subtract the cost of packed lunches. I also underestimated the cost of eating out every day, and the gas to and from the restaurants with the extra trip out from work, hoping that would take care of the difference. :-P A typical lunch for us is deli meat sandwiches, cheese & crackers, or leftovers, with the leftovers being the most expensive. I'm glad you're paying attention, though!

Amy- Thanks!

anonymouscogitations said...

Something else that is difficult to factor in is the amount of money you save in medical bills because you aren't eating out. I'm sure it wouldn't get to the extreme of Supersize Me, but it's still not good for you.

Mrs. Money said...

I love this! I totally agree. This was beautifully written.

Fantacy so Sweet-n-Stuff... said...

I just found your blog through the Blissfully Frugal contest list and have only read this entry but already I am hopelessly hooked! Thanks!

Stuff Parents Need said...

Loved reading this. We operate similarly!

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