Living below my means is a simple act: don’t spend the money. My needs are met easily: I only need consumables, and little else. My house, as I declutter it and clear it out, has enough lovely things in it so I don’t need to buy more stuff to feel good about myself. What I have is what I like already, and I still have too many great things. Any thing I bought now would be superfluous, even if it was a wonderful piece. I was at the Heard Museum in Phoenix a couple weeks ago, and they have beautiful Navajo weavings, many that I coveted. But I didn’t buy one because I kept thinking, this one is equal to two months of hay. This one, the one I REALLY wanted, is equal to 10 months of hay.
After all my bills are paid, I see that there are still several hundred dollars in my checking account, and my savings account still has money in it. I have to buy hay this weekend, which will diminish the cash, but I’ll still have something in there to carry me through to my next pay check. This one thing is a huge success for me. I hope I can stick to it.
This goal is elusive. I am working on living within my needs, but my means are still too low. Clearly my needs are too high for my means. I need to figure out how to make this goal a reality.
I have to do a bit of grocery shopping and return something, then buy a shovel and a quail block, but this weekend will pretty much be a stay-at-home-and-work weekend. Plus, it’ll be 100 F. outside, so I won’t feel like running around. I’ll do my shopping stuff in the morning on Saturday to beat as much heat as possible.
Being bluntly honest with myself about what is within my needs and below my means, means that I have to evaluate within. What are my true priorities? What are my true joys? What are my challenges? What are my hot spots that can trip me up? I carry this in my head, and talk about it here, but I need to write this out in a more personal way.
Today as I drove to work, I shouted at the windshield, I have too many things to do! I have to go to my 55-hours a week job, take care of all the animals, keep the house clean, keep all the vehicles in running order, pay all the bills, oversee house repairs, yard work, do all the errands, cooking…. I need a wife.
Plus I would like to do some things like sleep, relax, read, write, exercise, be social with friends and family….
On top of it all, my finances are getting worse. So I know I have to reduce my expenses and my responsibilities. I think this year is clean-up, tie loose ends year. But it is still very difficult trying to do it all by myself, and expensive in money, time, energy, peace of mind.
I realize this goal isn’t just having to do with money, but with lifestyle. Means = resources that are not just financial. Needs = not just physical, but spiritual, mental, psychological, as well.
I have a goal to spend no money this weekend. Not a penny. Let’s see how it goes.
Ack. I am spending money I don’t have. Anyway, there are things that MUST be done, so I am “borrowing” the money to get my swamp cooler fixed and to get my car fixed. These are needs and must be done. I keep believing there will come a respite so I can pay these debts before new problems arise. I believe this. I will pray for it.
I had to buy a new battery for my car this weekend, but if I hadn’t saved money from three weeks ago for emergencies, I would have had to charge it and pay an additional $50. Since I had cash, it was $50 cheaper. I could have frittered away the money buying stuff I didn’t need, or having fun – which I need, but must find in free ways right now. Having saved the $50, I was able to get rabies and yearly vaccines for 2 dogs and a cat, with an additional $10 kicked in. I enjoy living frugally, as I have most of my life, but recently I elevated it to a higher level; it is a more refined frugality from before.
I am getting as much excitement out of spending less money as I used to get when I was spending it. Lately I am having a lot of big expenses, and more coming up this week. Still, it’s okay. Better than going to the casino, or buying a lot of fancy lunches, or buying shoes or tops, or making car payments, or drinking $20 bottles of wine, etc. I’ll pay car insurance. I’ll get my older vehicle fixed. I’ll pay to have new double-pane windows put into my house. I’ll pay to have a new back door put on my house. I’ll “invest” my money in things that improve the quality of my life in long-term and dramatic ways. These things four things will actually enhance my life and save me money in the long run.
I stayed home and worked on my house. It was great! My needs are simple today, and my means is untouched.