Friday, July 03, 2009

Living Deliberately - Money

Over at Rhonda Jean's she's invited us to participate in a Simple Home Audit.

Today's topic; Living Deliberately and Money.

I think I've said it before, but what the hey. We gave up using credit in 1981. We made the decision not to be slaves to our "stuff". The seed for this philosophy was planted for me in my Grade 12 English class, when our teacher George Spear had us read and discuss two books on how advertising was being used to manipulate us into wanting and buying things we do not need, and that may be actively harmful for us!

After that I couldn't help but analyze the ads I saw, and the techniques they used;
1) Get on the bandwagon! (Be like your peers)
2) Stand out from the crowd! (look "better" than others)
3) Create fear and promise a remedy or protection (this can be the "fear" of body odor or yellow teeth or "flat" hair or "too fat" or "too skinny")
4) Eat! (Achieve ecstasy through pizza!)
5) Escape! (a new car, new boat, new house, new clothes will solve your problems)

Unfortunately the touted products don't solve your problems, and don't make you that much happier. Worse yet, the more stuff you have, the more it takes to house, protect and maintain it. And then there's the guilt which comes when you know you've spent more than you should, on something you didn't really need or even want, once you got it out of the package.

It's not always been easy to live without debt, especially at the bank, where they look at a person with no credit cards and no debt as radically suspect and quite possibly dangerously lunatic!

But we know what our income is, and what our expenses are. Tony loves to keep track, and he knows to the penny what we spent on food, clothing, utilities or any other category for any given month or year. It's handy because we know at a glance if we are on-side with the budget.

Rhonda is including a "No Spending Week" in her home audit. While we routinely go for a week or more without shopping that is not going to happen this week. I have to have a large (and expensive) prescription refilled, and with the local fruit coming into season I will be out looking for fruit to put away for the coming winter.

We try to keep a balanced account, that is we try never to spend more than we have coming in the door. Generally we succeed with relative ease, as our wants are few and modest. At the moment we are a bit behind the curve, having spent money building the new deck, setting up the garden, and buying new storage and a dishwasher. But we are steadily regaining our financial equilibrium, so we are not that concerned. We did not go into debt for any of it.

The projects that we would like to do, that aren't being done, are languishing primarily for lack of energy, not money. With us, strength and energy are commodities which we must budget much more finely than we do our modest income.

Energy and strength cannot be bought at any price, which means we must be careful how we spend our limited supply. This also means we often spend money to make it easier to keep house, cook, or otherwise maintain ourselves.

We find that living within our means brings peace of mind. We don't have to worry about paying off debts, interest rates, or being overdrawn. At the end of the day it's not how much you make, it's how much you spend.

1 comment:

7and7 said...

Being debt free is a major goal for most of us...eating and living healthier follows along. Like you, we're behind the curve right now...quilting machines are costly, and DH just resigned his job, but this too shall pass. We'll be tightening the old proverbial belt for awhile. We're dining on fresh squash, onions, potatoes, beans, eggplant and strawberries...most courtesy of our neighbors substantial garden. I've managed to dehydrate zuchinni, onions, strawberries and apples. Have beans and squash in the freezer. I'm trying to lower our meat intake which is hard with a meat and potatoes kind of guy in the house, but we'll get this done too :)

Haven't told ya Auntie, but I love the look of your new blog!