Monday, November 21, 2011

Living Without

    A couple months ago a number of families wrote about why they've chosen to live with less. This month our group project was to write about things we've learned to live without. Even though I've been deliberately culling for a long time now, I still feel like we have so much. When I began to think about things we've learned to live with less of, or without, here are a few that came to mind:

  • Two Incomes. When we got married ten years ago, Erik's co-workers assured him we'd never survive on his income alone. We've proved them wrong. We've added four kids to our family since then, and we still live on his income. (Thankfully, it has increased in those years!) I've chosen to stay home with our children and am committed to giving them that gift. I'm happy to live without a career of my own. Erik's co-worker were right that we couldn't live on his income alone- if we had to have new cars, a boat, and a vacation home. We've chosen a different lifestyle. 
  • New Cars We do have two vehicles, but they're both older models. They're both paid for. We will drive them until they no longer serve us well, or until we leave the country. (Hopefully leaving the country will come first!) 
  • Credit Card Debt Neither of us even had a credit card when we got married; we'd both decided long before that we'd live within our means. We soon realized that having no credit meant we couldn't buy a house, so we both hold several cards now. We use them too, but pay off the balance every month. (And accumulate airline points in the process!) 
  • Television For most of our married life, we've not had a TV. We watch the occasional movie via Netflix or on DVD, and don't feel we're missing out on a single thing by not owning a TV. I think that living without the constant barrage of advertising that comes with TV makes it a lot easier to be content with that we have. 
  • As far as Stuff is concerned, we've gotten rid of a lot in the way of Books, Toys, and Clothing. We started our our marriage with two big bookcases, both full. As we added children's books over the years, we got rid of some of ours. This past summer I pared down to one bookshelf for the whole family. We've tried to invest in quality toys, and find the kids tend to play most with Legos, Playmobil, dress up things, and several other simple toys. I've pared down my wardrobe significantly. This is a slow process, but I'm working it down to fewer things that I really like. I still feel we have more of all these things than we really need, but we've learned to live with less than we had in the past. It's a process! 
    One of the benefits of intentionally paring down is that I've become a lot more careful about what I buy. I can honestly say that having less is freeing. It's easier to keep things picked up and organized. I still have a long way to go toward living as simply as I hope, but can also see that we've made a lot of progress. Living without and living with less frees up time, energy, and resources for relationships and experiences.  

    Read what other families are living without here:


  1. Isn't it crazy how much TIME it takes to pare down once you recognize that the excess must go!?

    Also, it is great when the whole family is on board - not my case :( it seems that if there is an area that looks open, someone will find something to go there from a yard sale, thrift store, free box, something...)

  2. Thank you for such a great and honest post. We also have never had a TV in our home (but did use the internet to download whatever we wanted to watch, from side room). Now, on the road, we do the same,no TV, just laptops to watch what we choose, when we choose, from time to time.

    We also have lived on one income for years as I homeschooled the kids. Yes, it's about making the choice to live according to what is most important to us. In my article, "The Ying Yang of Living without: ( I believe the first half of the article name was cut off), I touched on some of the same 'living without'.

    Very inspirational, especially the essence of parring down is a process that we are all working on. Thanks


  3. How funny - we dont own a TV and we live with my hubbies wage (or when I was working, my wage). We have always made sure one of us was home for our five boys!

    Its amazing to see how much our kids can be happy with..they really dont need a huge house, and lots of books/toys to be happy!

    We are living without stuff, but we are living with more time.


  4. It takes a while to pare things down and not feel overwhelmed by it. Take your time and everyone will be happier. Sounds like you are on the right path. Suerte!

  5. I´m with you on this one: ¨having less is freeing¨. It´s really nice to manage less stuff and one thing you have to practice to understand it fully.

    I also don´t have a TV like most of the people here, we are a particular group...

  6. You sound a lot like us...
    However I did work part time for almost 5 years, first as a substitute teacher, then in a preschool (3 hours/ day), because my husband is a mechanic and was out of work for 3 months due to an injury.
    Thank God, I am now able to be home with my girls, make nourishing foods, etc.
    Have you read "Radical homemakers" by Shannon Hayes?

  7. It's nice to hear that you've consciously chosen a lifestyle that is in line with your family values--it's not easy at time's i'm sure, but the payoff is so worth it! All the best to you and your family.


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