Reblogged: Minimalism While Raising A Family

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Minimalism While Raising A Family

The more I research minimalism, the more I like what I learn and think this approach would be so valuable to families today.  It seems that I grew up in a time of minimalism and did not even realize it. Mom stayed home raising us kids while dad went to work each day as a city truck driver.  We did not have a lot.  We did not have our own rooms.  We did not get to go to a lot of places or shopping at the mall every weekend.  And you know what?  We did not miss it because we did not know about it.

Just think about it for a minute – REALLY think about it.  When you were younger or even when you first got out of high school or college and started making your way in the world, most of us were unencumbered.  We may have had an apartment, maybe a car, but other than that, we really did not have a lot of things weighing us down and causing us to not sleep at night.  I graduated in 1979 (yes, it sounds like a L O N G time ago – I hear you).  But time goes so very fast, that it does not seem like it was so long ago.  I remember graduating from high school as if it were yesterday.  I was not able to go to college so I went out and got a job working in an office.  I lived at home because at 18, I really was not ready to be on my own.

Family Manager Takes Charge

What did I do?  Well, I worked Monday through Friday during the day.  I had an old car, a 1972 Mercury Comet, that got me wherever I needed to go.  I spent some of my money on clothes. Ah ha!  There it begins.  I started buying “work” clothes because I was told I had to present a certain image at work to be promoted or move up the ladder.  But even with buying clothes, I was still free and easy and the money I earned stretched very far while living at home.  Life was good! No stress to pay the bills.  Out enjoying the nights and weekends with good friends.

Well my car decided to start having issues so I needed to look for another car.  I bought it NEW.  Did I need to buy it new? No – absolutely not.  But I did and there piled on another bill.  After being approved for a car loan, guess what?  Here comes the credit card advertisements telling me I’m “pre-approved” for such a sum of money.  Of course, I HAD to use these credit cards to – you got it – BUY MORE STUFF!

Going into marriage, along comes an apartment.  After the apartment and our first daughter coming along, comes the first house.  Then we needed a bigger house when daughter number 2 came along.  Of course toys and clothes and more STUFF for the whole family.

Then we moved to Florida because of a job transfer for my husband.  You got it – a BIGGER house with a pool.  A new car because the old car from Ohio did not have air conditioning.  But did we buy a car that would serve our needs?  NO! We bought a conversion van with an astronomical price to match.

So what am I writing about here?  The great American Dream right?  Actually, if I had the chance to do it all again? I would do it totally different.  This is what I would do:

  1. Before getting married, I would not have bought the new car, the new clothes, the new everything that racked up my bills.
  2. After getting married? We would have stayed in the first house that was a duplex with – hear this – HALF of the mortgage paid by tenants.  It was 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom.  Small? Maybe but the girls could have shared a room.  It was not necessary to move to the next house so that they could have separate rooms.
  3. Move to Florida?  We could have stayed in Ohio in the smaller house on my salary while my husband looked for another position.  But no. We panicked and felt we HAD to keep that job.
  4. Did we have to buy the house with the pool in Florida?  Did we have to trade in the car without air conditioning for the conversion van? NO – but that’s what we wanted so we sucked it up and added more debt to our backs.

What have I learned by my journey? I learned that if I wasn’t always worried about getting the latest and greatest things, clothes, toys or giving my kids everything under the sun for their birthdays and Christmas, I would today have a lot of money in the bank.  If I would have stayed with what I was happiest with which was basically very little if you think about it, my world would be different today. The happiest times I remember are those that we spent together as a family not the things that we bought.

How can you make the world different for you and the family you are raising?



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