Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 199 Old 09-21-2009, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone else?

We have had Simple Living tribes here before and I'd love to start something up again. I know we majorly fell off the the wagon and have accumulated lots of stuff and bad habits. Now that the twins are here and we are settling back into life we are really wanting to get back to building the life we want for us and our children.

From the first post of the old Simple Living Tribe...

here's a short and sweet definition of simple living via wikipedia...

Quote:
Simple living (or voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle in which individuals consciously choose to minimize the 'more-is-better' pursuit of wealth and consumption.
The Simple Living Network says...

Quote:
Simple living -- aka voluntary simplicity -- has just about as many definitions as there are individuals who practice it. Simple living is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. Rather, it is about living an examined life -- one in which you have determined what is important, or "enough," for you, discarding the rest.
thread with list of Simple blogs


Here's hoping others are interested!

Maggie, blissfully married mama of 5 little ladies on my own little path. homeschool.gif gd.gifRainbow.gif
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#2 of 199 Old 09-21-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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I am interested!

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." ~William Morris
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#3 of 199 Old 09-21-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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Sign me up

As a side note: I love the book Your Money or Your Life

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#4 of 199 Old 09-21-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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definitely interested. I don't have children, but I'm wanting to have a good strong foundation in simplicity before we do have any. My husband and I fell off the wagon too, as we just got married and bought our first house and there's a lot of stuff surrounding those events. Now that we're settled, we're ready to use what we have to create a simpler, greener life. My favorite book on the topic of simplicity is "Living More With Less" by Doris Janzen Longacre. It was written in the 70's, but becomes more current and meaningful to me every time I read it. It is quite religious, as it was written by a mennonite woman and published by a mennonite company, but that made it even more meaningful to me (but I know some people don't care for that). I hope to have some great conversations here on one of my favorite topics
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#5 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 01:30 AM
 
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Always working on this. It's more of a journey than a destination.

And now, with a probably big move in the next 12-24 months, I'm all about downsizing our stuff to make that journey easier and more enjoyable.

I'm a morning person.  We actually do exist.
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#6 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 09:25 AM
 
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#7 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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I am always striving as well, certainly we have periods of 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. Finally after a couple of years of chaos I feel we are finally getting back into the groove and I am working on simplifying even more. I don't have a lot of chaos in possessions we own, but some mentally. I am hoping to strive to reduce our consumption even less and strive to see of what we absolutely have to have what I can make or recycle ourselves.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#8 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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always working on this. There are several books on this very subject to borrow from the library to read when you feel you are off.

Not just pocessions, but living simply requires several other things in your life.

Like:
knowing when you're full.
Knowing when you are tired.
Saying No to people because you are one of the above or something else.
Not joining something.
knowing your limits and your families limits.
knowing how to slow down, smell the roses or whatever it is in front of you.
working to live not live to work


We as a family do not over schedule, double book, have to leave here quickly because we are late for this and arrive abrubtly and interupt the starting blah blah blah.
We tell friends and family no to things. But we also say yes to things. But we have no issue saying- No we are not coming to your house for insert holiday or whatever in here because we made plans to do insert activity here. We do not send one person in the family here so the other can go there. We tell one of the parties no we are not coming.

I remember last spring my dd2's preschool was having a night time golf thing. It was the same day as dd1's birthday party at our house. I told the chair person, we have my dd1's birthday that day. A friend standing by said, But Amy, your party is during the DAY, this is at NIGHT. And I said you're right and we are not attending. Later I found out from a mutaul friend the lady saying you CAN attend could not understand why I did NOT feel obligated to attend the golf thing since the party was during the day. Because, one night golfing didnt sound like anything we wanted to do. After planning a party all day, I would not have energy to golf at night esp since I dont want to do it!! I didnt share that, but its knowing you dont have to do anything and everything because someone else feels its the thing to do.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#9 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that, Amy!

Maggie, blissfully married mama of 5 little ladies on my own little path. homeschool.gif gd.gifRainbow.gif
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#10 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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I'm happy to join this thread! My husband and I live fairly simply already, but it seems a constant conscious effort to continue on the path of simplicity. Right now we have a baby due and we currently live in a one bedroom apartment. This will be the case for a while after the baby is born. I find myself grateful when loved ones want to donate baby itmes, but I also have to think in terms of space and what we absolutely need, versus what we can do fine without.

I look forward to learning a lot from this thread.
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#11 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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I'm interested in this thread as well...

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#12 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Not just pocessions, but living simply requires several other things in your life.

Like:
knowing when you're full.
Knowing when you are tired.
Saying No to people because you are one of the above or something else.
Not joining something.
knowing your limits and your families limits.
knowing how to slow down, smell the roses or whatever it is in front of you.
working to live not live to work
I like that list. Those things are very important to our family as well. Simply just enjoying life. and letting go of those things that are not important. We like to keep a simple schedule as well. It has made it hard for family relations though. Mentally I just need to let go of that, that is part of my mental chaos. Trying to let go of the expectations of others AND to let things roll off of me. Also, trying to balance being generous in spirit while living frugally and simplistically is very important to me as well.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#13 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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Me!! Me!!! (I cannot find a smiley waving his hand wildly. LOL)

I have start working on decluttering a lot. I want my children to grow up in a home that is slowed down and peaceful. A refuge from the world.

I just ordered Living the Good Life: How One Family Changed Their World from Their Own Backyard. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1740663128
Has anyone read it?

*~Kelly~*
 Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~

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#14 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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I'm in.

I generally do pretty well with consumption, but lately I feel overwhelmed because I am trying to convince my husband homeschooling is a good option for us. I've been collecting books and materials and all of the sudden we have so much stuff! I know in relative terms it's not a lot -it fills a kitchen cabinet, it's nice high quality stuff all of the boys can use, some of it I made. But, it's still a cabinet full of stuff we didn't have a few months ago. It seems ridiculous to be stressed out from having too much when so many people don't have enough, I feel even worse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Like:
knowing when you're full.
Knowing when you are tired.
Saying No to people because you are one of the above or something else.
Not joining something.
knowing your limits and your families limits.
knowing how to slow down, smell the roses or whatever it is in front of you.
working to live not live to work

What a great list. "Slow living"...kind of like the Slow Food movement, in a more holistic way.

I have been striving for this for some time, but I feel a lot of pressure from family and friends to be "out and about". Last week my car was in the shop and so we were housebound. When I got it back everyone said "oh you must be so glad" but I wasn't at all. I like staying at home most of the time! My kids and I do best when we can be at home following our own rhythm. But the social norm seems to be to go from playgroup to errand to lessons and so on. I wonder if anyone else feels this pressure and how they deal with it?

treehugger.gif homemaker mama to jumpers.gif and stork-boy.gif due in March

 

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#15 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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I want to do this but not sure if I can. I shall read along, anyway.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#16 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SageR View Post
But the social norm seems to be to go from playgroup to errand to lessons and so on. I wonder if anyone else feels this pressure and how they deal with it?

I used to. We lived in the van. It was AWFUL! The beginning of Summer I decided to stop it. We kept our homeschool park day on friday. And piano, only because their teacher offered to come to us instead when I told her what I was doing. My friends all thought I was crazy,and I think they are for running around everyday to classes,lessons,etc.

It is wonderful to know that I have my whole day ahead of us without running from here to there, gathering up "stuff" we need to bring, and stress. Oh the stress! I do not miss that at all.

*~Kelly~*
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#17 of 199 Old 09-22-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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I am glad everyone likes my ideas! I must say though its easier to list and read than done. It took me years to do this. And sometimes I need to read my own list to stay grounded because as everyone knows life has a great way of taking over. But it gets easier over time to do the list and get back to the roots of it. Its sort of like putting your life on a diet or giving it a shorter haircut if that makes sense.

Some ideas for reading:

Living more w less & the cookbook is awesome as well
the simple living guide (my all time favorite)
affuenza
Your money or your life

One thing I have noticed is when we practice simple living we are a much happier family. This works for us, some people it might not, they thrive off of always going going.

We get better sleep, we eat better, we stay trim, we are happier with our children/they us and its much better on our marriage. It starts with putting our needs and our children's needs first. If that means we cannot attend Sunday's bbq party because we had a late night friday night or a busy saturday, well then we are staying home or doing something our family wants to do together. Maybe we need to visit the pool one more time before it closes for the season, or maybe its time to take a drive and look at the leaves turning color this fall. Then doing a late lunch or early supper somewhere special or something the kids requested to eat.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#18 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Me too! I dream of a simpler life, and I would love some more motivation to make it happen! I'm looking forward to reading along and learning!

Kristin, Mommy to 3 boys : (11,9,5) :

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#19 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 03:30 AM
 
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I dont understand how to join/keep up with the tribes on here yet But Im in....
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#20 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 09:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post

...doing something our family wants to do together. Maybe we need to visit the pool one more time before it closes for the season, or maybe its time to take a drive and look at the leaves turning color this fall. Then doing a late lunch or early supper somewhere special or something the kids requested to eat.
Exactly. Simplicity in activities for us means finding what is important to OUR family and not what is important to the rest of society. We do what makes US happy and enriches OUR lives in our own way. Most times it is an "out of the box" adventure and our kids are exploring and learning while having fun all in one.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." ~William Morris
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#21 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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Can I join?

I am a stay at home mom to one wild toddler. We have gardens, horses, cows, chickens.... We are living "simply' raising most of our food and it SO not simple. My husband works full time and goes to school. Sometimes I want to move to a condo with one suitcase. I choose this life and I want it but I have to dramaticly simplify and streamline or lose my mind. I would love encouragement and inspiration.

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#22 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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Welcome Logan! USually the tribes have to do with a certain subject and we discuss it and occasionally make a new thread so the server dosnet crash etc.

We should try to keep it simple and start new threads more than not since we are trying to show a simple lifestyle! LOL

Lets talk decor. Are you striving for a more simple household and home or do you have one now and how did you get at it?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#23 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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Our decorating/home is pretty simple. I am a pretty ruthless "declutterer" and we lost everything in a fire 2 yrs ago. So, I have only put back those things in my house that I either really need or love. There are some things I would like to change, but I am pleased with it now until we get money to replace a few things and add some organizational items. How everything is set up is fairly easy to take care of and keep track of everything. Dh is taking care of the last big thing to have it done before the baby comes- my laundry room- I am so excited to get shelves in there so I can organize my bulk goods better. I also have a dresser coming for the new baby, but that will go in my closet as it would be crowding the house to have it anywhere else.

I would like more "pretty" items but I am pleased enough to wait until I find just what I want, instead of just getting something in the meantime.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#24 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 11:56 AM
 
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Oh I'm in.

I have been working on this for a long time, but am ramping up my efforts. Last weekend my two oldest were at their grandparents over night so I used the opportunity to get rid of some junk. DD1 does not like to throw anything away so I have to do most of my decluttering when she is not home. I love the fact that she has taken my comments on reusing, not wasting etc to heart, but she really doesn't want to throw anything away. I mean bits of paper, old bottles etc. She is sweet, but some of the junk in our house has to go
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#25 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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Amys1st ... thanks for putting in words here what I was suspecting and couldn't quite articulate properly .... now I know exactly why I was so upset with my eldest sister who was on holiday in our area a few months back ....oh ... the constant pressure on her part to do this and that and go here, there and some other place too.
I'm going to copy or print out parts of your posts and keep them where I can read them frequently so that I can be better equiped to say "no" a little bit more next time ....

I'm usually about Ok about our everyday life, it's just with some visitors that it gets out of hand (the further they come from, the more they feel they own "our" time ?... or that we "must" spend with them as much time as they have decided they want to spend with us ...). Maybe I need to read more about how to convey my "no" in a more forceful way with people who don't get it the first time round ? ... what surprises me is that my children's need don't seem to them much of a valid reason for them to renounce to whatever plans they had made for us without asking us first of course .... not all my relatives are like that of course but I still haven't found a comfortable way to deal with this type of problems ...
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#26 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 08:39 PM
 
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On the other hand it is also freeing to say yes! I had problems with this, always making excuses because I was too unmotivated to bother. I read the Yes Man book and it changed my life. (this was years before the movie, which is based on the true story from the book). I became open to all opportunities. I cant tell you how much abundance has come into our life from just being open to everything. SAY YES MORE, it works for everything, especially parenting! I find that most of the no's come from this auto-pilot of mainstream parenting of needing to be in control for no real reason. If that makes sense
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#27 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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Hi I'd like to join you. I'm definitely trying to simplify- last year we moved across the country to a much smaller house. We left some of our stuff 3000 miles away in storage, but we still brought too much for this house, so I'm trying to sell, get rid of, declutter, etc. .

Also, I'm happy being home with my family, relaxing, not necessarily doing every activity available. (And there is a lot available in the DC/Annapolis areas) but my husband is "Mr. see and do everything all the time"! It's driving me crazy because i"m exhausted, but he sees it as a given that every weekend we are doing an activity , ALL DAY. Any ideas on how to get him to relax?

he also has told me flat out "I'm not getting rid of my stuff". So what happens is I get rid of more and more of mine, and his slowly takes over, until I have no space at all. I'm just not sure how to simplify with such an unwilling partner. I think if I just forge ahead, maybe the rest of hte family will follow eventually.


Quote:
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Oh I'm in.

I love the fact that she has taken my comments on reusing, not wasting etc to heart, but she really doesn't want to throw anything away. I mean bits of paper, old bottles etc. She is sweet, but some of the junk in our house has to go
Yes - my seven year old daughter has a pile of garbage under the piano that is supposed to be used for crafts. But it 's been there for quite a while, and I really want to recycle iit. maybe if I take items out bit by bit. She puts it under there and never looks at it again. Today it was an egg carton that had been loitering on the floor in our entryway.

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#28 of 199 Old 09-23-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I confess I cut and pasted this from a different post. It was easier that way.

We live simply. We came up with a financial plan that was based on living simply and paying off all debt. As of jan. 2008 DH is home full time with us. We homeschool, so all 4 of us are free from any outer constraints. We do still live very simply and many people would not be comfortable making our choices. But we found it very worth it to make the simple sacrifices necessary. We will go back to work if necessary one day, but we hope to make it for 20 years until a pension kicks in. I hope to do something to make some income through writing if necessary. But it's not necessary yet. Only if the economy doesn't improve in the next couple of years will our plan not work. We are going to sell the house after the market improves and buy some acreage and build a small natural building.

DH used to work LONG hours 6 months out of the year. The kids love having him home. They used to go from sunday night to sat morning without seeing him sometimes and he didn't travel. I used to resent it so much. I really have struggled with being the SAHM.

Some good resources are Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin and www.simpleliving.net.

I'm happy to talk about anything we've done to simply our life or get to FI ( financial independence) in anyone has any questions. I feel like I've been living a simple life for a long time. We've been doing this for about 12 years. I can't imagine living any other way. (Well, if I write a bestseller, I'll take a lot of trips that we can't right now)
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#29 of 199 Old 09-24-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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Quote:
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I confess I cut and pasted this from a different post. It was easier that way.

We live simply. We came up with a financial plan that was based on living simply and paying off all debt. As of jan. 2008 DH is home full time with us. We homeschool, so all 4 of us are free from any outer constraints. We do still live very simply and many people would not be comfortable making our choices. But we found it very worth it to make the simple sacrifices necessary. We will go back to work if necessary one day, but we hope to make it for 20 years until a pension kicks in. I hope to do something to make some income through writing if necessary. But it's not necessary yet. Only if the economy doesn't improve in the next couple of years will our plan not work. We are going to sell the house after the market improves and buy some acreage and build a small natural building.

DH used to work LONG hours 6 months out of the year. The kids love having him home. They used to go from sunday night to sat morning without seeing him sometimes and he didn't travel. I used to resent it so much. I really have struggled with being the SAHM.

Some good resources are Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin and www.simpleliving.net.

I'm happy to talk about anything we've done to simply our life or get to FI ( financial independence) in anyone has any questions. I feel like I've been living a simple life for a long time. We've been doing this for about 12 years. I can't imagine living any other way. (Well, if I write a bestseller, I'll take a lot of trips that we can't right now)

Wow, you are an inspiration. I want to be you when I grow up.

To answer a pp, our house decorations are simple. We have small children so we put a way, gave away, all the breakables. I don't miss any of it. Even so, we are still surrounded by excess. Excess toys, excess clothes, excess kitchen items, just all around too much of everything.

My dream is to get back to the basics and learn to live they way our grandparents lived. I feel this strong draw to basic life skills (gardening, sewing, sewing, simple homemaking).

Wife of 20 years to my superhero firefighting DH. SAHM to 2 boys and 2 girls (3 babies in Heaven- Baby # 5 5/2010 & Baby #6 8/2011 & Baby # 7 2/1013). Cancer Survivor 2011 ( Persistent Malignant Gestational Trophoblastic Disease)

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#30 of 199 Old 09-24-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by enfpintj View Post
I confess I cut and pasted this from a different post. It was easier that way.

We live simply. We came up with a financial plan that was based on living simply and paying off all debt. As of jan. 2008 DH is home full time with us. We homeschool, so all 4 of us are free from any outer constraints. We do still live very simply and many people would not be comfortable making our choices. But we found it very worth it to make the simple sacrifices necessary. We will go back to work if necessary one day, but we hope to make it for 20 years until a pension kicks in. I hope to do something to make some income through writing if necessary. But it's not necessary yet. Only if the economy doesn't improve in the next couple of years will our plan not work. We are going to sell the house after the market improves and buy some acreage and build a small natural building.

DH used to work LONG hours 6 months out of the year. The kids love having him home. They used to go from sunday night to sat morning without seeing him sometimes and he didn't travel. I used to resent it so much. I really have struggled with being the SAHM.

Some good resources are Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin and www.simpleliving.net.

I'm happy to talk about anything we've done to simply our life or get to FI ( financial independence) in anyone has any questions. I feel like I've been living a simple life for a long time. We've been doing this for about 12 years. I can't imagine living any other way. (Well, if I write a bestseller, I'll take a lot of trips that we can't right now)
Oh, I do love simpleliving.net I always go there for inspiration. Would love to be FI, but for dh it doesn't seem to be a big goal at all. We will have the house paid for in 8 yrs- quite easily- I will be 38 and dh 41 by then- I would love for dh to have the option of at least working less then or taking that excess money and investing it heavy so he can retire early, but who knows what the future holds. It is constant journey here to cut expenses, but to also make sure to keep at a level that doesn't seem like deprivation. So, also constantly revising my thoughts and feelings towards things as well. Living in a world that lives with so much more sometimes can by dizzying when thinking about priorities and at times can make it seem like there is deprivation when there is abundance. Thankfully- I have friends who all try to live simply as well. Of course how this looks is different for everyone as we all have different goals and needs, but to just have people that get the fact that we want to live w/ a minimal amt of things is wonderful.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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