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Priorities – People or Possessions?


Would you give up TV for your family?  How about your car?

I can’t count the people who are shocked and surprised that we make it as a one-income family.  The four of us live (quite well) on less then $60,000 a year.  How do we do it?  That’s what everyone wants to know.

It’s really pretty simple.  We prioritize.  We have one television.  It’s a little boxy thing with a VHS player built it.  I get the kids used tapes at Goodwill to play in it.  We also have a $30 DVD player and a few discs we’ve gotten as gifts.  With the exception of the Harry Potter movies, I did buy those, one at a time, after finishing the books.  Oh, and Little Boy saved his own money to get Puss in Boots.  DD and I both drive cars pushing 20 years old, but we do spend some money keeping them in tip-top shape.  We do get take-out once in a while but nearly everything we eat is cooked at home from scratch.  Oh, and we have a little house in an unpopular part of the county.

We decided we could get a big TV and watch all the cable re-runs we want when the kids are grown.  But they will only be little once, we won’t be able to go back in time to spend more time with them.  Neither of us is going to be on our death bed wishing we’d only driven new model cars or had flashier jewelry.

So we make sacrifices.  We watch free shows on-line.  We shop thrift stores and case lot sales.  I grow a large garden and spend months putting up the produce from it.

Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  We have time with our children.  We have energy for each other.

I could go back to work, there can be a lot of pressure to be a “have it all woman” and go after a career.  Then we could pay strangers to watch the kids while they watch TV.  We could buy a few flat screens.  We could get new cars.  We could take vacations.  We could get an entertainment center.  We could wear trendy, brand name clothes.  We could go out to eat and to the movies.  But then we would not see our kids.  We would come home tired, eat our take-out, zone out in front of the tube.  We would need vacations and have to rely on those clothes to make us feel better about our lonely lives.

We may live frugally but we are content and comfortable.  The house is small but it is warm and cozy in the winter and cool and relaxing in the summer.  DD can comes home from a long day of using his brain to spend an hour with the kids in the backyard.  And then he gets a home cooked meal.  I may not have a budget for sexy nighties but I have time and energy for my man.  The kids don’t have fancy electronic toys and games, they have old computers DD fixed up with a few educational games so old they’re now free, and, most important, they have parents who are there, who have the time to read to them, play with them, teach them.

We are not rich.  We do not have some secret to have it all.  We just decided what we want our lives to be about.  What about you?  What do you want the theme of your life to be?

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Discussion

10 thoughts on “Priorities – People or Possessions?

  1. Us too!!! 5 people here on a one income of $60,000!! It’s amazing how you can learn you don’t need so much!!!

    Posted by motherhoodisanart | September 20, 2012, 4:20 pm
  2. I love this. I stay at home and raise my kids and so many moms tell me thy WISH they could do this too, but need they extra income, all the while they drive brand new, nice cars, have a newly built house, the latest furniture, etc. Sacrafices need to be made for our children, because like you said they are only little for a short time. Do we really want to miss it for a new car?

    Posted by Michelle | September 21, 2012, 7:20 am
    • I did work for a few years, but truly, I had to and I hated it. It wasn’t a question of a new car but of eating then. In those days I looked at my job as a sacrifice for them. So we worked twice as hard to get to where we are now. It was worth it!

      Posted by anonymous3891 | September 21, 2012, 12:22 pm
  3. Great job reminding everyone of what’s important. I, too, stayed home with my kids and it is something I will never regret! I don’t know that we did it as well as you have! We shopped garage sales and the kids were happy with that – They were really excited when we found something “cool” to wear. When my second son was in 8th grade, we made the decision to Home School him and my younger daughter. Those were precious years also — Those two were really close. Family is so important – yet sometimes it is treated as an afterthought. .

    Posted by Blase & Connie | September 21, 2012, 8:14 am
    • Yes it is and it’s a shame that with all the political rhetoric policies to support families aren’t given their due place. Everyone talks about family values but it seems that very little value is placed on the family! Thanx for stopping by!

      Posted by anonymous3891 | September 21, 2012, 12:25 pm
  4. I love hearing what you are doing. Wonderful. Congrats to you all for recognizing what’s important. I thought we were doing well bc we have our kiddos clean the toilets and pick out ingredients with which they’ll help make dinner. (not necessarily in that order!) Inspiring. Kudos. they will be healthier happy kids for sure!

    Posted by rantsrulesandrecipes | October 2, 2012, 10:42 pm
    • Yes, I’m a big fan of putting the kids to work, too. I think it is one of the best ways to build their self-esteem as it gives them a way to contribute and to learn that they are capable people. Sometimes it would be more efficient to do it myself but I know that everything they help with is another chance for them to learn and grow. It’s so sad to see a child grow up without the opportunity to do chores and learn manners.

      Posted by anonymous3891 | October 4, 2012, 10:50 am
  5. What? You can still watch tv if the screen isn’t flat??! : ) For me, I find myself wistfully looking at teachers in cute teacher outfits when I pop into the school, and think…man, if I was still teaching right now, I could do that. And then I walk out of the school in the jeans I’ve had on for three days, and I’m holding the hands of my three-yr-old and 18 mo old, and we hop in our boring mini van, and we go home. And then, it all feels pretty darn great.

    Even living simply and frugally here in the U.S., we are so incredibly rich beyond the comprehension of so many countries. Seeing other countries, where mothers live in tin shacks, and cook a few handfuls of beans to feed the family, I feel pretty darn blessed.

    Great post. Thanks for the reminder of the good life I have at home with my kids.

    Posted by Kathy's Chronicles | October 12, 2012, 2:21 pm
    • It’s not the teachers outfits that get to me so much as the other Mom’s. Lol. There’s a little pack of us in our jeans and sweats and and t-shirts we got in college who spend our mornings gardening, cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands, so that we can have our afternoons to interact with our preschoolers. Then there’s the click of designer outfits and hour-long primping sessions and I have to wonder how they have the time and money to devote to it, is a $300 pair of pants actually making them any happier or their/their kids’ lives any better? And, yes, like you said, we are blessed. Although I do often cook a few handfuls of beans and rice and call it dinner, they are cheap and healthy.

      Posted by anonymous3891 | October 19, 2012, 11:49 am

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