When I was single and childless, I lived very comfortably. I had season tickets to the symphony. I shopped for new clothes once or twice a month, took trips and ate out at nice restaraunts regularly. I drove a new Saab. I never packed my own lunch for work, and I bought fancy coffee drinks every day - the kind that require making 10 decisions when ordering.
Now that I have a baby in daycare and I was paying 1/2 of the expenses on a big house, I found myself totally broke, dependeding on my credit cards to make ends meet. Despite having paid cash for my new car, I had to refinance it.
Luckily, I am now free of the debt. I can't tell you how good that feels. My next goal is to live my life completely and totally without credit cards. They are a trap! Human nature wants things NOW and wants lots of those things.
A few months ago, I packed up all my belongings and put them in storage. I have been living with very few clothes, and almost no "stuff". I have resisted going clothes shopping (I only need to drop ONE size and I will be in all my pre-pregnancy clothes).
I have been working 2 jobs and squirelling away money to buy the house I am closing on in 29 days. I sell real estate on the side and just sold a house. I got a nice income tax refund. This money is making me feel rich and I am constantly tempted to buy things. Not extravagent things, but lots of little things.
Once I live on a quiet side street, I want to start running again. My old running shoes are dirty and tired. It is tempting to buy a new pair, but my old ones still have spring.
I want to buy new clothes for my daughter, but I've been blessed with enough friends and hand-me-downs that I don't really need to. Oh and the toys... the toys. There are so many that I want to buy for her.
My dog smells a little and needs his nails trimmed. It is so much easier to take him to a GREAT groomer I know at his old Doggie Daycare facility - of course I would throw in a day of doggie day care. Melvin really deserves it for being such a good, gentle, tollerent dog.
I want to go out to lunch and have a fancy coffee drink, the kind that requires I make 10 decisions when ordering.
I want to go to the movies and see a concert and, get new glasses, and buy fancy lettuce that comes pre-washed in a bag, and dye the grey out of my hair, and buy a fat bottle of Bordeaux, and, and, and...
What I have come to realize that all these wants do come with a rush of excitement. New stuff is great. However, that new stuff rush wears off pretty quickly and it really doesn't bring a level of happiness that matches the sense of stress that comes from being broke.
So now I am embracing the simple life. Living simply brings just as much hapiness, PLUS it is easier to keep a clean house with less stuff, AND it reduces so much stress!
Budha was on to something.
I can't believe it took me almost 40 years to figure that out.