As a new parent, I now know why half of America is overweight, on anti-depressants, etc. We are tired as a nation. Here is what we did to make our life better.
Listen to the words from the song by Malvina Reynolds Magic Penny:
hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many.
They’ll roll all over the floor.
Those who are frugal know a secret… every little dollar not spent aids in saving a big nest egg. Those who are spenders also know a secret… every dollar spent (provided it is done purposefully) can aid in making your life easier in some way. In some ways it also comes back around and you will end up having even more. We have tried it both ways, but for us we see the value in spending a little more to gain ourselves more time.
The roller coaster of money is something to look at. Over the course of most of our lives today, there is the ebb and flow of the market which our jobs seem to follow. We have been at the bottom of the barrel and then flowed well over the top with more money than we ever imagined making. And then we are right back to the bottom of the barrel. For us as freelancers, the roller coaster maybe more extreme than those who have steady jobs, but jobs also come and go these days pretty rapidly. One day you are an executive high flyer, the next jobless. So those who are intelligent… save.
When we set out on this journey of balance (leading us to Guatemala), with the purpose to give ourselves an edge towards more time. So our tip to you is to spend just a little more to save a little more time. In the end you will also have more experiences which drive you forward and you will ultimately have a better and more content life.
I could give a million examples of how this has played out for us, but I opted for a more ‘life story’ for this funny story.
Over the course of the last year as I have put myself out of the work force and into motherhood full time, I have had a chance to try things differently. Kurt and I tried at the beginning of the year to save, get out of debt and try to find out way with less.
But it worked. We were nearly in a place we wanted to be financially after about 8 months. But was it worth it? We realized that we compromised a lot to be there. We missed out on seeing friends and family because of not going back to the states, we didn’t take any trips and we made our lives more complicated by not going to the city or taking private boats. We purposefully made our life harder to save a few bucks and we were extremely bored.
Eventually everything always comes back around for us and our roller coaster of funds left the station. After the year mark, we decided to move into a larger town and rebuild our life here permanently. We took on a car loan, went into debt for taking time off work to have our second child and spend more time with our 2 1/2 year old, had new school fees and had a number of unexpected expenses like travel, furniture, appliances and healthcare. We are at the end of the year with much less money and much more debt, but I can say looking at both sides of the spectrum; spending less to save more money vs. spending a little more to save time and make our lives a little easier, we proudly stand by the latter. We have a full life filled with friends, adventures and beautiful stuff that has made our lives boundlessly better.
There are few times in our lives that we have the opportunity to just step back and experience life. Most people wait until retirement age to travel, enjoy and rest knowing the importance of “striking when its hot” in the workforce. Those are the same people who come right out of graduate school and never leave until they retire. We have done things a little differently all around – we spent time in our 20s just enjoying life, or trying things out. I started a business and then closed it when it became too much. I took a year off to travel and live in Europe in my 30th year, and another year to be pregnant with my 2nd and enjoy my daughter. Kurt traveled in his RV for 6 years in his late 30s and lived in and out of Zen centers around the country. He was in bands in his 20s and showed in galleries before getting a “real job.” He started a raw food delivery service and now took the last 4 years off to be a full time painter and see where he can take it.
We have taken tremendous risks without any level of payment. But we have enjoyed our time exponentially and grown so much from the experiences. We are better suited to help our customers and give back to the world.