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The Things That Make You Simple

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Posted on : 10:57 AM | By : Nic | In :

I was just reading a post (and the subsequent forum thread) over at Simple Makes, that posed the question - are people really living simply, or basically just gave up and can't do any better?  The forum had some good posts, and interesting insight.  I definitely believe it's the first choice, just because we've been in more situations where we've been doing too well financially for our own good.  Sometimes the choice to live simply has been conscious, and there have been times it's been forced upon us, but not unwillingly.  I don't think that simple living folks don't want to make money - quite the contrary.  I think they are more financially sound and sometimes make more money than the rest.  Like us, they try to work at jobs that are fulfilling, and they stay out of debt.


But I think everyone has some criteria for themselves in the pursuit of simple living.  Some of them are pretty universal, and some are not.  Here's my family's list of simple living... not rules, which implies some kind of dogma, but rather truths that make us truly happy.  That's it - Simple Living Truths:

1. No television.  We watch tv shows that we download, and we watch lots of movies.  But we get our news from independent sources and we don't see any commercials.

2. Avoiding fast food.  I admit, we love to eat out.  For all the tv we don't watch, we certainly supplement it with a nice dinner at a good restaurant.  Fast food only happens in a pinch.  But we enjoy good food and the work that goes into it.  There's nothing wrong in spending money - miserliness is really bad too, lol.

3. Not too many things.  We like things - don't get me wrong.  Pretending we don't need 'stuff' is like saying we don't really need soap.  There are necessities and comforts of life, and they can be enjoyed without guilt when you are not shopping for the sake of shopping, and when those items were bought debt-free and with the environment in mind.

4. Not keeping up with the Joneses.  Those Joneses!  They are so competitive, aren't they?  If you see your neighbor's big tv, it's hard not to say, "Wow, that would be fun to have for our Planet Earth movies!"  And it sure would be.  The trick is not to do it because they have it, but because it would be fun and you can really afford it, and it benefits your family.  

5. Working at what we love.  John and I both now have our dream jobs.  We are not quitters, but we've never stuck around at something we hate unless we've absolutely had to.  We've never worked fast food, and we've taken big risks to do what we love.  I am lucky to be able to be home with my kids and write, and he's lucky to be the manager of an awesome store that sells his favorite thing - Apple products.  But is it luck?  Or is it not being satisfied with mediocre?

6.  Environmentally conscious.  Everything we do has the environment in mind. We live very comfortably, but we keep that footprint small.  We'd rather spend more on something to make sure it's better ecologically.  We don't go crazy about it, but the small differences add up to a big difference.

7.  We deal with family differently.  We don't send ridiculous obligatory cards that get thrown away, and we don't buy lots of presents.  We tell them not to get us presents.  Instead, we email, we iChat, and we take trips to visit people. If they must buy the kids something, it has to be a book or an addition to the Playmobile collection, lol.  We would rather they donate to charity instead though.

8.  We have lots of hobbies.  We love to see new places and travel, with the kids.  We do tons of crafts, we play lots of board games, we love to have nerdy parties, we collect books and we have fun decorating our home, lol.  There are tons of ongoing projects happening constantly.

9.  Stay out of debt.  We've got no debt, and that means no credit cards.  In the even that we want to buy some real estate, we will be possibly getting a car loan to build that credit rating up some more, but cars and property are the only things we're willing to get in debt for.  We have no credit card, and we don't miss it.  

I think many people would disagree with some of our attitudes towards life and things because they really link frugalness with living simply.  Frugal means getting what you need, wearing things out, not being wasteful.  We do all that!  But maybe it's the Brazilian half of me that says not to worry so much, enjoy the little things in life, and have fun.  :)


'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

Comments (4)

I love this post! And I'm glad to have in some way led you to the original question. I agree, and find that I agree more and more every day, regarding simple living folks making that choice out of sound judgment (especially financial!), and I really like your Simple Living Truths. I especially identify with #3, 5, & 8, and though we don't have kids yet, we'd like to deal with gifts (your #7) in a simple way.

I also love the "simple gifts" song! One of my childhood favorites.

Nice post. It mirrors our chioces very well too.

I would love to know just what are your 'nerdy parties'. lol

Your the first blogger (of the ones I read) that I've found that posts songs I actually KNOW. Most people post 80s rock which I don't know having never been around...lol

My ideal lifestyle would be to live in the mountains in a cob house that my family helped to design and build, continue 'unschooling' my son, grow our own food, write, draw and just live!