It’s not always about coupon clipping, bargain hunting, and sale shopping to get what you want. Sometimes what you don’t have can not only be the key to successful frugal living, but it may even bring more peace and contentment to your family. My husband is a teacher and coach in a tiny Kansas town. There’s a lot we don’t have, and we’re perfectly okay with that.
We don’t have stores in our town.
Not a one. What we do have is a 20-minute drive one way to pick up milk. Or tape. Or fast food. (And a whoppin’ 50-minute drive to the nearest Starbucks – oh, the horror!) That 20-minute trek is just enough to make me think twice about what I can substitute, do without, or make on my own. It’s just enough to get me organized, saving time and money by reducing our trips to town.
What do we have in our tiny town? A park, a library, a swimming pool… and a few very quiet streets for bike riding and family walks. Free entertainment at every turn!
We don’t have new vehicles.
Oh, but we do have well-loved paid for vehicles! What they lack in fance-n-shmance they totally make up for in reliability and saving us hundreds (thousands?!) of dollars a year.
We don’t have cable. Or satellite. Or smart phones.
What we do have is a limited amount of pricey distractions, which results in less time in front of our one tv and more time interacting with our children and our community. Because our cell phones are pre-paid and used for emergencies, we’re not tempted to check them every two seconds at home or on the road. And, without the cable and cell phone bills, we can save up for our next well-loved vehicle!
We don’t have a large (or new) home.
Dear Jonses, please look away. We are not keeping up.
Built in 1916, our nearly century-old home boasts three bedrooms, one (gasp!) bathroom and a whole lot of character. With four children, it sometimes feels a little tight around here, but this is how I look at it: If I had a bigger home, I’d have room for more stuff. If I had room for more stuff, I might actually want more stuff. If I actually wanted more stuff, I would be tempted to spend money (that I don’t have) on stuff (that I don’t need). You get the picture, right?
What we don’t have doesn’t define us. Being content with and grateful for what we do have is our key to frugal, debt-free living.