Monday, June 27, 2011

Poor and Content

This picture couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in my little household. It has me thinking about a lot.

My husband or I are simple, frugal people. We didn't come from money, and we've never minded since we don't know what it's like to live otherwise. We openly admit we're broke and see no shame in being honest about it. We don't pretend to have money and live wealthy. While we joke it would be nice to have an extra thousand dollars to blow on whatever we wanted, neither of us put a lot of importance into material goods. We don't care about status or name-brands. Practically every piece of mismatched furniture in our house was given to us. We don't have modern, orderly decorations. We have the essentials, and that's about it.

I've been a stay-at-home mom since Little Olive was born, and we knew doing so would make things tight financially around the house. But we've been able to make ends meet on one income. While it would be awesome to put an addition on the upstairs and make another bedroom, or re-do the kitchen with brand new appliances, the choice to stay home has been invaluable.

My husband graduated this spring with his master's degree, and we are so happy he's out of school, applying for his dream jobs. However, this past week we realized his loans would start coming in this summer for repayment. We're currently holding our breath on a position he applied for. Because if he doesn't get it, I'm not quite sure where the money for the new bills will come from.

That's why I opened my Etsy Shop last week. I love to sew, and it's about time I take pride in my work and display it for others to purchase. We also did a massive sweep of our house, taking anything we don't want or will never use for a yard sale next week. I've also decided to sell a set of Spode Dishes on eBay. If you know of anyone in the business for vintage, antiques, or dishes, send them the link or send me their information. :)

When we were in London several years ago, my husband and I saw a quote in a country tavern that read,

"Poor and content is rich enough."

It has become one of our favorites, and it's a wonderful reminder for what really matters in life. 

Another one we love is an Irish saying,
"A full cabin is better than an empty castle."

And finally,

"There is no feast without good company."

I think the next few months will be hard, but I know we'll be able to do it. We might be living off peanut butter and jelly till it comes out of our ears, but thankfully Little Olive loves it. :)

If you have any tips for ways to live even more frugally, share below! We're always up for new suggestions. 


Jo said...

How honest and wonderful! Frugal is a lifestyle and I applaud your dedication to raising Olive by yourself! Not for everyone, but obviously for you it works, good on ya!
I have saved tons of money in the past, when it was NOT a choice, by learning the magic of pasta. For pennies a meal you can feed your family with healthy nutritious ingredients. Add small amounts of protein (ground meat or tofu) and easy cheap sauces. Experiment or ask anyone who loves to cook. We survived on pasta, I think, for about 3 years. Still love it, too!

i.ikeda said...

Those are some awesome quotes and I should hang them around here too. We're going through a tough spot too with me still working on the PhD and only teaching part-time and Masa having to support two households (one being in such an expensive place as S.F.!).

I'm so happy you opened an Etsy shop! I can't wait to see what you've got there. I bet it's super cute and I'm just going to have to buy one. I've been preparing to open mine for a month now, haha, but I still haven't gotten the paperwork back from NYstate... I'm actually taking a break from blogging so I can build up some inventory to list there.

Off to check out your shop now.... :)

Arlee Bird said...

I've never really felt "poor" as in severely lacking what I've needed, but I've never felt particularly wealthy as far as luxuries and big bank accounts. It's okay with me, but a little more is always helpful. If I had an extra thousand I don't think I'd blow it unwisely. It would go to paying bills.

Tossing It Out

Susan Kane said...

Your post is so true--pbj is a staple in our house too. We have never been penniless, but oh boy, have we counted out the pennies.

Kathy29156 said...

What a wonderful post filled with great quotes to live by and humility. I can really relate to this because I am also a stay at home mom. I quit my job when my daughter was born and I have been home ever since. Financially it has been rough. We live paycheck to paycheck, and there is very little left over for extras. Somehow the Lord provides and we squeak through with everything we really need. We have happiness, love, and each other. Much to my amazement, through it all we have survived and continue too. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your delightful post!! Well done!


Laura Rogers said...

I love these quotes and i love your blog. I am now a follower.

peter petterson said...

You can still live frugally and within your means. You can still live happily and be content with every family member working as a team, MUM, Dad and the kids. Whether you live in the US or in NZ like me. Great post frugal one!


Theresa Wiza said...

I find myself in a situation similar to yours. I've never had money and now I'm in jeopardy of losing my home if I can't sell it. I know things always work out for the best, but those times just before they work out are scary. Hope your etsy business takes off. I'm sending this blog to a friend who has his own eBay business.

Vanessa said...

I am living one day at time... great post. Thanks for sharing!

D Ana said...

There is nothing wrong with being frugal. In this economy, you kind of have to anyway. Great post.

--Diana Jillian

Claudia Moser said...

Such a wonderful and honest post! I am sure everything will turn just fine! Smiles, Claudia

Brenda Stevens said...

yup chip away at the loans and to finally live DEbT fRee..oh man nothing but love : )

start a web business with your sewing...let your gifts flow with imagination and BE BLESSED!! JUMP!!!!!!!!!

Stephtee said...

Poor and content is rich enough....brilliant!

Marian said...

Lovely blog! Good luck with the future!

I love the name Olive!

Jenn said...

There is nothing wrong with living frugally and being content. I know. I've done it for a long time...and sometimes living simpler is just better. Great post. Cheers!! Jenn.

Natalie said...

Awesome post. :) The times in my life of "have-not" have far outweighed the "have" times, and there is nothing wrong with that!!! The first 4 years of our marriage, we had just enough to pay the apt rent and very basic utilities. Since I had grown up on food pantry food, WIC, etc., we determined not to use those resources unless it absolutely came down to it, although we were eligible at the time. (In my family growing up, there were times when the fridge was literally empty and my parents didn't know where the next meal would come from. Since things were never quite that bad for my husband and I, we felt obligated to leave the resources for those families who TRULY needed them.) All our furnishings and the vast majority of household goods came from dumpsters or friends' cast-offs. We found no shame in shopping at Aldi, Big Lots, or other big-discount stores for most of our grocery/personal care goods. (Crazily enough, I know a lot of people who wouldn't be caught dead in those stores!) Whatever extras that had been given us or that we found somewhere, we sold on eBay. My husband even sold his beloved archery set, which he'd had since he was a young teenager. He knew he wouldn't be using it for awhile, and that we could use the money more. It also helped that he knew how to do just about all car repair work we needed by himself....... saved us tons in credit card bills, and also meant that we could own dirt-cheap 15-year-old cars without having to be so concerned about the upkeep cost.

Due to his hard work, motivation, etc., my husband's received some good promotions in the last few years, and we've had a much better income... but while we are technically in a "have" time... we can't ever anticipate that it will last. So while we could, we spent the last couple of years getting out of debt, and are now saving every penny we can, while we can. (Kind of the 7 years of plenty, 7 years of famine thing from the Bible. ;)) We're still furnished with mostly dumpster-dived stuff, with the exception of our (discount store) matching couches for the living room now. Our favorite book is The Tightwad Gazette. ;) Frugality is a necessity at times, and when it's not... it's still a valid lifestyle that should be encouraged, not criticized! While a lot of people have made fun of us for "not having" whatever...... the fact is that we're not crying about not having enough money to pay bills - while in the next breath discussing the big-screen TV we're going to buy. (We're not...... that was someone who works with my husband.) Being smart with whatever money you have, when you have it, is a lot more important than what people think of you or "having" just because "everyone" else does. And -- it's really quite amazing, but the more generous we've been able to be with our money or food, it seems the more we are able to do with what we have left. The Lord is NEVER outdone in generosity!!!!!!!!!

Natalie said...

(Holy mackeral, that was a long post... sorry!!!!)

beachlover said...

"A full cabin is better than an empty castle." I love this quote! Lovely blog and best of luck to your husband getting his dream job!

spark said...

*hug* "Poor and content is rich enough."...Yup here too...but every-time, that child"s voice says...I love you Mom...I know i am the richest woman alive.

Word Nerd said...

Living simply often equates to living well, I believe. It sounds like your family has all of the things that matter most (really, that matter at all). :O)