I have been picking up some books from the library recently and this was my latest read. I really connected with this book. I am trying to live the "less is more" philosophy and this book was a great encouragement to keep down that path. Here are my random notes/thoughts on the book.
- The benefits of living with less, you get more:
- Energy & Intentionality (in marriage and parenting)
Living in the instant gratification culture and "keeping up with the jones's" mentality, we need to stop making comparison
- Develop thankful attitudes
- Establish reasonable standard of living
- Discern between needs and wants
- Recognize appearances are not necessarily accurate
- Ask God for help
There are 2 types of sacrifice
- Constructive Sacrifice (necessary, helpful, beneficial to the family during seasons of life)
- Entertainment/recreational activities
- Relationship with God
- Identity (Identity is based on how God sees us, not external - kids behavior is not tied to us)
The book is broken down into 3 Parts (Vision, Attitudes, Actions).
Part 1 Vision
Chapter 1 Less Is Really More
Chapter 2 Redefining More
Part 2 Attitudes
Chapter 3 Countercultural Mindset: It's an Out-of-This-World Experience
Chapter 4 Contentment: Living with Less and Liking It
Chapter 5 Sacrifice: Forfeit to Win!
Chapter 6 Simplicity: Sometimes Less Really Is More
Chapter 7 Frugality: Living with More Time and Less Money
Chapter 8 Faith: Ordinary People Trusting in an Extraordinary God
Chapter 9 Community: You Can't Do This Alone
Part 3 Actions
Chapter 10 Finances: Budget Is Not a Bad Word and Cash Really Is in Vogue
Chapter 11 Savings, Investments and Insurance: It's All about the Risk
Chapter 12 Food and Clothing: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Chapter 13 Housing: There's No Place Like Home
Chapter 14 Transportation: You're driving Me Crazy
Chapter 15 Holidays: Santa's on a Budget and Vacation is a Nonnegotiable
Chapter 16 College: Higher Education at Lower Cost
Chapter 17 Income: Make Money Doing What You Love
Chapter 18 Are You a Less-Is-More Family?
For me the book didn't have earth shattering new information, but was a great encouragement, supporting choices we have made as a family.
A few decisions we have made as a family to live with less, is to first off say NO to many good things. We could have our kids a part of many more activities, we could be on different adult sport teams, we could fill up our calendar with more social things, but as a family we have decided to protect our time for ourselves. It seems life is already so busy with the things we do allow on the calendar, that we really want to make sure we have down, fun, playtime as a family.
We have decided to sacrifice finances for time, availability, peace, joy, margin, energy. By me staying home we have have given up freedom to spend money for freedom that does not have a price tag. We are very aware of our money and how it is spent. We have a budget, and we live by it. We give, we invest, we save and then we spend. Money used to be a huge area of arguments for Steve and me. Through many tough conversations, we have gotten to a point where we most often live with financial peace. We don't buy things we can't afford. We don't have debt except a home. Our van we recently bought, we skimped and saved for a few years, and paid cash. There was so much freedom to not owe anyone. I have a very limited "slush" fund each month to spend on anything nonessential (decorating, crafts, clothes, accessories, etc). The limited amount has actually worked well at allowing me freedom to splurge on what I want (without worrying what Steve will say) and has caused me to consider every purchase carefully, often preventing "excess" from entering our lives.
I don't say these things to ask for a pat on the back. I really don't need that, I know how we live is so counter-culture to many people. I am ok with that. I have so much contentment in my life, I am so blessed in many ways. I appreciate the people in my life and I want to give them one of the greatest gifts, TIME.