Ok, we’ve all heard the phrase less is more, but is it really true? We in the McStriver household really do believe it!! In fact, we’ve grown to really dislike that cell phone commercial that uses the kids to try to sell that “bigger” is better. Is have having “bigger” debt worth it?
We are not trying to say that you should sell everything you own and live with the bare minimums, but do you really need everything you have? For example, we started life like a lot of Americans do. We went to college, got our degrees, and then started our adulthoods trying to live the “American Dream.” It started out good, we had good jobs, built and moved into a 4 bedroom house, and were enjoying life. Well then life happened, health problems started to creep in, the economy hads been tanking, and then we were living the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. It forced us to start looking at our priorities. Did we really need everything we had? It became apparent that we were not going to be able to have any kids. We slowly realized that we didn’t need a four bedroom house that was sucking our life away from us.
So after some time (and much frustration) we were able to sell our house. That was a major monkey of our backs. We then bought a two bedroom condo in another part of town (which we happen to like a lot more anyway). We have never regretted doing this. The only regret was that the fact that we didn’t do this in the first place. It can be chalked up to a lesson learned. Sometimes we need to struggle to appreciate what we really have. We couldn’t ask for more now. We live in a friendly, safe community, have some great amenities, and good neighbors. Cleaning is a lot easier too. After all, we have a smaller place. Plus we are going to (barring something catastrophic) own our condo free and clear a lot sooner than if we stayed in the larger home.
I am not saying that you should never buy a home. I am suggesting that you have enough, without breaking the bank. If you have (or are planning to have) a large family, a larger house is necessary. Just get what you need, and maybe add some bells and whistles in a smaller place if you can.
Even though our housing is a huge part of our budget, there are many other areas of life that this applies to. We would love to spend two months every year in Hawaii, but that is not possible, or at least would would be a dumb choice in our minds as it would require a great deal of debt to make it happen. So far we have been there twice, basically every ten years. We had most of the trip paid for before we went and paid for the rest during the trip. We have tried more of the stay-cation lifestyle for the most part. We like to enjoy the areas and things to do around us. Especially ones that are inexpensive or free.
The col thing is that we all have the freedom to choose what kind of lifestyle we want. We would all love to have the biggest place, with a butler and maid, take luxurious vacations, eat out all the time, and to basically live it up. Unfortunately, most of us really don’t have that much money and have to live a very simple life. As I have gotten older though, I have learned to be more content with what we have. All we really need is a roof over our heads, food, functional clothing, and transportation. Having a decent flat screen is pretty sweet too, like the frosting on the cake.