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Category Archives: The Make-Do Life

The “Work Away From Home”-Maker

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Recently I’ve seen some very encouraging post across the internet about the subject of homemaking – people wanting to reclaim the dignity of the vocation and stretch its stereotypical gender roles.  All in all it’s a great movement; people want to be connected to their homes again, they want to be house-proud and able.  However, for every post I see about it there still seems to be one main vein of thinking – that a homemaker, whether man or woman, must make it their sole occupation to have the right to claim that title.

Well, I want to speak up for those of us who feel that they deserve a share of that title even if we find it necessary to work away from the home.

Now, I don’t claim to ignore that there are those who will always choose to work solely because it earns them more money and with more money comes more stuff and with that stuff they seem to find happiness.  I’m not speaking of those who can’t imagine life without thousands of dollars of spare income a month or multiple vacations, cars or homes or even weekly trips to the mall, the movies and restaurants.  I’m speaking up for those of us who work out of necessity, whose families couldn’t live more than hand(out) to mouth without some form of additional income.  Perhaps we have two student loan debts, perhaps we’re young men or women with entry levels jobs, perhaps we choose good honest work over high salaries, perhaps we’ve been sick without insurance, perhaps we have aging family members who rely on us, perhaps the alternative would mean unsafe neighborhoods and bad schools – but no matter the cause we choose to work out of a well thought out realization of necessity.  Many of us see it as a means toward an end – a few years of double incomes to pay off debt and save up – and for some of us it will always be a reality.

No matter our reason we, the “Work Away From Home”-Makers, still have the same goals you do Mr. or Mrs. Career Homemaker – perhaps its to raise children, take care of relatives, avail ourselves to charity and volunteerism or just keep a warm and welcoming home as a haven to others.  We still try to live frugal lives, we still stretch a dollar; in fact, many of us cook from scratch, craft and garden in our spare time.  While we find ourselves in situations out of necessity it is our priorities, not our schedules, that allow us to claim the coveted title of “homemaker”.  I believe that if we still prioritize our homes, families and children above our things, our social lives and other earthly experiences than we are still working toward the same goals.

So if there is someone out there who wishes for the day they can say “I’m a full-time homemaker”, but feel they can’t because they work away from home, to you I say – claim it, tell people that you are a “Full Time Homemaker with a Full Time Job”, a “Working Homemaker”, however you want to claim it, do so.  As long as your priorities are on making your house a home, as long as you strive to manage that home with economy and efficiency and to give your family the most of yourself  that you can than be proud.  Let’s stop the nit-picking over the details of how we do it and focus on our shared priorities in our lives.  We are Homemakers – we are people, men and women of every type, who wish to make a house a home for those we love.

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Simple Parenting – Two Quick Book Reviews

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Okay, I’ll admit it – if there’s one thing I thought I’d do when I became a parent it was to become a voracious reader on the subject and to my surprise the only thing I picked up during pregnancy was the “What to Expect” book.  That was it.  I could drone on on the whys – a combination of reading too much made my the anxiety part of the my ante-partum depression worse and a post-pregnancy decision to trust my instincts. 

However, about 6 months later, I was ready to do a little more reading.  I didn’t go for the “how make a genius” books, or anything on how to make them better, faster or better.  I wanted something that could help lead me, as a parent, to help form their lives to the best I could.  With this in mind I turned towards the one of the pinnacle principles of my life – voluntary simplicity.  VS, for those not in the know, is simple the conscious decision to make do with less – what this implies personally varies from person to person.  For some it’s just turning off the television a couple of nights a week, while for other it means chucking the T.V. and just about everything else to the curb.

I already felt like I had a pretty good grasp on how our lives would reflect these ideals in our parenthood.  Ben and I had already talked extensively about toys, clothes, activities, etc.; but I wanted to find something that reinforced my crazy idea that I might not permanently damage the child by not giving them everything and letting them do everything as well.

Two wonderful sources I found were “Living Simply with Children.” by Marie Sherlock and “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross.  I’ll let the officials give the low down on the books.

“Living Simply with Children” -“Raising children ranks as one of life’s most rewarding adventures. Yet between Mom and Dad working full-time jobs, endless carpooling of overscheduled youngsters, and the never-ending pressures to buy and consume, family life can be incredibly—needlessly—complex. What if you could find a way to spend more time with your children, replace unnecessary activities with meaningful ones, and teach your children an invaluable life lesson in the process? Living Simply with Children offers a realistic blueprint for zeroing in on the pleasures of family life:

• How (and why) to live simply and find more time to be with your children
• Activities and rituals that bring out the best in every family member
• Realistic ways to reclaim your children from corporate America
• Helping children of any age deal with peer pressure
• Raising kids who care about people and the planet
• How to focus on the “good stuff” . . . with less stuff

Including sections on limiting television, environmentally friendly practices, celebrating the holidays, and tapping into the growing community of families who embrace simplicity, this inspiring guide will show you how to raise children according to your own values—and not those of the consumer culture—as you enjoy both quality and quantity time with your family.””

“Simplicity Parenting” – “Waldorf educator and consultant Payne teams up with writer Ross to present an antidote for children who are overscheduled and overwhelmed by too much information and a fast-paced consumer culture that threatens the pace and playful essence of childhood. Payne claims that a protective filter should surround childhood, rather than the competitive, stressful adult world that has encroached on childhood’s boundaries, preventing kids from developing resiliency with a sense of ease and well-being. But Payne is not a doomsayer: he presents a wealth of practical ideas for reclaiming childhood and establishing family harmony. In chapters covering four levels of simplification—environment, rhythm, schedules and Filtering Out the Adult World—Payne explains how parents can tackle extraneous stuff and stimulation by reducing the mountain of toys, limiting scheduled activities, providing valuable downtime and employing such pressure valves as storytelling and periods of quiet. According to the authors, limiting choices and activities will lead to kids who are more secure and less stressed, and to parents whose days are calmer. With fewer choices, Payne explains, families have the freedom to appreciate things—and one another—more deeply. Though simplicity parenting may seem a stretch for some, others will find that Payne’s program for restoring creative play, order and balance is long overdue.”

My Two Cents –

“Living Simply with Children” – Earned a place on my bookshelves for the later years.  Henry isn’t exactly active outside the house yet, or interactive in the ways necessary for the examples in this book so this will sit on the shelves for a couple of years, but I’m glad to have it in my arsenal.  The author gives great advice for parents who already practice VS or are new to it; she gives step by step instructions on laying out goals and activities as family.  And has a wealth of sources for developing meaningful activities within the home. 

My only qualm with this book was that the author gave no examples for VS homes where both parents work.  Though it’s a touchy subject in many circles, two working parents are often a reality nowadays and particularly will often be a reality for those just realizing they could live more on a little less.  If you, like me are part of a two working parent home, don’t dispar there is still a lot of good advice nestled in this quick read.

“Simplicity Parenting” – Simply put, I loved this book no question about it.  My qualms with the first book were met in this one.  Kim John Payne aims his book toward every lifestyle – one working parent/one SAHP, two working parents, multiple children, only children, single parents, etc. and I was so pleased to see so many realistic examples (given from his own experience) of his ideas at work.

Dr. Payne touches on many subjects – the first and largest being the need to limit toys.  Straight up, less in more people – he and I see eye to eye on useful and engaging toys.  For those who have grandparents and other relatives who love to give gifts he offers the simple and realistic idea of toy and book home libraries to keep rooms and playspaces uncluttered.

Other subjects are the simplification of activities (your child does not need to be in and do everything – they’ll be happier and you’ll be happier), the simplification of food and meals (family dinners are a must and limiting the their food away from over processed, extreme, unrealistic flavors helps them develop healthier lifestyles), the importance of routine (he offers up wonderful ways for even the fast paced-career having parents to help establish calming routines), and the need to limit exposure to media and the adult world (he’s not an advocate for keeping them from reality, but letting them grow up as they should).

One interesting claim of Dr. Payne is the success he’s had with his ADD/ADHD patients and the success he’s had using the techniques of simplification and routine to give these children a little more control over their already over-stimulated minds.  He does not claim to cure the disorder, but rather gives advice for non-perscription based help in managing it.

This book might not be of interest to anyone with the mindset that their children will be deprived, no questions asked, if they are ever denied any toy or belonging or that they will fall behind without enrollment in every sport, lesson and activity.  If you think this already, this book might not be for you.

However I do feel renewed in a few of my own parenting goals:

  • Limiting toys and books – not a total deprivation, but rather an active examination of what is useful and beneficial.  We will continue to focus on toys and games that have multiple uses and application and which foster imaginative play and concrete learning skills.
  • Boredom is okay – let your kids be bored.  15 minutes of whining could lead to making Transmogrifiers out of cardboard boxes.
  • Peaceful rooms – keep your rooms peaceful and organized, limit the items in the childs room so that it is a relaxing haven for them to retreat to.
  • Limit activities – Our personal resolves rest somewhere around here – When old enough to take part in all these activities they will allowed to have music lessons, Boy Scouts/4-H/Similar group, and one sport per season.  This will be open to change depending on the child’s interest and skill – concessions will be made if they show to be particularly devoted to a particular activity.
  • Family Life and Routine – Not too long ago I would have run from the idea of welcoming routine into my life, I loved jumping from one project to the next and now I find myself working hard to secure a day shift for just the opposite reason.  We want to have a routine within our family – days and nights for activities, errands, family time and adventures all worked in together, but also time to be along, to be quiet, to work, and just to be together.  I’m determined to have family dinners be a focal point of our lives as well as night-time routines; also into the mix are traditions that come with the seasons and holidays.
  • Let my kids be kids – I want to strive to allow my children to enjoy their childhoods, it’s such a fleeting moment in a person’s life.  I don’t want to keep reality from them, there are appropriate times to talk about the big subjects – birth, death and everything in between, but I don’t think my kids need to see pictures of death and war on a regular basis.  I don’t think they need to know about every up and down, every worry and concern that their parents deal with – sometimes it’s okay to be happy when they’re awake and save the worry till they’re sleeping as little minds are often too quick to accept the weight of the world on their own little shoulders.  It’s a fine line, but one I want to walk with an aware and conscious mind.

Overall I highly encourage you to read either of these books whether your kids are 18, 8 or 8 months.

{Right Now}

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Right now, I am…

:: enjoying the feeling of balance and stability.

:: feeling nervous and a little anxious.

:: wanting to find my camera card.

:: enjoying 8 month old little boys who give my life meaning.

:: holding him close, because he’s no longer looking like my little baby.

:: thinking of the hope of more little boys, paint chips, faith and snow.

:: grateful for amazing family and friends.

:: anticipating new schedules.

:: wishing for more hours in the day.

:: wondering just how much knitting I can  do until my fingers fall off

:: hoping to share more projects again, as soon as I find the time… and my camera card.


The Day We’ve Been Waiting For

As of 10 a.m. this morning the “Make-Do” Family has ZERO consumer debt.

After collecting the hubby and the baby around the computer I clicked that final button and paid off our car and 6 six days shy of our 2 year mark we are (consumer) debt free. 

In those two years we’ve:

  • Had a promotion (the reason we could start the goal in earnest)
  • Had an off-season (3 months of no work)
  • Celebrated birthdays and holidays
  • Explored the West Coast
  • Found out we were having a baby
  • Moved cross-country
  • Took a minimum wage job – Me
  • Bought a second used car
  • Changed jobs (and took a pay cut to do so) – Him
  • Got the interview that turned into a real job a few days before Christmas
  • Went on 3 months of maternity leave
  • Got job offer
  • Had baby
  • Turned 28 (both of us)
  • started new job – entry-level but still mor per year than I was making before
  • Got a small raise, got past 6 months probation period and got another raise
  • Had expenses, bought clothes, tires, maintenance, fun things, saw movies, ate out, visited family, etc.
  • Paid of over $11,000 of debt – approx. $7500 car, $2300 loan, $1200 credit card
  • Have saved equal amount in preparation for home buying/savings/day to day expenses

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share the total amount on-line, but decided I wanted to do so to show those who want to do something similar that it is possible even when faced with those day to struggles and ups and downs.  You make sacrifices along the way, but it’s amazing how quickly you learn to stick to your guns when you see that number start to get smaller.  It’s even possible with small budget and paychecks.

How we did it –

  • Careful budgeting – figured out the needs and always saw that those were met each time they arose.
  • Planned known expenses in advance – Getting a flat tire can’t be planned, but other things can.  You know when birthdays and holidays are coming up and can plan accordingly.
  • Pay with cash – Okay I’ll admit the envelope system doesn’t work for me, but paired up with my budgeting and planning it was easy to look a week or two in the future and see the expenses I knew would arise and do a little quick math to see what was left over in the account after those expenses were taken care of.  If I had extra, I could spend it; If we were barely squeaking by until the next paycheck that thing could usually wait.
  • Knowing that Money = Life – yeah that sounds a little weird, but if you work for a living and receiving a paycheck it’s easy to figure out just how much of your life you’ll be at work to afford that brand new car versus a used one.  Heck, an Ipod on an entry-level  salary will cost you over 20 hours of your life.  An Ipad, over 50 hours – that’s 50 hours of your life working just to have a gadget you might not need, which will have to be replaced eventually anyways and if you’re obsessed with owning the latest and greatest, the amount of time spent earning those items adds up; put it on a credit card and you can tack on another couple of hours filling TPS reports and being asked if you got that Memo.  (Apply this logic to cable TV, I dare you.  It’ll make your head hurt.)

Things we’ve learned in the last two years:

  • It’s not hard to say no – when you start asking yourself if something is a want or a need, it becomes easier to say “I don’t really need that now”.
  • Find the budget that’s right for you – Everyone is different and everyone will find their own bookkeeping methods – mine was a Word program calendar file that allowed me to track exactly how much we needed in our account each week to take care of our needs (bills, food, gas) which made it easy to see the $500 extra in the checking account was not up for grabs.
  • Set budgets, but don’t beat yourself up – it’s okay if you set a budget for eating out or gifts and have 3 long-lost friends drop into town, a wedding and a 1st birthday all in the same months.  It’s life, you only get one, so enjoy it when it happens and adjust the next month accordingly.
  • Saving is addicting – While I hope not to become a Scrooge coveting my saved dollars, saving money can become addicting and you start to mourn times when you can’t save as much as you’d like. Part of this is the feeling of security you get knowing that if the month (mentioned above) also happens when the kid outgrows all his clothes, you get two flat tires and the toilet backs up you’ll be okay.
  • You’ll amazed out how little you need to really live well.

Now the plan is to bulk up the savings even more in preparation for the house buying by putting what we were spending on the car directly into savings and keep plugging away at those student loans, which we should have paid off with in 7 years, but I plan of figuring out a way to pay them off in 5 or the by the 10th anniversary of graduation.  I plan on trying to make a bulk payment to them in a month or two to pay off any outstanding compounding interest left over from my less financially savvy years.

Today is a good day.

Out of the Wardrobe

Nope, still no Narnia; no shirtless James McAvoy walking out of my closet.

Darn.

Well, there’s always tomorrow.

However, I did get the deep clean done.  The damage stands at this:

1 shopping bag full of ratty, damage or otherwise not worth keeping items from the undergarment/sock drawer ready to be thrown away.

1 shopping bag of items for the Goodwill – things with minor defects or out of style aka not worth of the great consignment shop

2 shopping bags of items for the great consignment shop – I was really hard on myself to accomplish this.  Even if the items were it great condition and were from quality stores – if they hadn’t been worn in the last year or I some how find a way to talk myself out of wearing them on a regular basis they are going bye-bye.  I feel good that most of the items will be taken at tomorrows drop off.

Which brings my clothing items – total for all seasons (nothing in storage) to it’s current tally

1 drawer undergarments (not full, but plenty to be cycled thru)

1 drawer socks/tights/etc. (also not full, but now organized with only the best items kept)

1 drawer jeans and non-work pants

1 drawer misc. work pants/pj’s

1 standard garment rack (maybe 3/3.5 ft long) of tops, sweaters and dresses.

That’s it folks, except for my shoes (which are hard to coral for a picture), my two winter jackets and a couple days worth of laundry in the machine, that’s my entire (spring/summer/winter/fall) wardrobe.

I’m so glad I did this now, as fall is my favorite time to succumb to my consumer urges.  It’s nice to look in and see just where, if at all there are any gaps in my necessary wardrobe.  While it’s all in really nice shape I did notice a few spots that need help and have made a few goals relating to them.

Make-Do Projects

  • Boot socks and bras – my top priority for yearly “Restocking the Stocking” gifts, but not before.
  • One or two pairs of nice dress shoes – the heels I still have from college (you know about 8 years ago) haven’t been worn in years and are getting tossed/consigned. I plan on waiting out the great C.S. for a quality pair of dress shoes this fall, or two. Goal – find consigned pair(s) of Sofft heels, or similar (small height, larger in the base than my 20 year old self prefered), they come into the great C.S. surprisingly often.
  • Continue to save for one really nice pair of leather boots – I have a dream about buying a good pair of Frye leather boots that will be heirlooms, and still wearable, when I die at the age of 107. Will check ebay and the like when the time comes, but until then I’ll make do with what I have.
  • New hat/glove set for myself – knitting myself for Christmas out of stock of yarn.

Mend Projects

  • Hem 2 pairs of jeans – bought 2 pairs of fancy brand jeans at the consignment shop about a month ago, just a little too long and need to be hemmed.
  • Re-line winter jackets – I have two winter coats and both need little work on the inside. My long wool coat (that I’ve had since 7th grade) needs new lining throughout the body and my green coat needs the pockets sewn back up. {Note to self – this has been on your to-do list for about two years…. good luck!}

Do Without Goals

  • Find and save for patterns and yarn for a couple sweaters – there are one or two classic sweaters that I’d like to have eventually, and why not add them to my closet by the work of my own hands – but until then I’ll do without.
  • I really don’t need much else right now and with the prospect of potential home ownership approaching (hopefully) there are so many other things to spend my money on/save.

Thanks to my goals earlier this month to stay out of the stores my credit at the great C.S. is currently standing at around $130, with more to sell so my “make-do” purchases, once found, will not cost me a thing with plenty left over to stock up Little Bear at the end of the season for next year.

Into the Wardrobe

And no folks, I’m not talking about Narnia.

The weather is turning cold here, though we’ll probably get one more blast of summer before it’s all said and done and that means it’s time to head to the closet.

I find that early fall is the perfect time to take stock of the wardrobe.  It’s easy to remember what got a lot of wear during the summer and what is no longer interesting for the winter and it’s the prime time to hit up deals in the stores for replacement items.

This weekend I started by going through my main rack of clothes, getting out the small pile of sweaters I put away last spring and really just analyzing my clothing needs.  This year I promised myself to be rather strict about what I was keeping and that everything that was kept had to meet certain guidelines:

  • Fit well – no more “only on the skinny days” pants, dresses or tops.  If can’t look nice in it any day of the month it’s just taking up space.
  • In good condition – I’m an adult, a mother and wife of modest means.  There is no reason to pull out the ratty tops and stretched out sweaters anymore and putting on a nice shirt and pants is just as easy as throwing on a pair of pj’s there’s very few exceptions for why I should be seen in public in anything less than acceptable.
  • A “go to” piece – except for speciality items, like dress clothes and heavy-duty weather/work clothes, if the item was not worn in the last year or in regular rotation it needs to get the axe.

As I mentioned in the guidelines – putting on a nice, or at least clean, t-shirt and pants is just as easy as a pair of pj’s so, personally, I don’t see the reason to allow myself in public looking like a slob.  Sure, I might not have washed my hair in the last 24 hours and make-up is often a no-go, but I can at least stop myself from wearing stained or hole-ly clothing.

I’ve found over the last year that having a smaller, nicer wardrobe has many benefits. 

  • It’s easier to get dressed – there aren’t racks of clothes to dig through to find that *one* item. 
  • It’s easier to look nice and put together, even on the days when you’re anything but. 
  • Looking put together often helps me feel more put together. 
  • Only keeping well-fitting clothing means I don’t have to worry about what’s going to show or slip out when I’m running around with the kid or juggling too many bags at the grocery store.
  • Having a small wardrobe means I’m more likely to know exactly what I have and what I need – if I know I already have two perfectly acceptable grey sweaters I’m less like to buy a new one because I know my need for an item has been met. (Grey sweaters are my kryptonite).

So for now I’m about 50% through the closet cleaning – not because there’s a lot, but because there’s a lot to be done during nap time of a 7 month old who can kind of crawl, but really wants to walk.  I still need to go through the socks/undergarments drawers and pants and then do a second sweep of everything.  My current goal is to cut my current clothing possessions by about 20% and get the seasonally appropriate things into the consignment store asap.

Do you regulate and go through your closets on a regular basis?  Do you need to?  Any suggestions to share?

Financial Expectations

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Wow!  Hello visitors from Notes From the Frugal Trenches… I don’t know what I said, but I hope a couple of you will stick around.  Since it was my comment on financial expectations that gathered such a large migration I thought I’d take a  minute and expand a little.  Pardon if I don’t give exact facts and figures… I’m just not that kind of gal 😉

You can catch up on our current living situation Here.  and Here. To expand more on our plans since that post we are working under the idea that (unless we find another offer too good to pass up) we are going to buy the house we’re sharing with my folks when they retire.  Hopefully in the next year or so.  Housing prices in our area are kind of ridiculous – what my parents paid for a duplex in the mid-90’s will get you a really shabby condo/apartment today – so the deals are few and far between.

So here are my Financial Expectations

1) Housing – Having a good roof over our heads is incredibly important.  It’s why were living the way we are instead of just paying too much money for an apartment or shabby condo.  With the idea that we are taking over this property in a couple of years we are helping with repairs and updates.  We also exchange general chores and maintenance for rent.  Since we moved in we’ve been able to save about half of what I’d like to have for a down-payment and that with not working for almost 3 months because of pregnancy and about 4 months of myself making minimum wage.  Sometimes it’s hard and feels like we’re so behind everyone else our age when the “I should have”‘s strike, but you can read here about my realizations that the modern idea of having the house, the car, the everything before you’re 30 is really quite a new idea and not necessarily good for our generation.

2) Bill Paying – Here you can read about how we’re almost out of consumer related debt, except for those pesky student loans.  Since I’ve been back to work we’ve put the equivalent of a good mortgage payment to finishing paying off this lump and when it’s done it’s done.  We’ve decided any future cars will be paid for in cash, along with furniture, vacations, etc.  While we do keep a credit card open it is truly just for emergencies and the limit is low enough to pay off in about a year or less of penny-pinching.  The rest of our bills always come out direct deposit so they’re always on time and I keep a calendar of the due dates and amounts to check against my checking account balance.  We  are big proponents of “if we don’t have it we don’t spend it” and it’s amazing how much that frame of mind keeps you out of trouble.

3) Investing – While food and the essentials are on the list, this is what I’d rather share.  I’m all about investing in our future.  This comes in many ways.  One way is new to us do to better jobs this last years in investing in terms of insurance and retirement.  Both my husband and I have retirement accounts now – I can’t remember his specifics, but my employer puts in 10% for my 5%, this means 15% of my income each year gets put in a retirement account.  We’re also insured, not just health insurance though I’d be lying if I said the reason I got into the place I work wasn’t due in part to their health insurance plan (for the first time, I don’t have to pay for my family’s health insurance) to throw out a number that means we get about $400 a month back into my husbands paycheck.  Between that number and the number we’ll no longer be putting towards debt is our housing payments – mortgage and utilities.  The other way our jobs help us to invest is by offering us insurance in case of emergencies.  We are now covered so that if anything were to happen to me, my husband or both of us the remaining members of our family (the one spouse and child or just child) could live comfortably without the income we give.  It’s comforting to know that if something tragic were to happen to my husband and I that Henry would have access to money that we’d spend on him anyways and not be a financial burden to his guardians.

We also invest in what comes into our homes.  This is the part that always seems to go against frugal living, but we’re not afraid of spending money if the money is well spent.  While we’re always on the look out for a good deal, we invest in the things that fill our homes with the hopes that each couch, dresser, plates and cup that we buy will live a long and useful life.  In the last couple years we’ve made it a point to only buy furniture with longevity in mind – a $150  quality (often vintage or antique) bookcase or dresser will often cost less in the long run than multiple $30 cheap versions of the same thing.  While we are big proponents of consignment store clothing, we still look for quality and often wait for end of the season sales to stock up on things for the next year so that we won’t have to run out and buy a $25 swimsuit for the kid because we got one for 40 cents, bare or never worn, at the consignment shop the previous year.  Purchases that cannot be thrifted are bought with forethought and reason and usually after months of searching for just the right thing – take for example my $40 leather satchel purse; I looked for this for about a year until I found exactly what I was looking for at the price I wanted.  It’s a quality piece that I intend to use until it falls apart and is reincarnated into a new cow and then I’ll probably wait, track it down and use it again ;D.  Even things that fall into the “want” class are bought on considered basis – movies, books, music are all considered for their longevity, purchasing only the ones that we feel we’ll enjoy for years to come.

In a nutshell our financial expectations are fairly basic – a roof over our heads, basic needs always taken care of, etc.  We take care of these things first, don’t beat ourselves up if an expense comes up and takes a chunk out of the account or we don’t stick to our budget 100% all the time.  We take care of the needs first, but don’t deny ourselves the occasional want.  And while sometimes it’s hard to shut off the voice that tells you “you have failed because you don’t have a fancy job, a huge house and your kids does have a million toys and never will” we are 100% that we are setting the stones for a really good life down the road.  In fact it makes us more secure in our marriage knowing that we are working toward similar goals and have a trusting relationship with our money and how we spend it since financial troubles are one of the largest reasons for marriage failure.  Just like FT and her friend we have things that are more important to us (security, a desire to grow our family, etc.) than having a fashionable wardrobe and all the latest gadgets and so far it works for us!