What Motivates Our Frugality?

So, you live, you learn, right? Well, I’m learning that blogging from Belize is tough. To say that the internet isn’t stellar here would be an understatement. But we’re having a blast and I’m going to do my best to get out as much content as I can. Follow me on Facebook if you want quicker updates on our current adventures.

While enjoying our first few days in Belize, I’ve spent a bit of time reflecting on our frugality and what motivates that frugality. Seeing a country of happy people living with so much less than we have and appreciating it, I realize that we’re really not that frugal.

I mean, by the time this trip is over, I’m going to guess we will have spent around $3,000 on a 5 day trip. This is not frugal. Not even close. But I’m sure that there are those around us at home that think we’re pretty strange given that we have a different perspective than many on buying material items.

iPhones or iWatches, no thanks. A new car every 3-4-5 years? Nah… Why would we need anything new when our cars work perfectly fine? Even the one at 185,000 miles is going strong and we haven’t had a car payment in years. Clothes? Well, you’ve already heard how we inherit awesome clothes for the kids. And for us? We have the staples and if one of those is too worn for wear, we’ll replace it. Granted, we are not into the latest fashion trends and I’ll go so far as to say that I’m in need of a wardrobe overhaul, but I just can’t justify that when I have nobody I’m trying to impress. I guess being married for 8 years and now working from home does that to you.

But we could have all of those things and more if they were important enough to us. I left my good paying job a year and a half ago because I wanted to put my son on the bus and get him off of it each day. I had worked long hours during his younger years and I just wanted to be there for him (and my daughter when she goes) as he makes his way through school. School’s tough for youngsters both academically and socially and I didn’t want to be too busy or too tired to help them with that.

So, we now have significantly less income than we once did. But I’m happier than ever with my decision to leave and I think my kids are too. Our priority now is to spend as much time together as a family doing amazing things together.

There are so many reasons why spending money on experiences (as opposed to things) has long been a priority of mine. But losing my mom at the young age of 61 a few years ago only reinforced this priority. The loss still feels fresh and it has motivated me to make sure I am there for my kids as much as she was there for me.

My mom didn’t follow the traditional path and work in her chosen career until her sixties. She did still work as a beverage cart driver on a golf course, but that wasn’t so much work as it was a way to get outside and be social and make a little spending money. I always thought that was strange, but in retrospect, I am so glad that she chose the path that made her happy, not that made her a lot of money.

We don’t get to choose how much time we have with the ones we love. But we do get to choose how we spend each day with them. Nothing has reinforced that more than the loss of my mom. So I choose to use our spending money on experiences rather than the newest this or that.

I hope that our family gets a lot more time together than I did with her, but when our time is through, I believe I’ll be glad that I made a similar choice that she did. We’re choosing time together rather than buying things together. In this light, I can’t think of anything I’d rather spend $3,000 on than a 5 day trip to Belize with the three people I love the most.

 

**Sorry no image today! Internet in Belize…

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