One of my friends told me her mantra, Keep It Simple Sweetie. How I love those words! So much we do is in excess. Overspend, overeat, overanalyzle. In the end, it leads to us being tired and of course, overstressed. I feel like we've adopted a similar approach, in the past six months. I just didn't have a name for it. Here are some of the things we've done:
-cut out extra spending. We ended our newspaper (get coupons through the coupon trains) and have reduced our grocery bill. On average, we're spending about $60 on groceries, about half in fresh produce. I've grown accustomed to brewing my own iced tea, ridding ourselves of diet soda at home. Its not to say we don't have our vices-I love chocolate and alcohol, but given how I keep a keen eye on the sales, I know we're getting a good deal and keep track of what we use, and how we use it. I keep a close eye on extra expenses-even necessary ones (like his v-which is completely covered by insurance, or E's specialist visit that's coming up). We're hitting up thrift store and yard sales, yet purging unneccessary and unused items. We've taken strides to live better on less, and the proof is evident as balances are hitting zero.
-we take advantage of free attractions. we have been hitting up the water parks in neighboring cities, as well as movie days, story times, and playgroups. We have our vices-we joined the aquarium, we paid for a parking pass to the city's main parks, but its a worthwhile expense that provides educational benefits for all. We use the library for books and movies, and hopefully will use the internet one day to get our tv (have to obtain a converter box or get a newer tv first)
-we have branched out away from home to explore our community, yet learning how to appreciate what we have at home. For example, The boys and I are attending a summer class this month, and its taking us out of our comfort zone. We're going to different places in the morning to beat the heat, and retreating to our pool in the afternoon to stay cool. We go out and are making new friends-evident by taking advantage of family groups, and learning how to try new things.
R and I taking this perspective to our marriage too. We take advantage of his days off. We're not as reluctant to leave all three kids with a sitter, and grabbing opportunities for nights out when we get the chance. Last night was like that when we went to Tahoe Joes and had free drinks and dinner, plus made money to pay the sitter. We'll take advantage of it again when my dad and his girlfriend come into town this month, perhaps staying away overnight, or at least doing a full day trip away from the boys. Along the way, we're both commited do what we can to provide for our family, and know we'll outdo whatever is thrown our way. I feel more secure about this as we face the next round of paycuts.
So KISS, its working for us. Unstressed, carefree, enjoying the summer with our friends and family. Less is definitely more these days!