I used to brag to some of my colleagues, sorry pero fabulosa ako, eh. This was a retort to someone who obviously wanted me to hear that I ask for too much when I can just have the simpler things.
Obviously, I was not ready to accept a minimalistic lifestyle back then. While my family may not appear to be grand, we realized lately that we have a lot of excesses – things that are there and that we pay for but do not give us much value in return. We buy DVDs almost every week, we dine out, there’s air conditioning, we have cable TV (which, thank God, is packaged with our Internet), etc.
Add to this our car. Now, this I’d want to discuss in detail.
What we have at the moment is a semi-luxury car. It gobbles up gasoline like a person would eat a plateful of food when he’s been starved for a week (okay that’s not a pretty sight but you do get the picture).
What use do we have for this vehicle? Again, another assessment took place. We realized that we only use it for grocery shopping, like literally. The jobs that my husband and I have, at the moment, are all online, my kids are homeschooled, and I, too, am taking up my course online. Yet this car easily gobbles up one-fifth of our monthly income.
And so, we did the math – fuel inefficiency plus a hefty payment equals…c’mon, why are we even paying for this?
Then we thought of our road trips. Oh, we just love going on road trips. Our family believes that we also need to create awesome memories. Which is why we did more math here.
If we’ve been paying “this much” for a single car then we pay for gas and toll fees, what if we just convert these monies to our vacation fund (the kids and the hubby loved this idea)? Our computations showed that we’d be saving much, much more when we’d do public transport and backpack.
That’s one option and the other is to buy a vehicle that’s cheaper and super fuel efficient (oh, you won’t believe the list of cars that can run double or almost triple the km/L of our current car!). This idea I liked better.
Cherie Lowe, author of the bestseller Slaying the Debt Dragon said, and I quote here, “To have more desire less”. This simple statement drove our family to reassess – what are our needs? And what are mere wants?
I wouldn’t say that this new lifestyle is a rosy road. In fact, starting it was like ripping off a Band-aid from one’s hairy legs (again, that’s not a pretty picture but you do get the point). Just thinking about the luxuries that I needed to give up made me uneasy and queasy.
But, back to basics – what are the things that man cannot live without? There’s food, water, shelter, and clothing. We’ve been taught that these are basic human necessities. Our family ticked all four, we have them, thank God.
Our family also needs the Internet. Why? We do everything through it – our jobs, schooling, and communication to the outside world. Okay, we also have that so that’s another check.
The rest of our stuff, well, they’re just there to frazzle us.
Our family is serious in trying to achieve zero loans, ample emergency fund, sufficient retirement money, paying for our vacations in cash, and investments for the kids, too. We are excited to share our journeys here. Yet we know that we can only do all these if we learn to prioritize.
I guess what our family desires now is to have more in terms of savings and financial security than luxury and porma (a Filipino colloquial term that means looking great in the eyes of other people).
If I may just rephrase Slaying the Debt Dragon’s Cherie Lowe’s statement – To have more, desire differently.
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