My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. We were heavily influenced by the short-lived “simple lifestyle” movement that shook the Christian world back in the late 70s. To this day, we feel guilty buying chocolate. And I still only own two pair of shoes.
Read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider. The man’s still around, still preaching! It’s a good book; probably a little dated, but the principles are the same. Christians are very materialistic, and they shouldn’t be.
We have tried to live a “simple lifestyle,” but we blew it because of two things: private school and ice skating.
We moved back to our hometown when our girls were small, and discovered that a deseg lawsuit monster had destroyed the public school system. Along with thousands of other families in our city, we were forced to put our daughters in private schools.
We do not regret the decision; our whole family loved their school, and I still do volunteer work there almost four years after my kids graduated.
But it cost almost $6,000/year per child. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of retirement savings.
So my advice–before you move ANYWHERE, make sure that the public schools are good and that there are no “monsters.” Talk to the regular people who live in that town or city, not to your smooth-talking realtor, and get the REAL FACTS about the schools.
I realize that many of you homeschool or send your children to parochial schools, and that’s great. But if you plan to use the public schools, make sure that they are truly useable. If they are not–MOVE somewhere else. You will save tens of thousands of dollars.
As for the ice skating–we don’t regret it. My daughters grew up on the ice, and they are still involved with the sport. My husband is a skater, too.
It’s an expensive sport. I was paying around $12,000 year for the girls to skate while they were doing singles skating.
I would highly recommend the sport of ice skating to any family though, with this suggestion for those of you who are trying to pinch pennies–LOOK FOR RINKS WITH VIABLE SYNCHRONIZED SKATING TEAMS! Do NOT take Learn To Skate classes at rinks that have no synchro teams and no plans to start them.
Synchronized skating is team skating, and it is a fraction of the cost of singles skating. If you are part of an elite team organization that travels all over the world (we were), it is STILL cheaper than singles skating.
We had to commute to be part of synchronized skating, and that commute cost a lot of money. It would probably not be feasible with today’s high gas prices.
To this day, the one regret we have over parenting is that we wish we would have moved to a suburb that has viable synchro teams (and good public schools!) Our city had neither while our daughters were growing up.
So the gist of my post is this: be willing to MOVE to find the goods and services you need. You will save much money in the long run.