Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Simplicity and spending less

Here it goes!  Another thing God has been teaching me these past few weeks is how to be a blessing to my husband.  Some of you may deal with other issues, mine is money.  I am an impulsive buyer.  Now the things I buy on impulse, may not cost much, however, many things not costing much add up!  So I have been asking God these past few weeks to bless the work of my hands!  Little did I know all that would be included in that prayer!  I will be sharing some ideas and giving you a little peek into my life in the coming posts!

In the past, I never really knew of any GOOD ways to spend less, it was just a way of thinking that I would try to find the best deals and most economical way to live.  Usually out of necessity not just for the fun of it!  From the worlds standards, we don't have much. 

We have a 4 bedroom house that is about 2000 square feet at best!  My kids all have their own beds, but own rooms, NOT!  One bedroom has 2 bunkbeds and 2 dressers, the girls room has a double bunkbed, 2 desks and a dresser (also lots of closet space!), and the 3rd kids room has a bunk bed, single bed, desk and a dresser.  Our room has a crib in it for now but that will soon change when we move the baby into the other boys room.  The kids don't have toys in their rooms.  We have very few toys (by choice)  unless they are lego's, lincoln logs or blocks and a rubbermaid with trucks, tractors and trains.  We have a walk-in-closet/toy room on the main floor where toys are kept and up above are shelves with our books and school stuff.  We prefer the kids to be together, so they don't play in their rooms unless they are having room time and then they can take a toy to their room and then bring it back when they are done.  That keeps messes at a mimimum too!  Our dining room has a table that sits 12-15 people and the piano is in there also, and the only other room we have besides the kitchen is our living/family room.  Inspite of what people think, this works just fine for us!  I have said at this stage in my life, I don't want any bigger of a home because little boys left alone is well, plainly put, just asking for trouble!  (I have 7 boys under 9 years old!)  So where we are, they are also, and that is how we like it!  My husband  always says to people when they ask how he can afford allllll those kids, "Well, we can afford them, just not 3 brand new cars, a huge house, big vacations and other extra's!"  Our kids also appreciate the simple things which now days is very hard to do!  An afternoon at grandma and grandpa's or pizza delivered to our home is a HUGE deal!  Going to the park is more fun than you can imagine!  They REALLY appreciate going to a hotel to swim and staying overnight once a year!  In that, we are hoping that we are teaching them that the things of this world will pass away but being together and building relationships is what is of true value! 

Christmas is another thing that we have always been very limited financially and for that I am truly grateful! I really mean that!  We have never used credit cards during the holidays because we knew we would regret it later!  So for all of our 11 kids combined, we never spend more than what we can afford.  Usually that means about $25 a piece for the bigger kids and about $15 for the little ones.  For them that is a big deal because we don't buy them gifts or toys during the year except for birthdays.  So getting gifts worth $25 is HUGE in their eyes!  Another great thing about simplicity!  The things we buy them are also things they will use!  Blankets, sleeping bags, and building toys are ALWAYS favorites that can be used all year through and you don't see them 2 days after Christmas laying around because they are bored with them already!  Wasted money in my eyes!    We also never buy them more than 3 gifts a piece!  We always said Jesus only got three, why should we get more than him?!  Santa is never acknowledged in our home either!  I never have believed in him as a child and I never wanted  my kids to believe in him either!  And they don't!  Guess what?  I don't even feel scarred by that!  :)  In fact:, I am grateful!  As far as extended family goes, we usually make something and a $15 gift to go with it. 

Birthdays are also celebrated in our home but not with material things.  They always get a meal of their choice and a gift of about $10. And if everyone complies, a day off of their serving chart because the others chip in to help!  That usuallly beats the gift part in their eyes!  :)  Daddy ALWAYS prays a blessing over them during evening bible time and dessert of their choice is always on the agenda too!  We have also started a tradition way back when our oldest turned one, that we would watch the movie of the day they were born.  It is so fun to watch how everyone has changed!  They always get a few laughs at mom's changing hair styles!  (And I thought I was so hip!)  HUH!  Fun, inexpensive way to enjoy each other!  We don't ever have birthday parties with friends.  Just never started that and don't regret it!  Now, they have enough "friends" in their own living room on a daily basis to make any birthday party goer jealous! :)  What we have done at times is let them pick a place they want a friend to go and take them with us.  Grandma and Grandpa's house is always a favorite.  They lives outside of town and have land to hike and run around on.  The girls always decorate their room and have a little slumber party the night of each of their birthdays.  Good memories!

This is just the beginning of some ways we save money through the year.  I will be sharing some practical daily and weekly ways to cut costs next week. 

How do you save money throughout the year?  Any simple ideas on birthdays and Christmas to make them special without all the material "stuff"? 

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