Monday, February 20, 2012

Voluntary Simplicity or Poverty?

In listening to someone else talking about her life, I discovered something about my own life: Money wouldn't change my direction at all.

I know when people first hear about my blog they must think that I really value money. I don't though. What I really value is time. Since I don't want to spend lots of hours away from my family working for someone else, I am motivated to save all the money that I can, thus giving me more time at home.

The way we Bushmans live our lives is a concept I've seen other people call voluntary simplicity. But what does that mean, exactly? And what is the difference between voluntary simplicity and just being poor? I've compiled a list of the things that I think make the difference between simple or frugal living and poverty.
  • Choice. I choose to live the way I do because I feel I am living out my values. I have a lot of formal education and could choose to take a job that pays a nice salary, so it is only choice that keeps my earnings low and my free time plentiful!
    • Being debt-free. Debt is slavery. It will keep you working for others when you could be working for yourself. Debt limits your choices and keeps you poor.
      • Being able to save money. Having a savings account is a huge relief. When something goes wrong, savings can eliminate the stress from the situation. Simple living allows for building a savings. Living in poverty does not.
        • Abundant free time. Working from home and homeschooling my kids allows me to be able to set my own schedule and be insanely flexible. All this free time makes me feel rich!
          • Living Simply. Personally, not having a bunch of stuff makes me happier. Really. Its less to clean and organize. Sometimes the people who are in the worst financial position are the ones with the most stuff. You know those people right? They don't pay their rent but they bought a new TV? Those people are poor, in my book.
          • Perception. My life just feels abundant to me. I have plenty of the things I value: time with family, community support, time to pursue my goals and dreams, etc.
            What does simply living mean to you? Do you think there is a difference between living simple and being poor? Do you consider yourself to be living simply?

              2 comments:

              1. To me, it means not trying to acquire a life that is beyond your means, or putting objects in front of people. I don't live that simple of a life, but I do have savings, very little debt compared to most middle class and have a sense of what truly matters. I feel I live a fairly simple life compared to how I could be living and those around me live. I always look for the best deals and have a lot of things that look expensive, but have been purchased at fractions of the cost and are not financed, but owned. I work at a job I believe in and that helps others opposed to jobs I could have that pay more but only benefit my pocket book. As does my wife. I help others when I can and never look for ways to step on people for personal gain. I try to show that you can have things and not let them own you. Not an easy task, but it can be done. Money, just another tool in the tool box of life. And when used wisely can be life's duct tape.

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