Doing Without

How a frugal lifestyle can reap more family time.


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Three weeks ago the transmission went out in our van. The van is our primary family vehicle and a new transmission isn’t in the budget right now. Putting the cost of the $4,000 repair on a credit card isn’t an acceptable option in our eyes. We do have an emergency fund, but we’re not even considering this an emergency. 
 
We’ve decided to simply do without…at least until we have the money to pay for the repair. 
 
We honestly need two cars. We’re a busy family with a 13-year-old and 15-year-old still at home. Doing without our favorite vehicle is a sacrifice for all of us because our only other vehicle is an extended cab two-door pick-up truck. However, we’re not willing to go in debt or empty our emergency fund to make this repair happen. We’ve chosen the less traveled path…simply doing without.
 
Mark and I have been committed to the “living with less” lifestyle for 23 of our 27 years of marriage. The less we’ve chosen sometimes has to do with money, sometimes time, and sometimes activities. At times we’ve lived with less by choice and at other times we’d had to live with less for economic reasons. Regardless of the reason why, it is rarely an easy decision to carry out. Many living with less decisions are inconvenient, frustrating, and downright annoying. But we’ve found there’s another side to these counter-cultural decisions. 
 
Choosing to live with less is incredibly freeing. Little to no debt. Less to manage. Fewer bills. More family time. 
 
For now, Mark and I are carpooling on trips around town where we’d usually drive separately. We’re enjoying the time together in the car instead of driving around town alone. We’re being strategic about errands. We’re getting accustomed to using our time waiting for each other to return phone calls or read the newspaper. And we’re enjoying conversations with our boys on family trips where we’re now in closer quarters while traveling than we usually are. 
 
It’s a pain to be without the van…but we’re finding that even in this inconvenient less, there’s more to be found!

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Tags: Family,Goals
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