Posts tagged ‘Simple Living’

The cost of raising a child, aka “just give up now”

I just finished eating my lunch and I am still hungry!  I hate it when that happens!  Maybe this is proof that I should not try to eat anything other than my usual salad?  Hmmm.

For a snack this morning, I had a Fibre 1 bar.  Delicious!

For lunch, I had leftover frittata and some sliced veggies.

This looks really, really unappetizing

The summer squash was too bitter, so I stuck to the cucumber and red pepper slices

This lunch taught me that I need to eat more food than just this.  I need some carbs, gosh dang it!  So on my lunch break, I will be heading to my local bakery and salivating over the various baked goods.  I’ve had a tough morning dealing with some “special” people, so I feel like drowning my sorrows in carbs.  Oh, how I know this feeling well.  But I will try to choose something not too wild and unhealthy.  Maybe a whole wheat bagel?  That sounds pretty much like perfection at this point.

A friend linked me to this website earlier today:

Maybe this is also why I want to drown my sorrows in carbs? 🙂

I have definitely read many studies like this before about the immense cost of raising a child.  I’ve heard raising a kid can cost $500,000, or a even million dollars!  Basically, these reports make one think that having a child will rob you of all expendable income and I hope you like spaghetti-os because that is all you will be eating for the next 18 years.  Then these reports slap you across the face and steal your wallet!

Reports like this drive me mental.  First of all, 30% of this amount is for the cost of housing.  I would be living in the same house whether I have a child or not.  Secondly, I live in Canada.  Health care is covered.  Booyeah.  Thirdly, my kid is not going to have baby Nikes or wear Gap Kids outfits (even though they are incredibly cute) (Ok, well, maybe when they’re just on sale).  For young children especially, I am all about the used, the cheap, or nothing at all!  I was recently looking through the Sears catalogue and saw so many things that a baby just doesn’t need.  Plus, what else are grandparents for anyway?  Haha, just kidding, Mom and Dad.

(Or am I?)

Learning about frugality and voluntary simplicity is a great way to learn that you need about 8% of what society tells you what you need to be happy.  Advertisers and the media are especially merciless when it comes to parents.  What parent doesn’t want their kid to have the best stuff?  The opportunities to spend money on unnecessary objects are overwhelming.  It’s tough fighting back.  It’s one thing to make frugal decisions for yourself, but for your child?  Yikes!

My hope is that I’m able to raise little Beansy inexpensively and intelligently.  I’m sure there will be moments when I’m spending $48 on a plastic toy monster, but I hope there will be many more moments when we are just chilling in the park, sitting under a lilac tree, reading a library book together.

June 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm 8 comments

Voluntary Simplicity

Larabars, Larabars, Larabars.  So tasty, and yet so expensive.  Of course, I still buy them regardless!  I have yet to meet a Larabar I have not liked.  Today’s selection was apple pie.  How do they make the flavour so similar to that of pie?  It’s magical!

It’s funny.  A friend and I were talking on the weekend about our spending habits on food.  We balk at spending $5 for a loaf of top-quality bread, but I barely blink an eye when spending $4 on a latte!  The loaf of bread would easily last me a week, whereas the latte is such a temporary treat.  I need to get my priorities straight!  Well, at least a bit straighter 🙂

Today, for lunch, I combined two leftovers to make one dish!  Now that is what I call inventive.  Also:  frugal!  I hate to see food go to waste.  I really need to learn to make smaller quantities.

This dish is part bulgur, part California Summer Salad.  I figured it would make a perfectly balanced lunch.  You’ve got the carbs from the bulgur and the protein from the salad.  Bam!  Done.  It doesn’t get any easier than this (which was important since I assembled this way past my bedtime last night!).  I think I have 2 more servings of bulgur left.  It’s like a marathon of bulgur!

No meal is complete without a bite 3 bites of chocolate.


Today, I wanted to write a little bit about the voluntary simplicity/simple living movement.  Have you heard of it?  It’s the general belief/desire that in order to live the happiest life possible, we need to get rid of the extraneous stuff and just focus on the absolute necessities (with a few perks thrown in) that are required to sustain life.  People choose to live this way because of their environmental beliefs (they want to consume less), spiritual beliefs, or, if they are like me, they just love to have lots of time to do, uh, pretty much nothing.

Part of my desire to live as frugal a life as I can is that I want to spend the least amount of time working to make money.  Right now, I work full-time but my job is relatively low-stress (although it has its moments, let me tell you!).  I leave work not exhausted, but ready to continue my day by cooking a meal, reading a library book, and hanging out with Snugs and Boots!  I don’t want to leave work feeling down-trodden and overwhelmed.  If I did, I’m sure I’d be ordering take-out that evening and spending the rest of the night on the couch!

Source of picture

Another picture of a couch potato cat.  Classic!

I feel like a lot of people in the world today work too hard.  They also spend too much.  How many pairs of shoes does it take to be happy?  How big of a house?  What kind of a car?  I have read a lot on the subject and have done a lot of personal introspection (frugal pastime!) about it and, really, what I have discovered for myself is that I need very little.

In terms of material items, I need:

1. Somewhere decent to live

2. Enough clothes that don’t make me feel like an ugly frumpball (but don’t make me a fashionista, either)

3.  Good, healthy food.  Lots of it!  Luckily, we live in a society where only small percentages of our net income are spent on food.  Right now, I spend about 10%.

4.  Transit and a shared car so I can get around and see the world (mostly within the vicinity of Southern Ontario!).

5.  A trip, here and there.  I do like to travel a lot, but I am always trying to find ways to do this and save money (traveling with family, especially parents, is a huge help!).

6.  The Internet.  If I didn’t have it, I’d be writing this all down on a piece of paper, with nary a human to read it!  What fun is that?

7.  My library card.  Done and done!

I’m sure there are a few more things to include on this list, but that is the basic idea.  It’s almost revolutionary to realize how little we need to be truly happy.  It frees up so much income and you can focus on the stuff you really love to do!  So, as you can probably tell by this diatribe, I am a huge advocate of frugality and voluntary simplicity.  These principles allow us to work less (or at least just not at jobs we despise) and to focus on what truly matters in life.

Here are some books that have helped me along the way:

1.  Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

2.  The Simple Living Guide:  A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet Luhrs

3.  Choosing Simplicity:  Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World by Linda Breen Pierce

4.  Secrets of Simplicity by Mary Carlomagno

There are plenty more out there on the topic, but these have been the best resources for me.  The only one I own is Your Money or Your Life.  It really is revolutionary!  READ IT.  That is a demand!!! Ok, really just a very forceful ask 😉

June 8, 2010 at 11:50 am 2 comments

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What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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