Living Simply Is Living Within Your Means

|by | Deep Thoughts, Simple Homemaking

living simply is living within your meansThere’s a cycle I’ve observed in the world.

In fact, I see it in my own life.

It goes like this:

Two individuals get married. They have two incomes, plenty of time and enthusiasm. They are excited about their careers. This allows them to have the nice things they want, so they purchase a home on the upper end of their budget, finance cars, get cable and iPhones and overall adjust to a comfortable, tasty, fashionable lifestyle.

Then kids start to come onto the scene.

Now time is more precious and careers seem less shiny. Yet this current lifestyle holds no flexibility. Father or mother may long to work less, but they must stuff this longing and work long hours to survive in the world they created.

Financial stress is now an unwanted but ever-present limitation and reality.

I have seen this in my own life lately. While I was able to quit my job upon becoming a mother (which was my hope), my husband and I now must do quite a bit of side work to make ends meet. Our busy seasons make life feel anything but simple.

In fact, they make me want to sell our house and buy one half its size and change our lifestyle completely.

But we don’t.

We are deeply entrenched in our lifestyle.

While there is much to be said for dedication and hard work, there’s also much to be said for valuing the things that truly matter with the way we live our lives.

As we know, we only get one life to live.

Every day and year of that equation is God-given and precious, meant to be lived abundantly, not under the weight of a lifestyle we can barely sustain.

–Not under a cloud of stress, or over-worked. Not with money calling the shots in our lives or ruling our thoughts.

So, while I don’t do this perfectly, what I’m suggesting to you is this:

Living simply means living well within our means. 

Living well within our means is purchasing a home and creating a lifestyle that leave a generous margin for saving and giving.

It is breaking the power that money holds over us so we can work less, stress less, and live more, be more.

We only get one life to live, and many times we miss the point of it.

In Luke 12:15 Jesus says,

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Do those who die surrounded by heaps of every fine thing and all money can buy, die the happiest?

Or is it the one who has loved well, kept faith, and found true contentment apart from the relentless pursuit of more?

I think it’s the latter. That’s who I want to be.

So lets move forward with this in mind, to stretch ourselves less and live more within our means, even when it means doing without  –to find contentment and be generous exactly where we are.

Where do you find yourself today? Do you enjoy the simple way of living solidly within your means? Or do you feel stretched?

8 Comments

8 Comments on Living Simply Is Living Within Your Means

  1. Stephanie
    October 20, 2016 at 1:02 AM (10 months ago)

    Hi,
    I came across your blog post as I was reading on simplifying. I totally get what you are writing. We are nearly all in the same situation, trying to keep up. We took the jump this summer and took the opportunity of an international move to downsize. We sold our house, cars, a good part of our furniture and belonging and move into a flat.. The flat we are in is about 2/3 of the surface we had in our house, but it does make a huge difference in costs and maintenance time. The only thing I would tend to miss is storage space, but that is because we still own too much “STUFF”. So we are working on this. Still selling/donating what is too much and it feels good. The whole process feels liberating 🙂
    I wish you well and thank you for writing this post.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      October 23, 2016 at 5:24 PM (10 months ago)

      I love that Stephanie! I also wish you well! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Luvs #WhatULuv Baby Party!My Profile

  2. Melissande
    December 16, 2015 at 2:13 AM (2 years ago)

    I have been thinking on this a lot lately as we just moved. I don’t tend to hold onto a lot of stuff. I prefer to donate, to purge, and to enjoy clean spaces. During the packing phase of our move we got rid of a lot of stuff my husband and I had for the span of our 13 year marriage and it was very freeing. Living in a new home with less furniture, less clutter, less of everything really I am finding myself somewhat tempted to decorate more, to liven up the space that I’m finding myself in. It’s such a good thing to remember that stuff is never going to bring contentment – like you said. 🙂

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      December 22, 2015 at 6:15 PM (2 years ago)

      That’s awesome Melissande. Such truth. Every time I pursue a worldly fix to my discontentment (aka, buying the thing I’m pining after), it always fails to fill the gap, because I soon find myself consumed with the next thing on my list. But, when the time is right, it’s also a blessing to enjoy beauty and make our homes a place of comfort. I know you’ll find the balance as you seek God! Bless you!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Christmas Meditations: What I’m Learning from MaryMy Profile

  3. Brittany
    December 15, 2015 at 10:31 AM (2 years ago)

    We have experienced this, too. Before our first baby, we had two jobs, a nice home, two cars, etc. After we had our son I still had to work because of the lifestyle we had created. We only had house debt, nothing else, but still had to pay the bills. We moved to Illinois last summer because my husband got a new job. With this new job, I was able to stay home, as long as we did things differently. We now have one car, a smaller home that isn’t pushing the budget, we eat out less, and pay closer attention to our food budget, etc. No, we don’t have everything we had before, but we are not unhappy or uncomfortable. I now have a chance to stay home with my kids and help Tyler more with his ministry.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      December 22, 2015 at 6:11 PM (2 years ago)

      That is SO cool Brittany!! I am happy for guys! We are in such a similar position to where you are now. We have to watch everything we spend and make many small sacrifices, but we are so glad we’re doing it this way! Bless you guys!
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Christmas Meditations: What I’m Learning from MaryMy Profile

  4. Diane
    December 15, 2015 at 9:26 AM (2 years ago)

    Katie, you hit the nail right on the head!!! We discovered this too only God worked it out :min our favor. We lost the home we were striving for and stressing over. It was the one of the best things that ever happened to us.
    Still, greed lingers and I feel like I have to help financially and so I do so by trying to operate a small crochet shop online. Lately though God is telling me enough is enough! So I’m letting that go too. I want to work hard and like to work hard but my efforts are misdirected. I need to be working hard teaching my children about the Lord as we are called to do. I need to be working hard to better manage my home that is often in chaos. I need to work hard at homeschooling my children. I need to work hard in my church. None of those things bring financial rewards but they do bring eternal rewards. I’m glad we got a wake-up call and God continues to grow us in this area.

    Reply
    • Katie Bennett
      December 22, 2015 at 6:06 PM (2 years ago)

      Diane, I love this so much. Thank you for sharing. There is wisdom here. For the past four years at Christmas I’ve thought, “next year is the year we’ll make the investment to put outside lights on our house.” And December after December we don’t seem to be able to eek it out. I know it’s silly, but this year I finally accepted that we don’t have lights on our house, and I chose to accept that we might never and that’ll be okay. That one decision has lead me to be content in so many other areas! Better a happy home than a perfect one! 🙂
      Katie Bennett recently posted…Christmas Meditations: What I’m Learning from MaryMy Profile

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