Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Ties

 I am really enjoying this quest to live more simply, focus on priorities, and give myself a break, but one part of my life that will never be simple is my relationships with my family and friends. Do you feel the same way? If you think about all of the people you know, you can probably list at least 10 feuds and rivalries that you are stuck in the middle of. There are epic family fights, girlfriends dating other friends' ex-boyfriends, those two people you can't invite to the same event, and the person that you are secretly really angry with but trying to keep it under wraps for the sake of general peace.

I kept trying to write more about this, but I really couldn't find a way to speak about it honestly without revealing too much about my some of my relationships.  The internet is forever and not at all the appropriate forum for that: my goal here is not to make things more complicated.  But I bet you have lots of these situations in your life too, so I don't need to provide examples!

Bottom line, some of the time I am getting from living more simply needs to be invested in my complicated relationships. For me, that means that sometimes I should travel a pretty long way to visit my parents and extended family, make the effort when I'm busy to check on someone who's having a tough time, and remember when I am in the middle of someone else's big feud that occasionally I cause problems too and need to be patient until things blow over. Think about how much the Keatons loved Alex, even though they were fairly appalled by his Republican proclivities. 

So KISS (keep it simple stupid), but not too simple, and go call your grandma!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Make it a Priority

The super-exciting thing going on in my life is that I am taking a trip to IRELAND in August!  This is something that I always wanted to do and I am so excited to be finally going!

Dublin: The Ha'PennyBridge over the River Liffey

 When I told some of my friends what I was planning, a lot of people said, "I would love to go somewhere like that, but I just can't afford it." Now, I understand that some of us are in our post-college tiny apartment eating ramen and driving a car held together with duct tape, while others are in that all my money and time goes to this little drooly person/people that appeared in my life about the time I lost my waist and ability to sleep past 7 on the weekends. But many people I know are about where I am- not wealthy, but making decent money and probably spending a lot of it on crap we don't really need. So this post is directed at you:

Remember when you were little, and your parents gave you an allowance? You would be all ready to spend every cent that day on candy or swirly pencils or comic books or whatever. Your parents would probably say, "You could spend it all on that today, or you could save it for a few weeks and get something really nice." Did you learn that lesson?

If you want to do something extravagant and expensive, you just have to make it a priority. About a year ago, I set up an extra savings account. Every time I worked overtime or got paid extra for working on a holiday, I stuck some or all of the money in the account. I also starting putting a fixed amount out of every paycheck into that account. The trick is to put the money aside as soon as you get paid- don't wait until the last day before your next payday because there won't be much left. If you take the money out first, you will somehow live without it (this concept was shamelessly stolen from a book called The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach).  After a while, you will have a decent pile of cash and probably fewer unwise purchases cluttering up your house.

Deciding that I want to take some expensive trips also means a few lifestyle decisions. For example, I am currently driving around in an 8-year old Huyndai with just under 100,000 miles. I could certainly afford a newer vehicle, but a car payment would limit my budget for travel. Obviously I will have to prioritize a new (or less used) car in the not too distant future, but I am putting it off as long as possible.

Extravagant travel may not be your big goal, but I bet there is something you want that you haven't done or bought because of cost. You can afford it, you just need a little time and dicipline to get there.

So good luck and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)!
If you liked this post, please leave a comment. If you loved it, tell your friends, or post it on Twitter or Facebook.

"Retweets are the sincerest form of flattery." Oscar Wilde