Little did I know the effect that it would have on me. I began to compare the cost. I found that it cost at least 3 times as much to eat the same meal at a restaurant. So any time I would think about eating out, I would think long and hard about how much effort it really took to cook the meal myself. Most of the time, I chose to cook it and save the money. Instead of feeling disenfranchised, I felt empowered. I was in control of where we spent our money, not the marketing department of some restaurant.
I began to think about how I spent our money in other areas. I have always shopped at yard sales and thrift stores, but still would feel the need to buy new clothes for my kids. I decided to check at thrift stores when my kids needed clothes and if I still couldn't find it, then I could buy it new. I found a thrift store that sells kids clothes for 25 cents and started going about once a week. Now I rarely buy new clothes for my kids. Also, I found that if I didn't rush out and buy the needed item, many times a friend would just so happen to give me a bag of clothes that had just what we needed.
When I needed an item for the house, I slowed down and thought about where I could get it used. For instance, our vacuum cleaner broke and I decided not to go to the nearest store and buy a new one. I prayed that God would guide me to the vacuum cleaner that we needed. Just about the time I broke open the bank to buy a new one, I found an old one on the side of the road. All it needed was a belt and a new bag and it is a great vacuum. I don't know how long it will last, because it seems to be over 30 years old, but I am enjoying it right now. I recently saw an add for a good vacuum at Big Lots and I said to myself, " I am in control of where that $250 goes and not the marketing department of Big Lots."
We also decided to not spend money for family time, besides food and gas money. This was harder to do. What do you do if you don't go to theme parks, don't go out to eat, don't go shopping, don't go to movies, don't play putt putt golf, don't go bowling, don't slot car race, and don't get your hair or nails done. Well, we spent some time sort of in withdrawals. But after spending some time not doing much of anything, we began to come up with ideas that we found fun and I realized that the other things were not as much fun as we thought they were. And if we do get a chance to do them, now they are much more appreciated. Since our lives are not so cluttered with activities that our culture tells us is fun, we have a clearer vision of what is truly enjoyable for our family and individually.
Now that our lives are simpler, I feel more in control of how we spend our time and money. My life is full of the things we have chosen and we are enjoying a richer life.