“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” –Elise Boulding
The theme of this week’s blog posts focused on advising future expats how to overhaul their finances so they can fund their move to the country of their dreams. I did not fail to notice that I kept straying from the topic of money to simplifying. It seems that Elise Boulding was influencing me all along, a likely side effect of living so close to a Quaker community! Both the concept of saving money (frugality) and simplifying life (not having things) are closely intertwined. The more you time you spend working to buy stuff, the less time you have to enjoy life’s experiences. The more stuff you have, the more complicated your life becomes. The more complicated your life, the more stuff you want. You will be like a hamster spinning the work-spend-work-spend wheel. A big house means more bills and more space to keep more stuff. Paring down on material possessions is a truly liberating experience. I highly recommend it even if you are not planning on moving abroad any time soon. Spend your money on experiences, not things.
Last week I went on a 3 hour hike with a group of Creativa international parents and then we had lunch at Choco Cafe, one of our favorite haunts. In my former life, I would have never been able to do something like this, especially on a weekday while my kids were in school. I would not trade this for the world. I do not care that I don’t have a car or a dishwasher. I don’t care that I only have 3 pairs of shoes.
I am so glad that we buckled down on our expenses five years ago to be able to have this incredible opportunity. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what my career will look like in 5 years. I don’t even know where we will be living. But that is OK. For now, I will write, run, live, and spend time with the ones I love.
“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.”
–Henry David Thoreau
- Ten Pieces of Inspiration #140 (thesimpledollar.com)