“You really need to do something about this tiny bathroom. You should have Pat make you a bigger one and then sell this house and a get a better one so you can get a better car.”
Her words shocked me, but that’s been the way this particular friend of mine has been since the day I met her over a decade ago. She continued, “I can’t wait for next year to get my new car, and then I can finally get a bigger ring.”
Without fail, before I knew it, I no longer could look around my home with joy and peace. My 1979 home that my husband remodeled with his best friend eleven years ago – the home that has welcomed our new additions (children and the four-legged kind) – was no longer my happy place.
All I could see now was the watermark on the ceiling from when our roof leaked like it was its job. I couldn’t look at my tiny bathroom without getting annoyed that I didn’t have a bathroom I could play baseball in. I couldn’t take a bath in the only tub in our home without longing for the huge garden tub that I left behind when we moved from the rental to this house.
Even my wedding rings had me saying “man, I really wish these stood out more” and I couldn’t look at my small, mostly no-name brand wardrobe without feeling like I was missing out on something.
I couldn’t back out of my garage without getting annoyed at how ugly my car was and how the speakers sound like a garbled mess.
Everywhere I looked, I grew more and more discontent.
However, the truth is, the key to finding contentment is looking at the thing(s) bringing the discontent and actively choosing to be grateful for them. We sacrificed a ton in order to pay off our house. We’ve sacrificed even more so I can continue to stay home with my kids and homeschool them. That ugly car with the speakers that are about to go? It keeps me home in order to homeschool my kids. There’s no way we could afford for me to stay home and teach them with a $600 + a month car payment.
Not everyone understands our choices to become debt-free. Living a real life on a budget has been at times the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do, but I honestly wouldn’t trade the peace this life has given my family for anything.
Therefore, today, I want to offer up encouragement for any of you that may be feeling the pain of discontentment (whether you’re aware of it or not). You know what your goals are and you know how you can get there so don’t allow others who don’t understand your choices to dictate how you manage your money.
I know times are hard right now. I know that inflation is hitting your wallet hard. You’re not alone. There’s not a quick fix here and that can be hard to deal with. However, I do believe there are things we can do to help us manage the stress we find ourselves under. Inflation feels like it’s suffocating us but we can still LIVE. It may look different than it has in the past but we can live amongst the chaos, the unknown, and the hard. Here are a few ways to continue to live a good life even with high inflation:
1. Enjoy the Simple Things
Go outside. Go for a walk. Read a book. Swim in a creek. Seriously, go and enjoy something that doesn’t require a lot of effort. Sit on your porch or the stoop of your apartment building with a cup of coffee in the morning. Bake some bread. Paint. Sing. Don’t overthink this. Just think about what simple pleasures you enjoy and make a point to do more of them TODAY. You’ll be surprised by the kind of stress reliever this is.
2. Enjoy Simple Meals
Don’t over-plan your meals. Repurpose those leftovers. This not only helps you not waste money on food but allows you the freedom from decision fatigue. Your meals don’t have to be elaborate or crazy. Write down a few basic meals and keep them in the rotation. Sheet pan nachos. Make your own taco night. Kabobs. Spaghetti and meatballs. Keep it simple right now.
3. Find Community and Engage
This doesn’t have to cost money. Join a neighborhood book club. Head to your library and check out the free events they have going on. Find a free workout group like FiA and show up. Join a local church and say hi to the mom in the pew behind you wrestling three kids. She needs community too. Seriously, get offline and engage with a community in person. Your heart and soul need it.
4. Deep clean it
I know it sounds weird but what is something that is making you discontent or unhappy right now. Do you hate your car? What about that kitchen that desperately needs to be remodeled? I challenge you to go and give whatever it is that’s making you feel discontent a good deep clean. I promise you, you will be shocked at how much better you feel about that item/place/object when you use a little elbow grease to clean it. Another fantastic way to feel better about your home is to rearrange the room that’s making you feel bad. While rearranging declutter it and give it a deep clean. You’ll be surprised at the mood lifter!
5. Get Outside – Everyday
A very wise older woman once told me in the grocery store when I was wrangling my three-year-old and not quite two-year-old while hugely pregnant with my third child to “get outside every day with them. Even in bad weather. Sit on the porch. Go for a walk. It’ll do wonders for you, mama.”
And she was right. And she’s still right. Getting outside every.single.day is so vital to your life. You need the fresh air – the kind that doesn’t first run through a filter. You need to see the clouds. Hear the birds chirp or the low rumble of a summer storm in the distant. You need to be outside every day. Yes, I know that summer is hot (hey, I live in Georgia after all – I know!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your morning coffee on the porch before the sun comes up. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on an evening walk with your family after the sun has fallen. That doesn’t mean you can’t take your kids to go play at a local splash pad.
You’ll be amazed at how much better everyone in your family feels after getting outside even if it’s only 30 minutes.
I know some of this stuff sounds silly in the light of our current economic struggles but I promise you if you start doing them you will find joy in your life. You begin to truly live even while trying to navigate inflation and rising grocery costs. You can still live a life worth living because trust me, friend, your life is beautiful and worth living to the fullest.
OTHER POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY
JOIN THE CHALLENGE!
Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
Join the 5-Day Challenge today and start getting your money life in order this week!