Vision reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be. Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own.- Robert Collier
Less is really more
There are three areas of our life that we can intentionally downsize:
- Less money
- Less stress
- Fewer activities.
This means we will have less money, less insurance that we can afford, less money to invest for the future, fewer promotions, fewer opportunities and activities.
But we will have more availability, more peace, patience, kindness, joy, better health, organisation, more energy and intentionality in parenting and marriage, more attentiveness, time, more space in our lives.
Eating together, playing with your kids every day, having a date with your spouse regularly, praying daily, exercising regularly, having hobbies, activities, friendship and volunteering in the community/temple becomes more possible.
Counter cultural mindset: it is an out of the world experience
Five steps to develop a counter cultural mindset are as follows:
- Step 1: Reading a portion of your holy book every day for 15 minutes.
- Step 2: Listening to what God has to say through nudges, through other people, through His Word
- Step 3: Share/pray/trust with each other- your family and a small group of like minded friends
- Step 4: Asking God to remove envy, jealousy and covetousness, being aware of these when they arise and letting them pass and surrendering them to God.
- Step 5: Not compromising on your principles
Contentment: living with less and liking it
The opposite of poverty is enough, not wealth.
Even though most of us have enough, we struggle to be content, because-
- We are enticed by advertising and ending up wanting things we don’t need.
- We get introduced to something better, and then, although what we have is good enough, it does not feel that way anymore.
- We get caught in the comparison trap- comparing ourselves to others and wanting what they have
Five ways to conquer comparisons are:
- Develop a thankful attitude
- Establish a reasonable standard of living by living within your means and having a budget
- Learn to discern between wants and needs
- Recognise that appearances are not necessarily accurate: those who have lots of things may well be in debt
- Ask for God’s help to remove envy, jealousy and covetousness
Eight principles to develop contentment are as follows:
- Understand that this life and hence the things of this earth are temporary
- Remember that all things belong to God and we are just stewards
- Give a portion of your income to God
- Constantly praise and thank God
- Be grateful for the things you have
- Live within your means; establish guidelines for what you realistically can and cannot afford.
- Accept your circumstances, no matter what, and ask God to help you grow through that.
- Accept differences and let them strengthen rather than tear you apart.
The fruits of contentment are happiness, gratitude, conscientiousness and freedom
Sacrifice: forfeit to win
Sacrifices can be constructive or destructive.
- Entertainment/recreational activities
- Relationship with God
- Identity – define yourself upon how God sees you( a soul), not anything else
Simplicity-sometimes less really is more
Examining our heart and keeping it fully focused on God is what inner simplicity is all about.
Three inner attitudes that are essential for inner simplicity:
- We have to view what we have as a gift from God.
- We must understand that it is God’s job to take care of what we have.
- We must be generous with everything-money, things and time.
Ten controlling principles for outward simplicity:
- Buy things for their usefulness and not for their status
- Reject anything that is addictive to you
- Get in the habit of giving things away
- Refuse to believe that you need the newest and best
- Learn to enjoy things without owning them
- Develop a deeper appreciation for creation
- Be skeptical of buy now, pay later schemes- debt puts us in bondage
- Speak plainly and honestly and sincerely
- Reject anything that oppresses others
- Turn away from anything that distracts you from seeking the kingdom of God first.
Frugality: living with more time and less money
Eight thrifty thoughts
- Appreciate: Most things when bought initially give you a high and then it disappears. This is because we have forgotten to appreciate things.
- Research: Take time to research your purchases. Comparison shop, ask friends and family about past purchases, use the internet, ask the receiver if you are buying something for them, consider 2nd hand items., shop around, resist rushing big ticket purchases
- Organise: Organise lists, ads, coupons so that you can save money.
- Swap: Swap a thing you have with what another person has and you need.
- Question: Before a purchase, ask: Do we really need this? Is there any other option for us? Especially for toys.
- Manage: Manage your stuff, so that you know what you have and where you have it
- Give it away
- Give everything a home
- Don’t watch commercials on television
- Don’t go to the mall or a store without a purpose in mind
- Don’t look at catalogs unless you need something specific
- Don’t buy anything unless you’ve decided in advance where it will live in your home.
- Resist bringing things home just because they are free. Clutter is costly.
- Stop the junk mail.
- Redefine: Rather than assuming you need something, look to see whether there is a cheaper option.
- Generate: Generate creative simple cheap ideas for doing things. http://www.funattic.com/game_list.
Faith: ordinary people trusting in an extraordinary God
Remember that God is in control and will help in many ways.
Five faith principles
- Fully obey
- Accept God’s invitation
- Internalize a childlike faith
- Take the step
- Hold steady
Community: you can’t do this alone
Community means the following:
- The neighbourhood
- The church/temple
- Support groups
- Online groups
All of these can be helpful in your journey.
Finances: budget is not a bad word and cash really is in vogue
Track spending, plan how you will spend every dollar and paying off debt are important preparation for managing money.
Listen to each other as you make a plan for managing your money.
Once you have made the plan, you have to adjust your life to it.
Navigate the plan by: going through your plan each week, using cash, envelope system, online paying and dividing money management responsibilities, and recalculating your spending plan each year.
- Emergency fund, savings, insurance and investments.
- Pantry scan, meal plan, shopping list, coupons and price matching
- Buying generics
- Shop the perimeter, shop high and low, eat first, purchase sale items in bulk, shop alone, watch for marketing schemes, shop less often, do meal prep when you come back home.
- Simplify your clothing
- Include the whole family to keep expenses affordable
- See where you can cut costs
- Do home decorating by yourself
- Check out clearances aisles
- Think about how you can cut n transportation costs
- Vacationing on a budget
- Gift giving on a budget
- College education plans
- Make money doing what you love: research, market, record, prioritize, evaluate
notes from the book ‘Living with less so that your family can have more’