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Posted on May 20, 2012

Voluntary Frugality

Voluntary Frugality

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It is the dream of many a family to travel the world. It was our dream for a long, long time. We are always asked how we can afford to live as a nomadic family. People assume that we are rich; therefore, we can, but they can’t. Well, we’re not rich. We never have been. We simply made choices that kept our goal constantly in mind. We learned the difference between needs and wants, and chose ‘voluntary frugality’. This entry describes some of the frugality choices and mentality that we developed that allowed for this nomadic family dream to become a reality.

 

Housing

We live in small peripheral town in northern Israel which has saved us thousands in taxes each month.We bought a very modest apartment with a low mortgage. We could have gone for a larger home with overbearing costs to pay the bank each month, to heat and cool, clean and maintain. But, no, we chose something more quaint, cost-efficient, and with an amazing garden on the side of a mountain overlooking Kiryat Shemona, Israel.

 

Transportation

We have been using the same practical gas-efficient car for the past seven years and have no intention of renewing it. Though it was inconvenient at times, we sold the second family car and got by using taxis and the help of friends.

 

Reeducating Ourselves

We read lots of books about simplicity, leading a more wholesome life, and not believing media marketing and the constant need to consume and purchase to be happy. We learned the delicate difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. We retaught ourselves that ‘more’ doesn’t mean ‘better’, that just because we worked hard does not mean we now ‘deserve to buy’.

 

We learned that we can be very, very happy without spoiling ourselves with all of ‘life’s little pleasures’. We stayed at home more, ate more at home and participated almost exclusively in free or low-price simple pleasures like events and fairs, trips in nature,and time with friends.

 

Reeducating Our Children

We did not live in poverty and never gave our children a sense of lacking. We simply, and with pride, explained to our children that “our family chooses to put our money into this”. We taught our children that every family receives a set amount of money and has to decide where to put their resources. We, sometimes painfully, taught them about our views against spontaneous purchases, delaying immediate gratification, and learning how to save up for what is important to us.

 

This simplicity mindset with our goals very clearly in mind has allowed this simple family to afford a once-in-a-lifetime dream, and to become a nomadic family!  We are living our family adventure!

 

Saving For A Dream

 

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Will it work for everyone? No. Should it? Absolutely not. But if you are dreaming of becoming a nomadic family, dreaming of traveling the world, or dreaming of having enough money set aside so that you can have peace of mind; we’ve written a little book called Saving For A DreamIn it we share, in detail, exactly what we did to save enough money to pay off our student loans, pay off the house mortgage, and save for world travel in four years.

 

And again, we were never making outrageously high salaries. We just made outrageously focused decisions that allowed our dreams to come true.

Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. I agree with you whole-heartedly!! It’s about changing your outlook, finding what really matters to you and your family as a whole! Awesome article!

    • Natoyah, wow. thank you dear. changing your outlook is not so simple. it sounds really nice and neat, but it’s ridiculously tough when everyone around you is buying/spending on all the things that glisten in your eyes too. thank you for the love. you’re doing it too my dear.

  2. If I could just convince the kids that maybe a backpack would be a better present than more Skylanders! Totally agree, we’ve pretty much always lived like that, it’s about priorities, everybody’s are different, ours has always been travel so I’ve gone without the fancy clothes and shoes, who needs ’em?

    • i’m totally with you alyson. totally. our way is not better than anyone else’s. it’s just want works for us. our priorities. our kids still want stuff and we juggle/struggle with it still. i want stuff too. stuff is fun. but, i love it now that whatever stuff you have, you have to carry IN YOUR OWN BACKPACK so now, volume and weight play a role in decisions too. I love that. i love my kids to death but i just don’t ask them. you want it cuz its important to you- go buy it yourself. in fact, they want an iphone which i will not purchase for them, so now for almost a month now they have been selling playdough (hand-made flour,water, salt, and paint they learned in art class here by a fellow backpacker) dragons. they sell them for a dollar after my clean your soul class to the backpackers there. last week, they made $12, tomorrow they have an order of $5 to fulfill. so, entrepreneurship is coming out of this deal too. love it, love it, love it. thanks for taking the time and care to comment. your thoughts and words inspire me to keep sharing and traveling. (and thanks for commenting on dahnya’s first post. she is really excited by the responses. you are very kind.) gabi

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