Living With Less

In our book, Living With Less So Your Family Has More,  Mark and I share about the importance of doing what’s best for your family regardless of how your choices might be different than the rest of the world.

Our son-in-love Matt and daughter, Anne, told a funny story when they were here last Friday.  They have a new pastor at their church living with them temporarily in their home in Zion, IL.  His family is still in Nashville, TN, waiting for their home to sell. When he arrived, he asked them where their coffee pot was.  They don’t drink coffee so they told him they didn’t have one.  Then he opened his computer and asked about their network name and password.  Matt and Anne don’t have internet at home.  It’s a living with less choice for them.  They also don’t have cable television or satellite TV. Another living with less decision.

A few weeks later his family came to visit and stayed with Matt, Anne, and the kids. When his wife asked where the paper towels were, Anne explained that they don’t buy paper towels.  Anne keeps a stack of old cut up t-shirts under her sink that she uses in place of paper towels.  She just throws the dirty cloths in with her laundry and uses them again. One more living with less choice.

I laughed as they shared their story and how it seemed to throw this new family off. Some of Matt and Anne’s choices are counter-cultural. They definitely are non-traditional. However, they are choices that are right for their family and their budget.  They choose to live with less in order to experience the “more” of Anne being home with the kids most of the time (she works part-time as an administrative assistant at their church).

We’ve made many “living with less” decisions over the years. We’ve spent a season with one car. I wrote about that here.  We drive old cars…I wrote about that here. And we don’t buy napkins anymore, choosing to use cloth napkins I used to pull out only for special occasions. I wrote about that decision here.

What about you?  What living with less choices have you made that are counter-cultural or non-traditional? 

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15 Responses to Living With Less

  1. Kristin Lyngaas says:

    Hi there! Nice to read your blog! I can’t wait to buy this book. I have been wanting it for quite some time, and I know there are excellent tips in there. I am going to the Rochester event, and I will be sure to say hi. Thank you for all of your “wiseness”! See you soon-

    Sincerely,
    Kristin

  2. Kristina says:

    We are looking at ways to reduce our spending. We have 4 girls, 4 and under. I have cloth diapered all of them and the savings is over a thousand dollars! Also, almost their entire wardrobe is from garage sales and hand me downs, the only new clothes they get are from gifts or if I find deals on the clearance racks. I think I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have bought them a new outfit. Also, we have our oldest 3 share a room and am working on moving the youngest in there as well. We have a bunkbed (twin over a full) and the middle 2 share the bottom bunk. Our girls are learning to share and also that they don’t have to have new things. Almost all our furniture is second hand. Recently we cancelled cable tv to spend less money and also to spend more time as a family. Our cell phones are the old fashion (non-smart phones). We have made several choices that are a but counter-cultural, but we make them work and don’t even think about it until someone mentions it. 🙂

  3. Sylvia says:

    Everything adds up, that’s for sure. We’ve cut cable, stopped going out to eat, fired the housekeeper, decided to keep driving the car with 180k miles, scoured the pantry to make fun meals, cancelled the cable, invite friends over for dinner-POTLUCK, cancelled all subscriptions (even Wolf’s beloved morning paper)… and you know what happened? NOTHING. In fact, we’re tighter than ever before. Having less is a gift… at least in the Lange home.

  4. Jen says:

    Jill, we also do cloth napkins, and I would love to do your daughter’s idea for no more paper towels. When my kids were babies, I cloth diapered them, made all of their food, nursed them, made many clothes or bought at Goodwill stores (still do that). I use a combo of Lunapads and Instead SoftCup instead of disposable products, make my own cleaners from baking soda, vinegar, lemon peels, and essential oils. I am looking at making our own laundry soap soon also. I refuse to spend money on plastic silverware or plates, etc. I prefer to use my own. I am looking into getting rid of our insane plastic bag consumption by making re-usable sandwich bags from oilcloth (found the directions at joanne.com). My kids bring a lunch to school EVERY.SINGLE.DAY (having food allergies helps w/that), as well as reusable water bottles. The website http://www.reuseit.com has some incredible ideas and products! My fiance and I spent a full year with only his older truck, then bought my mom’s van to have enough room for the kids. Still, we mainly drive only one at a time, and ride to work together (it helps that we drive a school bus for the same company).
    This looks like ANOTHER great book of yours that I will have to look for! Thanks for being such a wonderful daily inspiration!
    ~ Jen

  5. Sandy Ralya says:

    Not only did I outfit my kids and hubby in garage sale clothing years ago, I still shop yard sales for my grandkids! If I find a really good sale with just-right-sizes (I keep a list in my purse), I hand them a business card and ask if they’ll call me the following year. They do!

  6. My mom is a living testimony of living with less! She also uses old clothes instead of paper towels. She rarely buys catsup because we use McDonald’s or KFC’s sachets. She cuts up toothpaste tube to get everything out of it before throwing it!

    I’m so glad I read this today.. It reminded me to be more prudent and be a good steward of God’s blessings..

  7. I do a lot of standard things like cloth diapering my baby most the time (we still use disposables some of the time), make things from scratch, use reusable water bottles. My husband actually uses an old Ocean Spray juice bottle for his Gatorade each day at work. We buy the powdered Gatorade and my husband only mixes it about 3/4 strength.

    We do still have internet and use paper towels. And Heaven forbid if I ever mention not drinking coffee. lol. Probably the biggest counter-culture thing for us is no Smart Phone, iPads, GPS systems, etc. None of those gadget type things that everyone seems to have. We have a laptop and never find a need for internet on the go so why get a smart phone? We have a map and often just mapquest before we leave the house. On those rare occasions where we really need it, my husband has a GPS for work we can use sometimes.

  8. Sunday Turner says:

    I too live with less, but so far cannot find the “more”. I dont have a TV, I only have internet so that I can buy less expensive items online, talk to family that is not close by, research and read. I have given up so much because my income is much, much less than it used to be, and I am all alone, just one income. I have sold everything I no longer use. I dont buy things just as a splurge anymore, and have learned to live with less. although at the time it helped, I am finding that I still need to downsize quite a bit to make ends meet. thinking of buying the book now just to learn about a few more things to cut back on. But I really dont miss the things I have let go from my life. Its not as hard as one would think, and the lines of communication are more open when there isnt a television taking up the attention from the other individuals. you can find more things to do with your family that is free, my children and I used to make up games, and laugh, and talk more, this really opened up things between my children and myself, and now they seem to tell me just about everything. cut it loose its worth it.

    • JillSavage says:

      Yes, Sunday, living with less isn’t easy, but it is valuable. And you’re right…it can strengthen communication and relationships!

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