Last week, we passed the one year anniversary of my husband's unemployment. No, we didn't celebrate!
We are surviving. One year ago, I didn't truly believe that we could be without a salary for this long, without serious consequences. What helped us make it this far on the resources we have is three-fold. Our whole family is involved in making this happen, not just my husband and myself.
1. Make life decisions based on our resources. Some would call this "voluntary simplicity". Maybe you'd call is "downsizing". Living a simpler life has made us more aware of all the "things" we don't need. I'm sure you've heard "less is more". Well, I can attest to the fact that it is, in fact, true! While these decisions guide spending, they also guide where we spend our time and effort, so that we can attain our goals. The next goal deals specifically with spending money:
2. Make deliberate choices on where (and where not) to spend money. The boys don't argue when we say something isn't in the budget. Having priorities certainly helps. Sure, we're not perfect, but overall being more aware of costs of bought versus things we can make for ourselves facilitates these choices. And speaking of doing things for ourselves....
3. Learn. By this I mean that if something needs to be done, we can probably do it ourselves. Whether it's cooking or home repairs, we've found that we can save significant money simply by learning to do things for ourselves. Now, we did a lot for ourselves before, but I can't say that we were able to quantify and see the benefits in the past. We are much more conscious of how making an effort to be more self sufficient has benefited us as a family.
Our lives are better, if somewhat different compared to a year ago. I'm not sure what the future holds. It's a little scary. But at the same time, I feel we have a better foundation to make tough choices, if it comes to that.