Monday, June 11, 2012

"Living Like The Impoverished"?!! LOLOL

Hello from the land of newborn cuddles and all-night feedings! Yes, I haven't blogged in FOREVER, but with the introduction of our newest bundle into this crazy family, the blog had to be put aside for awhile.  I was planning to gradually wade back into it since I have mentally composed countless entries during those 3 a.m. feedings, but after coming across the following tidbit, I decided to rush back into the blogging world full tilt.

Here is what has motivated me to pick up my virtual pen again. One of the local homeschool groups has a yahoo board for communicating among the local HS community.   The following text is the post that graced my inbox last night:

Our family is tossing around the idea that for the entire upcoming school year we will live as if we are impoverished. Exactly what that that means we haven't nailed down, but some examples might be:

1. Purchase only what is absolutely necessary

2. Purchase used clothing
3. Turn off our cable, maybe even the TV.
4. No cell phones for a year, only the land line
5. Ride bikes whenever possible

It would be great for other families to join us. Perhaps spend the year learning about other impoverished countries and cultures.

Maybe a weekly/bi-weekly get together. Sort of a support group.

Then, as a reward, at least for us, we are going to go to Europe for two weeks.

What in the world??  This person really thinks those 5 bullet points are impoverishment?! 

Okay, in an effort to maintain the positive attitude that I want this blog to exude, let me just tackle two of the many (I feel)  misguided items in this entry.  First off, I am going to re-paste the bullet list below with a comparison of our current lifestyle after each item.

1. Purchase only what is absolutely necessary  (That's what we do for the most part-especially when we have a specific savings goal in mind, i.e. paying off debt, saving to buy a house, retire, etc.)
2. Purchase used clothing (YES! The mark-up for new clothing is between 40-700%!  We buy used or heavily discounted.)
3. Turn off our cable, maybe even the TV.  (We have Netflix and Hulu for the Fall/Winter, but turn if off for Spring/Summer.)
4. No cell phones for a year, only the land line (Well, we do have pre-paid cell phones for those twice a week calls...)
5. Ride bikes whenever possible (Okay, you got me there. We live up the side of a mountain next to a busy highway, so we have opted not to send our kids careening downhill into traffic.)

Now I am not sure what the benchmark is for impoverishment according to these criteria, but since we pretty much qualify for 4 out of 5, I'm assuming this woman would consider us to be so -along with the majority of one-income homeschooling families for that matter!  

At one point in our life, I would agree that we were poor. We were so indebted and underwater financially, that we were seriously struggling. We were slaves to many lenders.  Thankfully, we are now free of those chains by choosing to live with such restrictions as listed above. The ironic thing is, that while we could now easily afford to go back to a more luxurious standard of living, we have chosen to keep our modest ways.  We have seen the numerous benefits of restraining our purchases, buying/receiving used goods, spending our time away from the TV screen, and not being assaulted by a constant barrage of phone beeps and rings. And yes, when we can, we like to load up the bikes, head to a bike path or side road, and pedal our hearts out.

Item #2:  "Then, as a reward, at least for us, we are going to go to Europe for two weeks."
This seems so wrong in so many ways! First off, does the family behind this post really see these changes as true impoverishment? Are they so out of touch with what real poverty looks like that they feel they deserve an exotic vacation as a reward for their self-imposed martyrdom? It's no wonder, then, that many peoples in the world view Americans as jaded, greedy pigs.

Since I firmly believe that how a person spends their money is simply a matter of what their financial priorities are, I can understand that a person's impression of wealth/poverty stems from a personal perspective. That being said, here is my own list of what words I would substitute for the word "impoverishment" based on my family's experiences and beliefs:

"Living within one's means"
"Living on a budget"
"Living simply"
"Being a wise steward" (Luke 12: 42)
"Not being a slave to a lender" (Proverbs 22:7)
"Being faithful with little to earn responsibility over more" (Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:23)
"Storing up treasure in Heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21)
"Freeing ourselves from the strongholds of materialism" (Mark 10: 17-27)
Rather than feeling impoverished and trapped, we are much more free and flexible than we ever were before. In fact, I would highly encourage this family to take on their project! I have a feeling they would benefit in many more ways than simply a trip to the Eurozone when it was over.

Blessings to you and your homestead,
Hillary At Home


1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Some WILL have to cut back and do without perceived needs only to find out they were wants. As a very rich nation we as middle class so often can't or won't differentiate between the two. It is a struggle that has gone on in this home with ups and downs. Now with our 1 income dwindling because of forced pay cuts and rising cost the wants are becoming much more clear. That is not to say that we feel impoverished in anyway, just a little more prudent with what the Lord is providing.
    Welcome back, and looking forward to new posts.