Day 26

What’s your conception of the good life? Living your own version of the good life is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than the good life that’s touted in our consumer culture. The good life we’re advertised is filled with tons of brand new gorgeous stuff: perfectly positioned couches, impeccable interior paint colors, clean toddlers in matching dresses.

What about your own personal good life? What would that comprise? I bet the first thing you think of is either your family, or a vocation/lifestyle you find fulfilling, or both. I doubt the first thing that springs to mind is a brand new SUV or a handbag.

Mrs. Frugalwoods is no fool.  Uber Frugal Month is great at pointing out the plots of Uber Consumption.  All the pretty, nice things thrown at us to make our lives better – the good life – require one thing:  Maintenance.  Maintenance usually implies money (duh) or time (double duh).  My question is, how much time or money do you want to spend, and is either worth your while?

For me, I like my house to look nice.  I like to see my house attractive and inviting.  We clean and dust, and do not hire someone.  For me, that would be a good life addition as I appreciate it, but don’t like doing it – but I do like the effects afterward.  We have a gardener – economically it makes sense for us to pay someone to mow the lawn, as time and money saved hold much sway for us here, so that is our compromise between frugality and expenditure.

We also enjoy cooking and entertaining.  Our house is perfect for this – great kitchen, open areas, kitchen island.  This was one of the criteria we had for buying – a good kitchen.  As well as that, no need for improvement.  We got that.  What we really should have done, years ago, was to refurbish the back yard.  There are 18 trees we need to remove, and luckily, we have a very good bid on the matter, but right now it is tax season – state, federal, property.  So, that is something to wait to do and to fund.

For us, a good life means having what we need – which we do – and having what we want.  Not everything we want, but the ability to get it – and to make sure it is a want that adds to the quality of our lives, not to a pile of unused possessions.  Right now, we are shifting our lifestyle quite a bit, by being more conscientious of spending and saving, of paying down debt as a primary goal, and saving for this and that desire or need.

The good life for us requires thought and stepping away from immediacy and the little kid inside whining and crying “I want it, and I want it now!”  It means evaluating our needs, our goals, and how we can integrate our perception of what improves our lives with other responsibilities.  Self-control, self-discipline, and self-reflection all help attain the good life.