So Much Better Off With Less Money

We went to a retirement party on Friday evening. It was for a man my husband and I both worked with back in our bad old corporate days. Being back at that office revived a lot of memories for both of us. Some good (like meeting each other) but mostly bad (like 13 hour days, intense pressure from clients and corporate management, a long commute…) We were struck by the contrast between our lives then and our life now. My husband quit that job in 2002, and I left in 2003. The next few years were very difficult financially. Some months we barely made enough money to pay the mortgage, and everything else went on the credit card. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, and I’m glad that we’ve gotten ourselves back on reasonably solid ground as far as money goes, and that our business is doing well. But I’d do it all over again rather than still be working at my corporate job.

We got caught up on the last five years of office news – who quit, who got promoted, etc. There were a few colleagues I worked with as a manager who have been promoted several times since I left. I have no doubt that had I stayed, I would be earning a lot more money than I am today. But being at the office literally gave me shivers, and there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. The freedom, flexibility, and overall happiness that we have is worth more than any salary I could be making at my old job. We get to snuggle with our baby in the mornings instead of jumping out of bed before dawn to be at the office by 7. We get to eat lunch together and have our baby with us during the day. We have dinner together, and go for a bike ride or walk as a family afterwards. We aren’t rich money wise, but we have enough to pay our mortgage and our day to day expenses and save for the future at the same time.

We drive old cars. We wear second hand clothes. We use homemade cloth diapers. We watch movies once they come out on DVD and we can borrow them from the library. We go for bike rides for entertainment. We go out to eat about once a month, sometimes less than that. We look for creative ways to save money, and it works. We’re able to live very well on less money than either one of us would be making if we had stayed at our corporate job. And we can’t even begin to describe how much happier we are with the life we have now. Simplifying and cutting back on expenses in order to be able to work for ourselves has paid off in so many ways. And I definitely wouldn’t trade my current life for the fat paycheck at the corporate job. There are some things that money really can’t buy, and those are the things I have now.

In other news, Stephanie at Focus Organic has put together a great Carnival Of all Things Eco.  Check it out for some great ideas on frugal, green living.

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  1. says

    Hi Frugal Babe

    This post reminds me so much of my own story.

    I also gave up a very high-pressure, high-paying lifestyle for something a lot simpler.

    I wrote about it here: Breaking with Babylon

    Like you, I agree – it was worth it every step of the way.

  2. says

    This is definitely what my husband and I are working toward, though we might not both stay home when we have kids. At the very least, I’d like a home business so that I can stay home with a baby. We’ve really whipped our finances into shape this year, and I still have a few years before I want to have a baby, so I’m hoping we’ll be there by then.

  3. Geoff K says

    Isn’t it ironic that often chasing after money, which is supposed to buy you a high quality of life, can dampen it.

  4. says

    Wow, what an inspirational post. I am freaking out a bit because Mr. A’s business is faltering in the past couple of weeks. He is branching out into a different area and we have to get ourselves noticed and out there. We’ve gone into some more debt as a result, I hate it. It is so wonderful that you can snuggle with your darling baby in the morning! Great post! My feedreader stopped feeding me your blog so I thought you weren’t blogging for over a week, but came to check on you. Glad to see you are posting regularly. Your garden is so awesome.

  5. says

    @Mrs. A – Good luck with the business expansion. I know what it’s like (scary!) and I hope that it all works out well.
    I had noticed that my number of subscribers on feedburner dropped a ton last week – I wonder if that’s related to my blog not showing up in your reader? Hmmm. I’ll have to have my husband check it out (all I do is write, I barely know anything about computers)

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