First, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope your whole season is peaceful and full of joy. It has been on my heart to write about two of my passions that are undeniably intertwined for some time. I think this is the perfect time of year to write about them because many of you are also thinking about Christmas and the coming New Year. It is a time for checking our priorities and making goals. I embrace the idea of living simply and part of that is eating simple real foods. I have found that the more we live this way the more time and money we have for things that matter most to us.
Simple Living with Real Food
This time of year I feel the tug of excess around every corner. I sense the commercialization of the holiday when I walk into nearly any store. It’s right there trying to catch my eye (and that of my children) and move our focus from the reason for the season to things. THINGS! They want us to buy more and more things. I struggle to keep our life free from clutter, time wasters and make sure we own stuff and it doesn’t own us. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the comforts of modern conveniences. We didn’t have running water indoors for nearly two weeks in the summer and I was SO glad when it was working again and I could run my big appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. I have always felt that possessions are nice when they are useful, but the bigger our family gets the more I love to live with less stuff. So how do we combat this overload of things in our commercialized culture? Here are a few things that help us live a little lighter.
We make a priority list and match it to our spending. Many people are very surprised to find that their budget doesn’t really match what is most important to them. Every family will have different priorities. Start with your basic needs. Once your basic needs are covered including the things that you value most look at any additional and make a priority list for that as well. Once our priorities are covered many people find that their budget is full with little or no room for excess.
Our family for example has some things we consider basic necessities. These are things like our home, heat and food. We are SO thankful for these things. We consider eating real food (most of the time) a basic necessity. We spend a little more on this than some people, but it doesn’t really affect our budget because of our health savings. We spend a LOT less on insurance, co-pays and other health related costs than most people. In fact, we have saved over $10,000 on average each year in health costs compared to before we were eating real, mostly organic food. Maybe I should write about that someday soon! I believe that savings is the tip of the ice burg and we consider the food we eat to be a long term investment in our health and the health of our children. Once you have ironed out what are basic needs for your family it is easier to turn down the things that are not really beneficial to your family. This principal is a huge time and money saver.
Consider your long term priorities. I believe that by spending a little more on real food and saving money on your healthcare today is the tip of the ice burg. We consider the food we eat to be a long term investment in our health and the health of our children. When you are investing in whatever it is that is important to you the dazzle of the commercial items will have less appeal. You will already know what you need/want and be able to focus your money, time and energy.
Be a rebel. I am fairly certain that most people who know me would not use the word rebel to describe me. When it comes to stuff and the commercialization of our culture you have to go against the norm if you want to combat excess and enjoy the riches of living more simply. When I walk into a store with a purpose that matches my priority list I arm myself with a rebel mentality. I think about how huge companies have highly trained people who spend their work life hours thinking up strategies of how to get me to buy things I don’t really want or need. I determine that I won’t be the victim of the scheme. The scheme that used to most easily snag me was that of the coupon or great discount especially on processed food. Once I was healthy and clear minded I saw right through this campaign. So armed with this mentality when I see things in the store that catch my eye, but don’t match my priorities I DON’T by them. If I am going to buy processed food or other things we don’t really need I purpose to do so before I go somewhere not in the moment. This way of purposeful living is freeing for me.
Lastly, in the hopes of not sounding like a shameless plug (because that truly isn’t my heart in this) I have to mention delivery service of real food. I use our delivery service. Having basics plus some other real food delivered to my home makes living simply SO much easier. Before I was an owner I was a customer of a farm based delivery service and found this simple step to be in line with our priorities. Even when we were starving college students with small babies we were able to fit this in our budget. (Many people we know eat real food on a tiny food stamp sized budget – and yet another write up coming soon.) Yes, real food might cost a little more on the sale date, but we gain so much. We gain health and energy for today and the future, lower health costs, shelter from the bombardment of commercialization that seems to be at every store these days (which equals a little more peace of mind for me and my children), time saved from shopping at the market, money saved from impulse buying, money saved on gas just for starters.
I hope these simple little thoughts might inspire you as they inspire me to live with purpose and make the most of each moment this season and in the coming year. Do you have tips for living simply with real food? If so please share!
Talk with you again soon,