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Perspective and practice: When to change either or both

We have been in a good, consistent groove in our household for while with the way we function. We have some pretty specific practices in place for handling the budget, school, household chores and general everyday stuff. But today I turned on the television-the one with the antenna on top that I’ve previously written about-and found that the five good channels we used to get now consists of one that we can hear clearly but not see, two that look mostly fuzzy but can’t hear, and one that is just not there anymore. We get ONE channel in decently. My husband called an antenna installer and learned that, because we live up against the mountain that we need a line of sight over, we pretty much won’t get much of anything out of an antenna than we hadn’t previously gotten (which we were reasonably content with) and at this point maybe even less-even with a giant old-fashioned style mounted antenna on the roof since we can’t be sure what caused this disruption to begin with. ¬†We also learned that the tree that has been bare the better part of the year since we moved into this house has caused further disruption by doing the darndest thing: growing leaves. So, faced with absolutely no television reception early this morning (except for a very low-budget Christian talk show out of Texas that manages to come in quite clearly) I fiddled with the antenna a while with no luck. I grabbed my laptop and a cup of coffee. My toddler grabbed his shoes and pointed out to the back yard. I thought-heck why not? So out we went in pajamas and sandals, with coffee and laptop and his breakfast in tow and sat outside for a change of scenery. As I sat there watching him puttering in the back yard, digging in the dirt, inspecting rocks, sitting on wet grass and happy as can be I considered if it’s worth the $35 a month for basic cable and if it fits our current goals and plans. It occurred to me as I sat there, enjoying the warm early morning summer sounds of the desert, the buzzing bees, the chirping birds, the little dog next door yapping out a hello to my dog who was lazily ignoring it, that sometimes changing your vantage point, even if it’s just sitting outside when you normally don’t, can help change your perspective on your needs and your wants. Inside the house, as I’d poured my coffee, I was seriously considering finding that $35 for cable in my budget today and calling the cable company this afternoon. But as I sat out there, watching my child play, surfing news online and tapping away for this post, I found myself at peace with the sounds of summer around me. I still need to review whether our household practice of having no cable is going to continue or not, but I’m taking the weekend to consider this practice from another perspective. I’ll keep you posted.

How about you? Do you give yourself time and space to consider your choices carefully? Do you just jump in right away and hang on?

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It’s not about the food-it’s all about the mentality.

Rice and beans. It’s not about actual rice and actual beans (though you can make some mighty fine and tasty rice and beans concoctions-believe me! And I plan to post some fantastic ways to do that.). It’s about the mentality of Rice and Beans. Simple. Basic. Cost effective. Healthy. Easy. Practical. It’s not about going without. It’s about choosing more wisely. It’s about learning to love simplicity, practicality and, yes, frugality. A lot of people say life is too short why not live it up now? But, folks, when you are chained to a job you hate because you owe for something you can’t even recall buying, when you want to stay home with your babies but you can’t because you cannot figure out a way to afford it, when you want to give but you don’t know how, and as one of my favorite folks out there in the financial world says-when there is too much month left at the end of your paycheck, then life can be very….very….very long indeed. Learning to live on less and do it cheerfully and well has this crazy result-life gets packed with the right kind of happiness and joy. Life does get short because kids, when life is joyful it goes by fast in a way that you want to grab hold of. Living on less and learning some simple practicality will let you do that. You don’t have to get coupon crazy or get water from a well. You just have to get real with yourself. Get ready to kill your Golden Cow (in other words…just because it’s always been that way…doesn’t mean it’s got to stay that way). Life can be better. Really it can.

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