On Living with Less

You may recall that Jae quit his job over the course of the summer in order to be free, in order to live the life of our dreams.  What, exactly, does that mean?

It means we are living on a lot less money, but that we have a lot more time together as a family and a lot more time to do for ourselves on our farm.

It means we are making a casual income. I teach violin lessons a few hours per week. We sell eggs our hens have laid, I knit hats that folks have ordered, I spin yarn to sell. We are fortunate to live in a country that gives mamas a child tax benefit, and that helps to pay for our car.

Beyond that, being jobless means we have much more time to take care of life for ourselves instead of buying things. I’m knitting the kids some winter sweaters, instead of working to buy them, with yarn that I’ve spun instead of purchased. We’re preserving food from our garden, instead of working to buy groceries. We’re foraging for wild edibles, and even ate one of our chickens the other day – a decision that I was completely comfortable with after nearly an entire lifetime of vegetarianism (stay tuned for a post on slaughtering your own animals – it may not be what you think!). We are doing what we can for ourselves instead of paying corporations to do it for us.

Despite the cold and rainy weather, we’ve got produce coming out of the garden, ready to be canned and enjoyed on a cold winter’s day.

Hot peppers - salsa in waiting.

Tomatillos, soon to be salsa verde.

Living on less also means living with less – and we’re ok with that. In fact, a life with less is a freer life. It is liberating to free oneself from STUFF, to deny the urge to spend money, to appreciate what you have and find new uses for old things. We’ve also realised how much of what we do have, we don’t really need. A large-scale purge is in process, and soon bags full of things will be donated to the local thrift store.

Living on less means working with your friends and neighbours to get things done. It means exchanging a helping hand on a friend’s farm for some bales of hay to get your livestock through the winter. It means trading a hand-knit hat & mitts for some cloth diapers. It means giving some eggs for basket of produce. It means forming lasting bonds & friendships and creating community.

Living on less also means having plenty of time to enjoy life’s beauties and wonders. How amazing the little things can be! So much to marvel at in something as small as a bouquet of wildflowers.

For our family, living on less means more togetherness, and there’s nothing I cherish more than the time I have with my loved ones. These are the best days of our lives.

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3 thoughts on “On Living with Less

  1. I couldn’t agree more – though dh still works (we talk of plans on how we can have him working much less) the decision for me to stay home was tough at first – giving up all that income and what having money means. I can’t imagine trading the time I have with my children just to have extra money – it isn’t worth it and I’ll choose having less again and again and again if it means I get to do what feels right for my family. It certainly isn’t looked upon as a valid and smart decision but I hear so much grumbling from folks that work and still have no money anyhow that it just serves to reaffirm my decision. Finding friends to share and trade skill with – offering to watch little ones in exchange for eggs, fixing a car in exchange for other services – we’ve been able to help many and have received the help from many without money being involved and it sure feels great 🙂

  2. Glad to hear your are happy with your decisions and that everything is going well. Hope the chicken eating was a good experience for you and your family. It can be hard to explain to children why sometimes we choose to eat meat. I suspect it is much easier for them to understand being a vegetarian, it is nicer.

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