One of the most common things that we all worry about is finances. It seems like the more money that we make, the more that we need or the more money that we need, the less money we have. It’s a seemingly never ending struggle. One of the reasons that we have this struggle is quite simply… we are living beyond our means.
About 10 years ago, we decided that life needed to be simplified. So, we made the decision to pursue simplicity. Unfortunately, we had no idea of what was going to happen and this is where our decision met God’s sense of humor…
I had my web design and computer consulting business and my wife was working as a contractor in a ‘traditional’ job. Well, a friend of mine (a telecom guy) and I decided to do some government bidding together. One thing leads to another and we win the one bid that we did as a joke… painting buildings. We decide that my wife and I will complete the front half then he and his wife will complete the job. The interesting part is that this job was in Miami, FL. What makes this job fun is that the customer didn’t allow us to work ‘overtime’. We had specific hours that we could work and no weekends. We were residents of Miami. It very was cool. We went to South Beach almost everyday. We enjoyed the water, the sights, sounds and the happenings of one of America’s hot spots.
But why were we REALLY there? The reason that we went is because we needed to fulfill a contract. We needed the contract because we needed money. We needed money because we had debt. But, while we were living la vida loca, we asked God if we could stay in Miami. He gave us a resounding YES!! We started meeting all of these people who came to Miami on vacation and never made it back to home and their varied stories showed us that it was possible. But, what happened next blew our minds…
During our first couple of weeks in South Beach, we met one of those street salespeople where, “if you go to this 90 minute presentation, you’ll get…” And the answer is yes. We bought a timeshare. But, that was the open door. While going through the purchase process, the manager offers me a job if we ever moved to Miami. Then the lady that closed our deal told us about these condos that would come availability within the next month or so.
We pull the trigger!!! We start telling all of our friends and family in Ohio that we’re moving to Florida. AND we are selling everything!! We had a moving sale like no other. People came in our home and bought entire rooms of furniture. They bought clothes, shoes, beds, tables… They bought literally everything!!! We even got rid of 3 cars!! And all of this happened in 10 days!!!! We moved to Miami in a new Mustang!!!
Now, here is the point. We decided and God approved a lifestyle of simplicity. In Ohio, we lived in a 4 bedroom, 3,000 square foot home with standard recurring expenses of about $4,500 a month. In Florida, we moved into an efficiency condo. If you don’t know, an ‘efficiency’ is basically one room with the living room, bedroom and kitchen all together. Our entire condo could fit into the dining room of our house!!! The cool thing about our condo was that it was directly on the beach. We walk out the door and we are walking in sand, seriously. But here’s the kicker… we only paid $600 a month, everything included!!! We lived as vacationers for almost six months before our bank account told us that we needed to start feeding it.
When we simplified our lives, our options became much greater. We decreased our debt by $4000 a month!!! Because of THAT decreased, we both didn’t need to work and have combined jobs that paid a minimum of $70,000/yr. I could work for $10/hr with my wife staying home and we still had surplus. And better yet, we didn’t have the worries associated with our living beyond our means.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you sell your home and go live in a shanty. What I am saying is that our economy isn’t getting any better. There is uncertainty everywhere. Corporations are folding like lawn chairs. And the average household is only one paycheck away from poverty.
Since, these are the truths of the world that we live in… Maybe, we should take a look at our own lives and trim the fat. What things do we really need? Can I really afford this? Will it destroy my child’s life if they don’t get those new Jordans? Is my life recession proof or will it collapse when we go over the ‘Cliff’?
Making some of these necessary changes will be difficult, at first, but, when we de-stress our lives we actually lengthen it. What is the dollar amount for longer and more enjoyed life?
I love you ALL!!!
Also, check out my website… http://www.JackieSmithJr.com