My Dragon Lady (whom I swear I will write a blog about soon) advised me I should do a post about our “standard of living.” To quote her: “describe the difference between your lifestyle and a typical doctor’s lifestyle (2 doctor household actually). It will be good for your readers to know you live well below your means, that this a major reason you can do what you’re doing now. A lot of people may read your posts with a twinkle in their eyes, but would never be okay making the necessary changes to do it for themselves.”
I have to admit the first draft of this blog was awful—and Dragon Lady told me so (everyone needs a Dragon Lady). This is probably because saying I have a “lower standard of living” is eye-rolling laughable to me. Yet there’s a tension inside me because I know what true poverty is and that I am privileged, even in my frugality. I’ve volunteered overseas and lived in villages with houses made out of sticks. I’ve used outhouses in third world countries where I was afraid the shack surrounding me would collapse if I sneezed.
People: I have CLEAN water that magically runs out of faucets when I turn them on, no bed bugs, and air conditioning! And I have food to feed my children! (My kids always look at me weird when I say I’m grateful we have food in the fridge. They.have.no.clue!)
Y’all—even by American benchmarks, I currently have a fantastic standard of living I’m grateful for. The way we live is incredible!
Who knows—maybe we won’t live like this the rest of our lives. We aren’t stuck hard and fast in these decisions we’ve made.
But I do know now that I don’t want to work full time with everything else I’m juggling. And we desperately needed a break. Partnerships and working full time can always be revisited later when the kids are grown and out of the house.
We want our time now—not money. And the one sure way to obtain our time is to live below our means.
So we consciously choose where to spend our money. Being guided by what we value in life has caused a trickle-down effect to where and how we part with cash—as you’ll soon find out.
(And as a side note—I disagree with my Dragon Lady about one thing she said. My readers could reach deep inside themselves to do radical things to obtain their desired customized lives—i.e., sell a huge mistake: our McMansion and leave their high cost of living home state as we did.)
But I do think I owe it to you all to detail our spending. The list got so long though, I had to cut it into two blogs:
There seems to be this mostly unspoken expectation that a two physician couple has to have a massive mansion in a particular part of town. A lot of people are surprised when they see we don’t live in a vast house, nor in certain parts of our city.
After having owned a two doctor McMansion already, we knew we didn’t want the expense and upkeep that goes with one.
Besides, after having spent most of my childhood living in a single-wide trailer in a hay field, I’m more comfortable with smaller spaces than other people might be.
So our current house is in a middle-class neighborhood and is about 2,200 square feet. That’s still a pretty big house in my opinion.
Yes, the concrete sidewalk leading to our front steps needs to be redone. Doing that though would lead me to redo the driveway. And that’s something I currently don’t care about—I’ve had more than my fill of housing renovations. I’m good for now.
Besides, I’d rather spend my time with my family, exercising, and writing—not working full time to pay for a bigger house.
(If you want to be like us and save yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars in housing costs, READ.THIS.BOOK! Though I will caution you—I recommended the book to a friend and she ended up selling her house after she read it.)
Part II of this blog will appear next week. Until then, think about how you spend money and in what way this affects your financial freedom! Take care, B.C.K.