We live in a time when extremes are emphasized. A few years ago I read a book concerning fitness, written by a doctor who spent years studying the subject and obviously thinks about it for many hours everyday. But, if I were to do everything the author recommended, my life would be out of balance as other important parts of my life would not have adequate time devoted to them. I read materials on nutrition, and while I gain insight from such, if I did everything recommended my life would again be out of whack because of what else I would have to neglect.
So in posts for Wiser Dollar I am proposing a moderate approach to financial issues. Please, do not feel the need to do everything I write about. You have my blessing to ignore at least some of it, maybe much of it. Everyone should evaluate his or her situation and discern their priorities. But much of what I propose ties into pursuing a life with greater simplicity, which is actually freeing more than burdening. So hopefully doing a lot of what is mentioned will be liberating and not stifling.
Moderation is often needed, particularly for each person who lives with others in a family as there needs to be a consideration of all. Typically in any given family there are diverse views concerning a lot of issues in life including money, possessions and plans. If one spouse advocates an extreme ongoing frugality for everyone in the family, it is highly likely that the other spouse will not be fully on board which could lead to some strife. I must say that marital peace is more important than extreme frugality. But that doesn’t mean that some frugality cannot be practiced.
Within myself I have the potential to exercise an excessive frugality, but I regularly choose something more moderate. Let me give an example. When finances were tight, my extreme side would think we don’t need to take a vacation this summer. But I recognize that such times allow the making of memories with my wife and kids. We won’t always have this opportunity where the four of us can get away. So we took a vacation, but with a moderate approach in mind we didn’t spend two weeks on an exotic cruise, instead we spent four or five nights in the mountains of New Mexico, a drive that could easily be completed in less than a day from our home. Please understand, for some a cruise would be a great choice as an extravagant splurge now and then may be warranted if money can be set aside in advance for such. But that was not the case with us as cash in hand was more in line with a trip to Ruidoso, not a cruise.
A moderate approach to finances is my general approach as we attempt to balance financial realities with activities that serve as a blessing for my family and others. As I write about such it will lead us to reflect on the principle of simplicity, the need for organization and ways to pursue such a lifestyle. I feel like the words will come easily, as everyday I attempt to find such a balance between financial realities and the needs of my family that extend beyond mere finances. I hope this site serves as a blessing to you. If you think it would be beneficial to friends, then please let them know.
*While an extreme ongoing frugality is typically not warranted, there is a place for a temporary excessive frugality when need warrants such. Again, I said temporary. An article that addresses such frugality is 4 Frugal Tips When Experiencing a Financial Setback.
**Notice that no vacation destination was considered an option if it were merely put on a credit card without the ability to pay in full for the cost. A Wiser Dollar approach calls for our being able to pay in full for any trip.
***Book recommendations: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives – by Richard Swenson; The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits – by Richard Swenson
photo credit: Sierra Blanca near Ruidoso, New Mexico via Flickr cc License – 8/31/15 with no changes.