Did you already read part 1 of this post? If not, I recommend you to go here to read it, before you continue.
In my last post I wrote about how we perceive this thing we call “Doing it Differently”; why we quit our jobs to pursue the life we wanted for ourselves – a life with more time and more happiness! While that last post was more about the “why?”, this one is more about the “how!”
State of mind
The first and maybe biggest change for us was a change of mind and a change of perspective. First of all, change is possible! Yes, it is a big change, especially from a state-of-mind point of view, but if we believe it, it can happen.
Together with that change of mind, we also believe that most of what we do, and how we relate to it, is a choice. We can choose to be optimistic rather than pessimistic. We can choose to be happy with what we have rather than longing for this that we don’t. We can choose to take responsibility for our actions rather than looking for excuses. True, the approach can be hard at times and is not always easy to apply. Most times, though, it can make a hard situation look much easier. Plus, it helps us focus on what is really important.
Building a framework
Money is what (they say) runs the world so this was one of the areas we knew was very important. As we didn’t know what our income would be, we wanted to cut as much expenses as possible. Even today, as we earn much more than in the beginning, this is still a priority. We want to save as much as we can on the side, for the unexpected as well as for the future.
We started out with doing some specific financial cuts; the kids’ after school care (because we would be more home from now on), traveling expenses (because we would be more home from now on) and insurances (because of personal beliefs). Next up we started to budget our expenses. I personally believe that budgeting can be a great tool. I like it because it is highly adaptable and can, when built right, give us a great framework to work within. We should not underestimate the feeling of security that comes with that!
We don’t budget all our expenses, but focus on those areas where we know we tend to spend too much. In this family those categories are groceries, take-away and restaurants. Interesting enough, it is all related to food! ;-). We have made it a priority to keep overall expenses down, track our expenses and think twice before making a purchase.
The financial changes that we have made have to be looked at in the context of our priorities. Our personal priorities. Again and again we ask ourselves: what is important to us? Our priority is more time and being happier in life. Putting an effort into the financial area, helps us achieve those things and that is why we make it a priority. There is always an alternate way to do something. Often even one that takes less time or with a lower cost. Interesting enough, with time, we have found that many of the things we used to spend money on, didn’t really add much to the kind of happiness that we were looking for.
Life is always a process. Since we have been “doing it differently”, we have been taking control of that process rather than having it take control of us. We strive to be flexible and open minded, to put fear aside and don’t be afraid to try out new things, ideas and directions. Whatever we can do to keep living like this. It is like a ride on the world’s best roller coaster; unpredictable, exhilarating, scary at times, exciting, fun and never ever boring!