Hello Annette and Steve,
Just the other day I was telling my husband that I wished his mom had been able to write down her zucchini relish recipe before she became too arthritic to write. Then I open this email and see the relish recipe that your friend has given you to publish and I am so psyched that I can finally make this for my family!!
Thank your for this wonderful edition of the ACF Update, for a great website and books, too.
I am a "naturally frugal" person and remember being excited about saving my allowance even as a young girl. Now in my mid-forties, this lifestyle is automatically programmed into my brain. Living simply and spending wisely gives us the peace of mind to know that we can help put our two kids through college and still have enough to retire comfortably on someday.
I don't mind the older model minivan I drive, knowing it helps me reach more important goals like being financially secure. When I see some of my neighbors spending big bucks on cars and remodeling their homes I just sit back and smile, knowing that I am content with what we have and that is enough.
Take care of yourselves and enjoy your family.
C. McCormic — Illinois
We just had to share this's letter with you because it reinforces the single most important aspect of getting ahead financially—Contentment.
Contentment is sometimes misunderstood and seen as lackadaisical—but it’s not.
Contentment isn't laziness.
It isn't complacency.
It isn’t apathy,
It isn’t half-hearted.
And it isn’t fatalistic either.
It is, in a large part, realism mixed with priorities.
Realism says that we have a finite amount of money and it needs to accomplish a specific number of things today, tomorrow and a few things many years in the future. To accomplish these goals, we need to have a realistic view of what our needs are today, always keeping in mind that some of our money must be saved for tomorrow’s emergencies and eventualities (replacing a water heater, buying a replacement car or paying for college).
Priorities say that we realize that while a new car may be nice, saving money in an emergency fund is more important. An expensive resort vacation might be nice, but camping might be more prudent—so you can keep socking money away into your IRA.
Life can still be enjoyed, probably more so, when you know that today's expenses are covered and tomorrow's will be also. That kind of living breeds contentment. And the single most important tool we've found to help us in our contentment—no matter how much we're earning—is to have a spending plan or budget in place.
We've been using a twice a month budget for the past 30 years and it has helped us accomplish some incredible things like paying off our homes in record time (9 years for the first one), paying cash for our cars, taking debt-free vacations, and helping our kids get college degrees without college loans.
Sure, we still drive 20th century cars. But they look good, run great, have low miles on them and get us where we need to go. They also cost us less to maintain, insure and repair.
We will be buying a new car soon? Probably.
But it won't be a brand-spanking new one. We do have plans for getting another car and selling one of ours to our son (who has the money saved already). In that instance, we'll probably end up buying something more contemporary . . . we'll most likely be moving into the 21st century, but probably not into the second decade of the 21st century.
Buying what we need, when we need it with money we've already saved helps us to keep our priorities and to be realistic.
We're content with our lot in life too!
How do you live out contentment in your life?