on economy

108/366 - forcing branches

With tax season wrapping up (ouch) I've been revisiting some old favorites about money, economy, contentment.  Hope they bless you as well.

1. From The Common Room, Aunt Sophronia's advice on "getting rich":

"The question first is, What do you mean by getting rich? ...Will you be content to call honest independence, enough to live upon tastefully without fear or favor, enough to keep away the wolves of debt and want, and to send out from your door, on your errands, the full-handed angels of benevolence, will you call that being rich?"

"...I will give you the rules, which are few and simple, and easily performed by self-sacrifice. Work hard; see and improve all small opportunities; keep out of debt and carefully economize. That is the best that all the wisdom of the world has been able to digest and formulate as rules for getting rich. The matter is simple and lies in a nutshell: have the end definitely before you; do your own work toward it and do it honestly, and don't give up until you have reached your goal; the same plain, straight, unadorned and yet passable road is open to all."

and here:

"Are you capable of self-denial and self-sacrifice? Can you be cheerful while others, your friends, make a greater display and have more showy pleasures? Can you be resolute to save a little every year, even if it is a very little indeed? This strength of character which can attain to self-denial, to perseverance, self-sacrifice, is fine capital..."

"Practise Economy as a Fine Art: make a duty and a pleasure of it; it is the mortar wherein you lay up the walls of home; if it is lacking, or is poor in quality, the home building will crumble. Don't be ashamed of economy: study it, consult about it; don't confound it with meanness: economy is the nurse of liberality. Meanness is going into debt for luxury:"

2. Rachel Anne's lovely contentment with her Barn House:

"And that's about where our time and money ran out.  So we shrug and laugh at our postage-stamp sized kitchen, with its tiny passageway in and out.  The dark paneling in certain areas of the house is ALMOST back in style and we accept this blast from the past as "retro."  We have outdated plumbing, odd bathrooms and peculiar features, but somehow the idiosyncracies of this barn have endeared it to us.

Someday, our kitchen will receive the overhaul it is crying out for.  But until then, it plays host to parties of high school and college students, holiday dinners for 25, and everyday suppers for our family.  What it lacks in size is more than made up for in counter space (faux-wood, of course) and ample cupboards."

"The irony of working in incredibly magnificent homes each day and then coming home to a quirky, outdated Barn House has caused us to chuckle many times. While we appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship that go into those multi-million dollar mansions, there is something to be said for the simple life."

3.  Laine's contentment and commitment as well:  50 Ways We Paid off Our House on One Income:

"Godliness with contentment is great gain."

I have lived in this house with holes in my flooring, carpeting that's ripping up or has holes in it, sinks that are in rough shape, a tub with slight cracks in it, windows that are foggy because the panes are permanently damaged, the same couches for 16 years (and they were used when we bought them), and numerous other things. Our house is hot, hot in the summer and cold, cold in the winter due to poor insulation. But I've learned to live with all of it, and to be so thankful. I keep two rooms warm in the winter with a kerosene heater and a fireplace. A curtain keeps the heat in our kitchen in the winter. It's my "winter look". The fireplace keeps the living room warm. It's so cozy in there. I can keep the house cool in the summer by running our whole house fan early in the morning with all the windows open, then shutting everything up and draping cooling shades over the main windows. The fans do the rest. It's amazing how you learn to work with an old house over the years.

I really enjoy fixing this home up. I love my flooring, holes and all. I have throw rugs all over my ripped up carpet. I have to smile when women come in and "love my throw rugs". Or they kneel down to feel if our flooring is real, because it looks like brick with the holes and all. (The holes look like a torn off brick wall that's slightly aged. Cool, huh!) I tell them my foggy windows are "the rain forest look". And I paint, patch, and design the rest with quilts, tea cups and tea pots, family photos that I took, antiques bought at the thrift shop, doilies, lots of lace, beautiful smelling candles, a fire going in the fireplace, and keeping my home clean and fresh smelling. It doesn't cost a lot to do that. I try to take the load off my husband by making his home as welcoming and comforting as I can on a dime. I tell him and my kids, "We can have fun on a dime!"