Thursday, September 21, 2006

Living like No One Else... So We can Live Like No One Else.

I'm not trying to rip of Dave Ramsey. Much as I like a good yo-ho every once in a while, what I mean by co-opting his slogan is that when we live like no one else - regardless of the motivation or the impementation, we will live like no one else in the long run.

While I'm no Dave-groupie and we don't strictly follow the Total money Makeover concept (you'll pry my AmEx from my cold dead fingers), Dave has a lot of good things to say. I know that my mindset has changed remarkably after being influenced by a group of people who follow Dave and help others get the financial lives fixed up.

I want to apply this catch-phrase to life more broadly than just in a financial sense. I was pondering this phrase yesterday (or the day before - I can't remember) while waiting with Lorenzo the Magnificent at the Pediatrician's office for his 6month well visit. I pondered how different our lives are than that of even our closest family members. I'm not saying we have a better life or that we're morally superior in any way, just that we truly do live like no one else we know.

I don't know many people who have made the choices we have. We're the laughing stock of our family because we don't have cable. Nope, not even with the 42" HDTV. I can't see paying $60+ a month for not even true HDTV signal when I can get it for free (over 17 channels, TYVM).

We don't go to the movies. Maybe once a year? Separately? Again, for the rpice of two movie tickets we can get a whole month of Netflix, TYVM. But it's not even really about the money. I can take that or leave it.

We chose to homeschool our kids. That in itself is pretty radical (or crunchy or whatever you want to call it). I know a few families online who HS - or as I like to call it Home Educate, but locally? One family for sure I know who homeschools. It's not that I think that I'm better than the school system (well, actually, there is a bit of that) or that we're isolationist whack jobs (not likely here), it's just that my experience with the public AND private school systems were completely lackluster. I didn't fit in because of my age/ability with relation to the peer group of the grade I was in. It sucks to be a 14 year old whiz kid in a class full of 16/17 year olds who've had to repeat that grade and still aren't cutting it... or be asked to leave a class because you are "ruining the curve". Knowing my children as well as I do - they are carbon copy composites of my husband and I - they'd be bored out of their mind in a traditional school setting. So, we will challenge them to learn like no one else - so they can learn like no one else.

We bought a home that was well within our means using no creative financing. How is that radical? Well, I plan on being taken out of here in a pine box and being buried in my back yard. We bought a home. Not a house, not an investment property, not a starter home. A HOME. You know, that place where the heart is? We bought an older home with it's share of fixes needed. Frankly after some of the exposes on the news in our area, I'm pretty sure my house is more solid than most new construction going up. We weathered Hurrican Charley as it ripped through our yard at ~110mph and we lost ONE roof shingle. The original sash windows held up with no plywood needed. We hunkered down in the hallway and felt the wind whoosh up through the hardwood floors. It was an experience we'll never forget. I think in some ways, we became one with our house in that moment. We know our neighbors (some crazy - across the street diagonally, some nosy - next to crazy, some noisy - behind nosy, some nice - next door, some annoying as H-E-double hockey sticks - next door on the other side of us) but it's a NEIGHBORHOOD.

I can remember looking at a new McMansion development (fell in love with the model home) and when I enquired about the house I was told by the sales office that it was "too small for you [us]" because at 3/2 it was a "starter" home and not a "family" home. I've perfected Miss Manners' "look" and the sales agent got a good helping of it. The eyebrow went up and I asked him "So you are basically saying that my current home of 1470 sf in which I am currently raising a family is not a family home? How house-ist" and I flounced out of the office. I can do more in my 1470 sf under heat and air than some people can do in 3000 sf. 'Cause I'm a wooooooman. W-O-M-A-N. I'll say it again...

You might find part of my story similar to yours in some way. After all, humanity has a lot in common. But one thing we all have in common is a wide range of emotional responses to different stimuli. In a way, we all live like no one else - so long as we stay true to who we really are and not try to maintain the stereotypical status quo.

1 comment:

DEBTective said...

Dollface, I just wanted to say that I'm bit-time proud of you for watching your spending and living smart with money. Dave Ramsey's plan makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Great job, baby!