When I made the decision to quit my job a few months ago, I knew we wouldn’t be able to make it work unless we were willing to make a few sacrifices.
Quite a few, in fact.
Between a teacher’s salary and a newspaper salary, we weren’t rich, by any stretch of the imagination.
But we were living comfortably. Our kids never had to worry about having food in their bellies or a roof over their head.
So, cutting that income in half was going to present a challenge, especially given the timing of me quitting two months before Christmas.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and my wife and I had several conversations to make sure we were both on the same page.
That’s one important key — communication and honesty. If you ever find yourself in a situation like mine, where you suddenly quit or lose a job, keeping those honest lines of communication open are so crucial.
My wife handles all of our finances. She pays the bills. She does the shopping. She decides what is in our budget and what is not. And she’s good about saying no.
So, when that time came to sit down together to see what we could give up, I knew I’d have to put a lot of my personal feelings aside.
Three months into it, I’d say it’s worked out well. We’ve had to stretch things out, we’ve had to give up on some things we love, but it’s all been worth it.
I’ll admit I was extremely worried that we’d find ourselves in a huge jam a few weeks after I quit my job. But thanks to some sacrifices we’re making it.
When you’re taking this kind of big step in your life, you have to be willing to identify the things that are simply luxuries in life.
We’ve become such a technology-driven society that we think having cable TV is a right, having a cell phone is a right, having the internet is a right. Those are all luxuries that, believe it or not, we can live without. Remember 30 years ago? We lived without all of those things, or at least two of those things.
One of the first things we did was give up eating out. In a house full of kids who have a schedule full of extra-curricular activities, that’s tough.
It’s so easy to leave basketball practice on a Tuesday night and stop by McDonald’s. Or leave the baseball game and pick up a pizza on the way home.
We’ve pretty much given all of that up. It’s a luxury. Instead, my wife does a fantastic job of meal-planning.
She schedules out two weeks of dinner and goes shopping for just those items. Sure, it’s easy to throw in a bag of cookies or a container of ice cream, but it’s not needed. It’s a luxury.
With all of the meals planned out and purchased, we know we have at least two weeks of meals accounted for and we’re not spending $30-40 a night on fast-food.
Second thing we did was take a look at our technological luxuries. We had a $150 satellite bill every month and I went through and counted maybe a dozen channels we watch on a regular basis. So, after doing some research, we cut the cord and went from paying $150 to paying $45, and we get every channel we were watching on satellite.
While it’s only been a week, I haven’t missed satellite at all. OK, maybe I missed it last night because I couldn’t watch Alone.
Third thing we did is we eliminated expensive entertainment. We’ve found that it’s just as much fun to sit at the table as a family and play dominoes as it is to spend $50 to bring the family to the movies.
You’ll find that kids just want to spend time with you, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do that. We have great parks here in Pensacola and that’s free. For $1, we can drive to the beach for the afternoon.
It’s the little things that sometimes provide the best memories.
So, if you’re considering a major life change like ours, trust me when I say it can be done. It won’t be easy and you may end up trying to make those last $17 dollars stretch a couple more days, but you can do it.
You just need to be willing to sacrifice it all. Remember at the end of the day, the most important thing is the people you surround yourself with, and every decision you make should be with them in mind.
And remember to always let your conscience be your guide.