Monday, July 19, 2010
The Art of Creative Deprivation
My father-in-law mentioned that with the advent of women entering the work force, this need for more truly blossomed. Working moms, combined with easy credit, made it easy get anything we needed and most things we wanted without even having to wait. And if one of us loses a job, we can make it on one salary for a few months. And let's face it. We all love it as much as we hate it, or we would do something to change it! I could, for example, quit my job, sell both houses and one car and move into a paid for condo or smaller home and I would be just fine. (This thought is always in my mind, by the way) But for some reason, we just keep striving for more.
How to at least alleviate the pressure? Creative deprivation. A term I borrow from my frugal mentor Amy Dacyzyn. What is this? Basically it's forcing yourself to make do with less, even when you can afford more. This is really hard for us. We want our kids to have the best. We don't want them to be teased. We get them what they want because they know we get what we want, so how can we say no? Here's the answer: cut back! If your kids are "food snobs" already...quit eating out so much and when you do, go to the cheapest place in town. Save the nice restaurant for special occasions. Even if you or your child can afford the newest designer outfit...put it on hold for at least a month, or use that money to anonymously help someone in need. I guarantee the pay off will be worth it. Amy talks about taking her kids for a rare trip to the ice cream shop and watching them savor every drip. Would your kids do that, or would they be complaining that it was the wrong brand or the AC wasn't working right?
I think (know) one of the keys to making this work is living it yourself. If you are a whiner, never satisfied and always finding something to complain about, even at the nicest restaurant, expect your child to follow your lead. If, on the other hand, you live a life of gratitude and make a big deal out of even the smallest things...you will raise a thankful child. We all love to be around thankful people, don't we? We don't teach gratitude by constantly giving materially to our kids...we teach them to be selfish. Want them to know real gratitude? Give up the money you were going to spend on a night out and buy food for the homeless shelter with it...them take the kids down with you and serve the people there.
Warren Buffet recently said that the key to success in a child's life was love. Imagine that. Anyone out there feel my self-inflicted pain???