Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adjusting Expectations

It is frequent that we are bombarded with statistics that tell us that the average square footage for a home these days is greatly increasing In 2006 that statistic was inflated to 2,349 sq feet for 2.61 people.  We are also given a yearly figure as to home much raising children will be, $226,920 to be exact. We hear about the shrinking middle class & how people can no longer afford to live without dual incomes.  

Yet during these trying financial times I have personally seen a resurgance of a sort of old school way of living.  People are living off one income, they're buying used cars, they're shopping at thrift stores, & dare I say it, they're saving their money.  People are changing their entire lives, whether by personal choice or due to unforseen circumstances & finding HUGE benefits from it.  To me it comes down to one thing...expectations. 

Yes, it is difficult to live on one income IF YOU HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECATIONS.  If straight out of college you expect to live in the same size home you lived in growing up, or drive the same quality cars your parents do, you probably can't live on one salary.  It seems that much of Generation X doesn't understand that our parents worked their whole adult lives to afford their home & theircars & we have to too if we don't want to be swimming in debt. It is ludicrous to expect to  afford the same as people 30+ years into the work force.   By simply accepting a more humble, but equally charming home, you can afford more & stay out of debt. Same thing with cars, or clothes, or furniture, or gadgets.

In the 1950s  the average square footage of a home was 983 square feeet for 3.87 people!   Most families paid cash for all of their possessions; if they didn't have cash, they didn't buy the item.  A large number of families lived with only one vehicle, either didn't have a television, & only had one.  Washing machines were considered a luxury. A washing machine! How, in 60+ years have we gotten so skewed?  Why do we now need so much stuff?

I'm certainly not saying that women need to be stay at home mothers, quite the opposite in fact. My point, whatever your goal maybe be--whether you want to stay at home, start your own business, become a freelance artist, or retire, is that it is attainable. You can most certainly live, rather comfortably, if you adjust your expectations, value the PEOPLE in your life ABOVE things, & if you save the money you have.

There is no way I would have survived the ticky-tacky-box life of the 1950s, but there are certainly lessons to be learned some of the lifestyle choices of that era.  And I think that the it all comes down to a matter of perspective & expectations.

I'll get down from my soap box now...


  1. Hi Alison! I love your blog. I love that it is not about getting a bunch of junk for little or no cost, but really living with what you have. This is a great post because the whole point of living frugally is that you give yourself options. I worked at my corporate job for 13 years and THEN stayed home. Why? Because we felt like the teenagers needed me here. Thankfully, we have always lived humble lives. Thanks!!

  2. Awww shucks, you're too kind. I'm glad that you enjoy the blog. Isn't it gratifying to stay at home because you're needed there? I'm glad that you're enjoying spending time with your teenagers & living a frugal life! :) Thanks so much for reading!