Lifestyle Changes by Design
Tomorrow Mrs. ToughMoneyLove and I are joining two of our sons (and a wonderful significant other) in a 600 mile one-day car trip to a Thanksgiving get-together with extended family.
The significance is that two or three years ago we likely would be flying, not driving. This year it’s a conscious decision to scale back the discretionary expenses. Instead of saying “why drive when we can afford to fly” it’s “why spend when we don’t have to.”
This decision arises not from current necessity but because it’s the right thing to do under the circumstances. There will be other spending battles to fight in the future, not the least of which will be higher taxes. We will need plenty of financial weapons to fight and win those battles. Thus, we are willing to incrementally downsize our lifestyle now to preserve our lifestyle in the future. It’s a small part of our attempt at “consumption smoothing.”
I acknowledge that trade-offs are being made, including sacrificing some time with extended family for driving time. I wouldn’t accept that trade-off in every case, but it seems right here. On the other hand, we are flying our youngest son from college to our family holiday destination to preserve some of that family time for him.
We are fortunate in that our family economy has not been severely impacted by the recession. For that reason, we are probably late to the downsizing party compared to others. Perhaps the important difference is that our downsizing is by design. We are pushing the buttons before they get pushed for us. Learning about what has happened to others has probably been the catalyst for this new attitude.
My blogging will be scaled back the next few days as we celebrate our blessings with family. I hope that each of you find plenty to be thankful for this week.