A while back I met a really nice couple who have five school-age kids. That fact alone blew me away. Then I learnt that for many years they lived off a single income while their kids were younger and the wife didn’t work. They live in the suburbs in a nice house and get away every year or so for a camping holiday. Their kids are awesome too – individualistic, well behaved and fun to be around.

In the scheme of things the family isn’t wealthy nor do they have a large income. They have their financial stresses from time to time. But they work hard on their family life and somehow make ends meet. It’s a credit to all of them how they get it to work and how close they are to each other.

I remember the husband joking to one of his friends who had just returned from a big overseas holiday that “you don’t miss what you’ve never had.” I contrast this with another person that I know that once remarked that he has trouble making ends meet with $20k p/m (post tax). And he’s got a lot less kids.

I think the whole idea of financially de-leveraging your life is interesting. Some stuff is easy to do. Like me you can buy your prescription eyewear from Specsavers for $39. You can travel on public transport or in a car pool. You can have a picnic on the beach rather than a dinner out. You can take your lunch to work. You can set spending limits and saving targets. You can also decide not to become a slave to debt.

I recently travelled interstate to Sydney for an overnight business trip. I did it cheaply, as always. $200 for flights, $100 for accommodation via Air BnB, airport parking $50, $60 for car hire, and meals and incidentals were $55. Total cost $465. I worked hard for 2 days and got a lot done, making good progress on two ventures. It was a great ROI.

I like to operate like this because it keeps me sharp and protects me whether times are good or bad. And I’ve lived through both in the past three decades. When times are good I consciously try not to expand my ‘lifestyle’. When times are bad I don’t have to tighten my belt too much.

I think I just like to live simply. A kick of the footy or shooting some hoops with my kids are a couple of my favourite things. As is the next challenge, whatever it may be…