Paying off debt

18 August 2008
I wish it wasn’t like this but money has a lot to do with simple living. I guess it’s naive to think that money, and the power attached to it, would be an innocent bystander in any kind of life. When you’re living simply, it seems too pure and wholesome to have any real connection to money or debt, and yet debt is the biggest obstacle to living this kind of life successfully over a long period of time. If there is one thing I want to encourage you to do it is to stop non-essential spending, find ways to save money and to pay off your debts.

I have written before about the constant need to change attitudes towards things we might previously have thought of as 'normal'. It's worth repeating though - changing your attitude towards spending will help you live the life you want. Back in my spending days, credit card debt and a mortgage were normal parts of my life. I didn’t realise it at the time, because shopping gave me other priorities, but I was working to pay off those debts and while I did it, I was building more debt. I thought it was 'normal' to have everything I wanted. We are encouraged to think that way. The average Western lifestyle always gives you new things to covet, it keeps creating more wants that you must have, it keeps you in debt. That will never change.

You have to change instead.

When I started living as I am now I changed my attitude to spending. I realised that I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted. I knew I should start being grateful for what I had. Shopping had lost its appeal, I was beginning to see how destructive it could be. I stopped shopping for comfort and recreation, I started thinking about what I needed and ignored what I wanted. Like many things in this simple life, one thing leads seamlessly to another. When I stopped buying, I started creating. I made the things I needed in my home instead of buying them. I regained my independence by reskilling myself, I took back the power to look after myself.

When I was a spender I was stupid enough to throw away good clothing simply because it was ripped or needed a button sewn on. I would rather work a few hours to pay for a new dress or new shoes rather than repair them. Now I value my time, and myself, a lot more than I did then. Now, let me tell you, I repair clothing, sheets, towels, shoes and anything else I can, just so I can continue using them. I have regained the strength to do things for myself. I am no longer seduced by convenience, I have taken responsibility for myself. I am an independent force.

I barely recognise that stranger in my past. No doubt there are millions who would think I’m strange now to save and conserve as I do. But here’s the rub. Living this simple life, being frugal, debt-free and environmentally aware has made me happier than I have ever been. When I was working, I earned quite a bit of money but it only served to keep me in debt because I believed I had the capacity, and the right, to own whatever I wanted. Now I know that no one has the right to continuously buy, just because they can. There is no law against it, but I believe it is morally wrong. I want to conserve rather than consume now. Now I know that if I want something of quality, beauty and uniqueness I make it myself, or barter.

I have written before about the seasons of our lives and I know that many of you are still in the season of nurturing children, building a home and a life. What I hope for you is that you still do and buy what you need, but always be mindful of how you shop, make a budget and don't be seduced by the flashing lights and those little messages that tell you: 'it's okay, you deserve it'. Make a plan to pay off your debt while you build your life, and don't keep adding to the debt. Learning how to sew, knit, cook, bake, garden and keep a frugal, natural home, will stand you in good stead because it will help you give your family the necessities of life, plus a few frills. Going back to basics and living a greener life is a much cheaper alternative to the 'normal' way.

There is no doubt about it, if you are carrying a lot of debt, or even a little, saying no to non-essential shopping will be difficult, but it will also free you. Try to change your attitude towards spending, because that will help you not notice or care about what is in the shops. As with many things, the first step is the most difficult but as you settle into it you will gain a better perspective on your own life, and if you take the opportunity, it will give you back your independence and lead you to a new life.


  1. I loved this post Rhonda. As a family we are in approx 25k's worth of debt. Yes, I know...Very scary.
    I realised, just like you did, beginning of this year that we are a ticking bomb waiting for disaster if we carry on spending on credit like we have been.
    Since then we have shaved off tonnes of costs from our budget, I try to have at least 4-5 "No Spend Days" per week. Where I just get my weekly food shop and weekly fuel allowance and then spend NOTHING else. This is a big help and we are slowly getting there, but I dream constantly of a day with no debt where I can breathe easily with a big weight lifted off my chest.
    We will get there...One day.
    I truly beleive in everything you put in this post, fantastic.
    Lv Steph xx

  2. Your post is very timely and encouraging. I read your posts often for encouragement and advise. Thank you so very much!! =)
    Brings tears of happiness to my eyes!

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    What a great post. We are debt free except our small mortgage and working on that. Sure does feel good.
    Living the simple life gives us joy and joy give us wings!!
    I hope Alice is doing well...think and pray for you all daily.
    Blessings to you,

  4. I am a fairly recent reader. My sister turned me on to you. She lives a simple life. I was excited to read this because with my sisters help I am beginning to do the very thing you are talking about. My husband an I have two children and we own our home. However we are $20,000 in debt because of credit cards. We make aproximately $100,000 a year and we can only pay bills. Untill recently we would take several vactions a year and buy WHATEVER we felt like buying. My sister has six kids and her and her "significant other" live on about $20,000 a year at the most. So we asked for her help. She and her family have moved into our five bedroom house for a year. We have agreed on a budget and she is in charge of the food shopping and coordinating. She actually manages to feed us all (12 people) on about $1000.00 a month!I have given up all convenience items like paper towels, paper plates etc. I am selling off many unneeded items as well. We have even agreed to have a homemade Christmas. No one will get anthing that wasn't hand made by the giver. The kids are thrilled!! Thanks for your inspiration and constant encouragement. You don't know it but you keep me going everyday.

  5. Very good sound advice. However my heart goes out to people who are trying to run a business and are self employed. It is very hard to suceed without investing some hard earned cash. It doesnt always work out.

  6. Your post came just at the right time for me. I've been trying hard to cut my spending and pay off my debt instead and while it's definitely helped me to feel more contented with life, I've recently had an urge to spend again and I really don't like it. Your post has given me just what I needed to carry on. Thank you.

  7. What a great post! I don't know if it has more to do with the age "seasons" thing, but I too have come to a point where I find no delight in shopping. I realize I have a house full of knick knacks, gadgets, clothes, and just general miscellaneous items, and most of the time I don't even know where they are, LOL! Now when I see a 'thing' I want to buy, I just think about the pile of things I'll be adding it to, and probably won't use either. I have so many clothes in my closet, most of which I don't even use. I seem to enjoy using just certain items which are comfortable. So yes, there is wisdom in what you say. All of us CAN live on far less than we have!

  8. A very good post, Rhonda, and an idea that you have expressed before in different way, but I think I need to keep hearing it. I have no debt and am in a good financial position, but I agree, that just because one can buy somethng doesn't mean one should. Just becoming more mindful and thoughtful is one big step....And the things that I love and have always bought - books, for instance - are a little overwhelming me and I am sending a lot of boxes to the Goodwill. (My daughter Emily calls this "blessing other people with your stuff". And since I used to buy a lot at the goodwill and other thrift stores when my family was young and growing, I can see the circle of life here and it makes me happy............I remember in the sixties my friends and I would talk about what the world had to sell that we might want to buy and I laugh to remember that we seriously proposed that servants to help us up off the floor (where we preferred to sit) would be a good thing in old age! BTW, I love the coment where a sister was helping her sister learn about budgeting. What a wonderful relationship they must have. That's the real value of life!

    My husband and I always tried to teach our children that people are more important than things (such a simple concept that is too often lost) and they all seem to have it in the core of their beings. I am so happy about this.

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm recently retired and taking care of my grandson. If I hadn't lived a frugal/simpleier life style I wouldn't have been able to retire early. Everything you have talked about rings true. But sometimes its hard to resist temptation, shopping that is!!! :-)


  10. Great advice and very true. You only realise how bad debt is once you are in the thick of it. Luckily we have been able to climb out and are now debt free. I will never get back into a situation where debt is the master and we are its slave. There is great freedom in not having debt tied around your neck like a ball and chain!

  11. You've made me feel good about staying up late last night to make myself a bag from what I had rather than buying a new one. By the way I do need a new one because the old has fallen to pieces. Little things like reading these reminders help to keep us on track from day to day. Cherrie

  12. Wow, I stumbled on your blog and knew immediately I would love it. You are everything that I strive to be. Thanks for the info and I have quite a bit of reading to do.

  13. A question....
    I have wondered if the cost of purchasing the raw materials to make something isn't just as expensive as buying it pre-made? Like washcloths, for instance? Do you find the yarn more cheaply than you can the washcloths in your area? Am I missing the big picture?

  14. SUCCESS! I know this isn't about debt but I made homemade laundry detergent today and used it on 2 loads. My clothes came out great. But even better was the priceless look on my husband's face when he saw that I grated a bar of Ivory soap with the cheese grater. He was sure his wife fell off her rocker! I'm going to calculate how much per load it costs and let you know.

    BTW-I've always been a saver. My sister was the spender. Hubby and I have a home equity loan and we each have car loans though his is almost paid off and mine isn't too far from being paid off. In no way do we come close to working just to pay off debt though. I've never been able to do that. Not in my nature.

  15. What a great post! I always enjoy hearing these live with less sentiments they help me reaffirm my goals of where I'm heading.

  16. I just came across your blog and I love it. It's like your inside my head!

    After surviving a bankruptcy and severe shopping addiction I know this lesson all too well.

    I cannot believe how happy I am leading a simple life. Everything is much more meaningful.

  17. A great post, and some excellent advice.

    BUT (yes, I have butface)...

    As a young mum who knows and hangs out with many young mums, it's easy to teach yourself all those skills when you have the time and energy to do so. But when you have young kids that sap every ounce of energy you have, finding the time to do anything beyond zapping a frozen dinner is an achievement. And too often the grandparents in the scene are off carousing the world or holidaying rather than helping out - so we're on our own, with little or no family support. You can't run a homestead on your own.

    Then there's the issue of debt. My parents bought their first home for $8K - a three bedroom home bought with a government assisting family home scheme. Such schemes are now defunct, so when we bought our first home ($220K, a tiny two bedroom unit), there were no such schemes. These days if you want a good education you have to pay for it - but my parents got theirs for free from the government education system. I'm heading towards 40 but still paying off my University debt.

    All the young families I know *are* scrimping and saving, but we have to pay $75 a shot for babysitting (grandparents are currently off on overseas holiday again) if we want a break every two months. Together, that is. And if you have a child with disabilities, forget asking a neighbouring family to help out.

    In short, we're doing what we can but my generation is living in a tougher, more brutal world than the last. Most of my University-educated friends will never own property - not when the average house price in their city is half a million, and they need to save 50K for a deposit.

    As for inheritance, forget that. My parents are off spending every cent they can, partying at hotels and holiday destinations. So many other 'doting' grandparents I know are the same.

    Most of my friends wear secondhand clothes. The last new pair of shoes I had was about 5 years ago. We don't waste money. But we have even less time than money.

    I'll learn to knit, sew, bottle, preserve, repair and fix things when I get a chance for a breather. I about 4 years time, when the kids are both at school.


  18. Another excellent post, though posters' comments have raised some interesting issues. Daharja's mention of University debt is a very pertinant one for me as I have two daughters at University, and a son proposing to go. In the next couple of years we are hoping to downsize and help them pay off a chunk of their University debt by doing so, so that they aren't saddled with debt the size of a small mortgage to start their life with.

    We aren't proposing to jet off round the world and spent their inheritance, but we would like a couple of leisurely holidays exploring more of our wonderful island (Britain).

    I know it's hard to have "me time" when you have a young family, but I have memories of my three having the longest baths on record and coming out like wrinkled prunes, whilst I implored them to stay put for just one more minute whilst I finished a little corner of the current x-stitch project! Mending can be done whilst the kids play and you supervise.

    Shannan - you have one heck of a good sister there. Credit cards are the very devil - I have one but I do not remember the pin number, which means I am never tempted to use it to shop "on foot". I have used it to buy stuff on line occasionally (think a fabulous - but cut-price! - Gothic bed and a new mattress, essential as our old bed had literally worn out) and Amazon is party to its details, but I only have a small amount on it which is paid off in full when I make some money one way or another (I don't have a job). I love the sound of your home-made Christmas. I do partly home-made, and make gifts for my great-nieces and nephews and aunties etc, as well as immediate family. It is so satisfying.

    Rhonda - you are doing a GREAT job! I am 1950s vintage so brought up in the age of make do and mend, and have never changed - we wear our clothes until they are past mending, and then they are rags! I hate this throw-away consumerist society.

  19. Great post, and I also agree with Daharja, because my parents are exactly the same. Both your age, Rhonda, and my mother even literally said they're spending every cent of the inheritance. Of course it's their good right to do so, but it can feel a bit strange to live frugal yourself and hear those things. They're also off on holiday 6 months a year and tell us we're crazy buying secondhand. I always wonder why there is such a big gap in people this age (early 60s) where one part of that agegroup is like Rhonda and the others are spending materialists (I know this is very black/white, but just talking in general here).
    I paid off my last monthly fee for my student loans in January, I've been out of college for 10 yrs.
    I manage to get quite a few things done around the house and making from scratch, but as young parents it's hard.

    Christine from the NL

  20. I loved this post.You spoke exactly to where I am at. I have a debt that I could continue to live with,but never deal with. I started a couple of months ago to change the way I view money and consuming. Now, I actually speak aloud to myself when I feel like going to the mall or buying something online. I ask, 'Do I need this? Do I actually NEED this?" If the answer is 'no', then I walk away. I have taken the credit cards out of my purse and have changed the way I look at all I have acquired. I have started sorting through things and it is amazing how many of them have made my friends happy when I have given them away.
    It isn't something that makes me feel 'rightous', just 'right'. It feels more honest. I feel more true to who I am. I feel free.

  21. Further to Jennie and C10's comments,

    I'm envious of Jennie's children - what a great mother to help them out like that.

    When the HECS debt system (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) came in in Australia (where I studied), there was the option to pay up front (and receive a 10% discount) or to pay back over the years. My parents literally said that they 'weren't in a position' to pay my debt for me - yet they managed to go on overseas holidays every year. I suppose to help me avoid a massive debt would have meant a few less holidays. But I only have about 12K left to pay now, after being out of Uni for 15 years.


    It was (and is) their right. But I can't help but feeling that if the choice comes up to vote the old age pension off the cards, I might be tempted, figuring that I'm just 'not in a position' to help anyone else.

    The system certainly seems to work against working mothers and fathers - I returned to work 6 weeks after the birth of my daughter due to necessity, yet my mother didn't work at all until we were at University, and then it was to buy luxuries, not necessities. And these days if you want a mortgage at all, forget doing it on one income. Staying home with kids is apparently a luxury these days - yet our parents could all afford to.

    In the meanwhile, though, frugal is good, and we've learned a lot from people like Rhonda :-)

    We've all just got to tighten our secondhand belts (actually, mine is new from KMart) and get more frugal yet.

  22. *Laughs a little* A couple of years ago, I used to think it's natural to eat out once or twice a week; I used to think that if you need something, you go into the store and buy it without thinking twice.

    Now all of our furniture is recycled, and we cook from scratch and eat at home. I find pleasure in knitting and crocheting for the expected baby, and in repairing my husband's clothes.

    Did I mention we have our own fruit garden now? *Woohoo* *Does a wild dance*

  23. Wonderful post as usual Rhonda - I look forward to reading your blog every morning for inspiration.

    Lately I have been spending - on good quality bottling jars, cordial bottles, a kelly kettle, and a log maker - but I view these things as investments really and have no purchases on my credit card.

    A few years ago I had a really good scheme, which I plan to put back in action --- if I saw something I wanted to buy I promised myself I would wait one month and see if I still wanted it/thought it was a good buy. This means you don't feel too hard done by at the time and it is amazing how often the thing has lost its appeal after one month!!

  24. Whew! Some interesting comments have come up here today. Some bitterness, too. I'm not sure my husband and I will ever pay off the mortgage. What we are doing is using the property as an investment so when we retire we'll have the equity built up. (It's also a really nice place for the girls to visit with their families in the meantime.) Our youngest daughter is in her last year of college. We have expected each daughter to help with the cost of college but we have taken out our parent loans, too. We currently have about 40K in parent loans - so there's no galavanting around the globe for us. (And yes, we've already paid off our own college debt over the years) The important thing though is to turn the focus toward not buying simply because it's there to buy. Not to get sucked in. The dishcloth knitting, for me, has become just a symbol of trying to live a more mindful life.

    I hope that the young women expressing so much bitterness toward their parents can find some peace. Life is hard enough.

  25. Dear Rhonda,

    Another thought provoking post.

    Today, for the first time in months, I went into "town" with two older family members for some needed items. They shopped well and so did I! I got some beautiful investment bread tins that will last me a life time.

    I found myself dazzled and overwhelmed by the amount and variety of goods on sale. So many were cheap, ephemeral clutter items. We did not succumb.

    I have two queries re your methods of packing the breadmaker and using milk powder in yoghurt. Should I ask in comments or e-mail? I know how busy you are.

    Best wishes.

  26. Your post about debt came at a perfect time for me. I choose to live simply and frugally so I won't have to re enter the daily workforce at this time in life. However, I do have a debt still hanging over my head. It is a good debt, a loan taken out to provide education for my granddaughter when she needed specialized schooling. Yet, with my simple lifestyle, it is difficult some months to find the money to make the monthly payment and still pay the bills. I try to see this as a challenge, instead of deprivation, of how well I can live on very little. As you said, we have everything we need and some of what we want. We lack for nothing except those elusive pleasures that sometimes entice us to want more.

    Today I will finish quilting place mats for my niece's wedding present, make vegetarian lasagna for dinner and homemade granola for breakfast and enjoy the simple pleasures of my life.

    Thank you for your gently reminder today.

  27. Rhonda, this is a very dear subject to me. I feel it is of utmost importance to contentment and happiness.

    Getting out of debt is possible. Even at a young age while raising a family. My husband and I are 35 and 36, we have three young children, and we are debt free (including the house). We were not debt free at one time. We were very deep in debt, but we learned from our mistakes. Now my family has peace and time to do what we want.

    Yes my truck is 7 years old and my husbands truck is 12 years old, but I do not wish for a new one. A new car or truck or any toy isn't worth the sense of peace and contentment that is in our home now.

    On the other hand, it is surprising how much more we can afford now, and how fast we can save for the things that we would like: charitable giving, Debt free vacation, barn, chicken coop, children's college fund, etc...being debt free has allowed us to pursue a more simple lifestyle.

    I read Dave Ramsey's book "More than enough" when I was going through deep instability due to debt and sickness. It encouraged me and gave me the strength to look at our financial situation truthfully and change our behaviour. I'm so so so glad I did. You can look up his web site on the internet or I have a link on my page. If you have debt, I encourage you to look him up. He helps you through "baby steps" to financial peace.

  28. I grew up in a very materialistic family. Once married and on one-income (chosen), my biggest help to decreasing "want" was to turn off the t.v. and quit taking magazines. Even with the t.v. on, we mute the annoying commercials. And we point out to the children the obvious tactics that commercials use to create want in us. Oh, to just be wary of big business and product placement in what we see!

    We were looked down upon for not having the new vehicles and name-brand clothes. You'd have thought we were abusing our children for just being frugal (and not even to the extreme in that!) But now, 10 years later, those same people are jealous to find out that we have no credit card debt and no car loans, only our home which we are working on to pay off as early as possible. And they bemoan their debt and how we have it lucky and seem to think we should feel sorry for them. In a way, I do. It's a strange, strange world.


  29. thank you for such an inspiring post. I'm going to share it with my husband. We've started making some changes to our spending, but we've still got a long way to go. I think it has helped that we moved out of the city and into the country. We're drawn more now to the simpler "country life" and less to the faster-paced "city life." Thanks again for your words of encouragement!

  30. I was raised in the country by my Grandparents. I was taught how to be self-sufficient and basically "live off the land" My other siblings were raised in a gimmee household. They grew up with the idea of if it is torn or broken throw it away. One of my sisters loves to shop and lives off her credit cards. She is always telling me how amazed she is at me and my kids. My kids do ask for things, but they also know the value of a dollar. If they want the latest video game, they know that they need to cut corners to save up for it. That means not getting a new outfit, cutting back on store snacks and making our own. Not getting soda for a few weeks, etc. I have taught them how to comparison shop.

    We are hoping for a move from Florida to Tennessee within the next year or two. First, we must sell our current home. That will be hard because the housing market is down right now. We want to finish raising our kids in a country setting, and to help raise our grandkids. This would allow us to have the space needed for a garden, etc.

    My sister who loves to shop is always giving me her families hand me downs. Many items still have the tags on them! We pick through and decide what we can wear as is, and the rest gets put aside for a wardrobe refashion. Many times I rework my sister's clothes and then re-gift them back to her family. She is amazed that the things they threw out are now new looking and fun to wear. I also cut up the "leftovers" and make quilts for family members.

    By the way, we do not have any credit cards and have no plan in the near future to have any. If we can't buy it with cash, then we don't get it. Simple as that.

    Thanks for some very interesting reading.

  31. I totally agree with you pretty much about everything. We paid our house off and now we bank what the payment is, so that sure helps. I do a lot of my own preserving, but I don't much sew. This is a great and informative post and I wish my husband would read it. We have no debt other than one card that we use for emergencies and then pay it off when we get the bill. Now my husband who has a totally workable computer that he uses at work, wants to go out and charge the latest version. I said no. If something is wrong with the computer, go get it fixed. Now he is acting like a kid that got his lollipop stolen. I don't get why people have to have the latest of anything. You have a great blog and excuse me for ranting or whatever, but you know how it goes.

  32. This was a beautiful post, and one that really resonated with me. I am one of those still raising kids, trying to earn a living, and paying for past financial sins. It's an uphill climb, for sure, but the only way to the top is to keep putting one foot in front of the other! Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. Rhonda you continue to inspire me (and many others). Daily you write about the life we are aiming for and reading your posts helps to keep me on track.
    I grew up in a very frugal household (small town population about 2000) but I lost the plot a bit after leaving home and being seduced by all the shops in the larger towns. I have been slowly getting back on track the last few years with greatest improvement this year.

    I have a naughty confession to make. I have been admiring your peg basket and soap container for a while now. I don't have any and needed something for the pegs; which were being carted about in a broken basket with holes and I was always picking pegs up off the ground. Well I bought them a few days ago and dh was disspointed (rightly so) when he saw them. I should have spoken to him about about the purchase before hand. Within 30 minutes of being home with them I thought of a way to havea similar peg basket - get dh to put a handle on a large pineapple juice can and paint it. I am feeling pretty silly about myself and after reading your post yesterday am more focused on not making any more slip ups. My quilting addiction needs keeping a close eye on!

    I was unable to locate Lion cotton the other day in my nearest Spotlight so instead bought some cotton and bamboo/cotton for knitting dishcloths. My aunt is in your area and I will ask her to send me down some of the Lion cotton when she is able to. I am looking forward to knitting dishcloths; socks for a fairly new knitter has been a bit discouraging but I am hoping to be able to pick them up and finish them one day.

    I have found great help with Dave Ramseys books (Financial Peace revisted and The Total Money Makeover) but think that they came along at the 'right' time when I was ready to take in what they were telling me.
    I have recently cut our grocery bill back by quite a lot. Een though we do our own meat, eggs and milk I was still spending a fortune on groceries. I have read and adapted "Feed Your Family" for $75/week book, which has helped me with my meal and grocery planning alot.

    We do have a debt for our farm and while I don't like having debt I do feel better having the debt for a business (maybe not the best business for a return but a great lifestyle) as oppossed to just a house. However we are building a new house as the house on the farm is tiny as and falling down around our ears; hubby is doing everything for the house (electrician and very handy man to have around), we are careful about what we spend on the house and are trying to do it as fast as possible (five growing children) but within our means as well.

    dh and I have never been to uni therefore don't have any uni debts. However I do have a friend who went to uni and has no debt and his parents didn't help him. He borded with an eldery lady and this would have increased his car usage but reduced his temptation to go out drinking. He worked every holidays and saved as much as possible so he could pay his HECs up front and get a discount. He approached the whole thing very sensibly. what did he study at uni??? accountancy!

    I often print out your posts and read them over breakfast; it's so nice to start the day with such encouragment.
    Bec xxx

  34. I struggle with having lunch for dh to take to work. He doesn't eat sandwiches due to yeast giving him migraines and leftovers don't always work. He won't take soup either.
    He does get lunch to take alot more than he did though and I feel good when he is able to take it; good that I have done my duties and taken care of him.
    I will try and plan more with my grocery shopping for his lunch, and for ours when we all go out.
    Thanks for bringing this up and giving me more focus on it.
    Bec xxx

  35. Thank you, Ronda, for a beautiful post. Very good reminders. Most of the comments were insightful also. We are HUGE Dave Ramsey fans. More than Enough is an excellent book as are others he has. His common sense approach to money has saved our financial lives.

    I do want to comment however, that I think it is sad that some feel their parents owe them an education, help with their children and an inheritance. You see this so often and so much time is wasted being bitter about things like this. If a person chooses to go to college, then it is their responsiblity to pay for it. If a person chooses to have children, then it is their responsibility to pay for those expenses. I think a parent's financial responsibility ends when the child turns 18. IF the parent is able to (and wants to) help, then that is fine, but it is in no way a requirement.

    We are all responsible for ourselves and our immediate family.

    Just my thoughts. Again, thank you for a great post.

  36. Rhonda- I found your post during a rabbit trail blog clicking (came for the sweet pattern for tea cozy) I love you blog and this article especially ( need to read all your entries). My hubby and I are debt free and we teach Financial Peace classes and love to hear this kind of talk!!! I would love to post your blog as a favorite on mine if thats ok with you- plus I need to come back for all your current goodies!!! So glad the trail paused here!!

    :) mary

  37. Another winning post! You are amazing!

    Josh and I just paid off our credit card with my paycheck from the Trade Shows in L.A. and Atlanta. I put my expenses on the card so that we could better keep track of them for reimbursement. When I get that reimbursement check -- I must tell you that we feel so good putting it toward that credit card. We get reimbursed for our travel to and from the airport, too. So I always put that on the credit card so I have a plus on my balance. I love knowing that it's there. Of course, it's not more than about $20-30 but It makes me feel better when I go to use the card for something.


  38. Just for the record, I don't feel bitterness towards my parents for making the choices they do, because my father worked hard all his life for what they have now and I understand they want to enjoy it all. After all, you never know what happens. They owe us children nothing, but the only thing I meant was, is that it's hard to feel you share common values and understanding each other when the attitude towards spending and being frugal is so different.

    Christine from the NL

  39. this is a really great post - thank you for it. My husband and I have an almost-2 year old and another on the way, and are really moving towards embracing the principles you describe with such passion and grace. Love your blog!

  40. thank you, rhonda .... i still need periodic posts like this. desludging from the "normal" life in america is not easy ... god, it's like an addiction. very, very scary. i'm trying, but i could try harder .... please continue to post on this topic periodically.

  41. What an inspiring post! I found your blog a while back and read it every day. Thanks so much for reminding us that having just enough is indeed enough.

    I, too, feel I must comment on parents' responsibilities to their grown children. Way back in the 60s, my parents always told my brother and me that we would be on our own when we finished high school at 18. Many times, I resented doing without a car or even sufficient nutritious food for my children while my parents remodeled over and over, took vacations, and made it plain they were available to babysit only in emergencies. Now, I realize I am a stronger person because my parents insisted that I take care of myself and my family.

    Put simply (there's that word again), parents have no responsibility to their children once they have raised them. We find it gratifying to be able to help our children out sometimes, but it is a gift, one that is freely given, but not one I am duty-bound to give. Frankly, there are times when I wonder if my children would be stronger if I had followed my parents' example. This can be a tough world - it's up to each of us to make our way in it.

    There is joy in knowing, well into the last half of my life, that where I am is where I got on my own, humble as it is.

  42. My sister sent me a link to your blog earlier this week. You excited us both so much! WE are both about to make soap, I used to make my own but stopped as more cildren came along, I can't wait to try making your soap. I love the photos of your soap and loafer. Debt is something that I need reminding of all the time. Yesterday I made 8 loaves of home ground organic bread after encourgaement from your blog to use the oven to full capacity. I also raosted some pumpkins while cooking our jacket potatoes for tea last night. The pumkin will be for soup for today. Today I hope to get to the soap and buy a spray bottle for the vinegar clearners which I also use to use.

    Thanks heaps for all you write.



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