NOW! or patience and restraint

19 June 2012
Afternoon winter sun in the bedroom.

This is part of a recent email I received from a young reader here called Stacey. She is asking about having what you want NOW:

The only thing I wrestle with is something I think may be a new trend in my generation - wanting something NOW and the feeling of urgency around it. My husband (mid-thirties) and I have envisioned that we would buy a house on an acre, add water tanks and chooks and solar etc. And currently we are saving a deposit for this imagined house. We would like to save a large chunk to ensure we have a smaller mortgage and change to be able to commence our ideas on the property. 
It is slow going with one income, but since leaving my job we are actually saving more money than we did when I was working (because we are mindful and respectful of our income now, rather than spending on frivolous things). I have one more year to go after this before I am a teacher and we are back to two incomes. 
However, I can't help feeling the sense of urgency all the time. Why can't we save faster? What if I deferred uni so we could have two incomes again? Why are my friends always ahead of me? So what if we have a higher mortgage, we can still afford it…. At times it honestly feels uncomfortable how much I want it to happen RIGHT THIS SECOND and I have laughed at myself many times thinking this is what a two year old feels when they want candy. 

I know I am not alone. I think the difference is that I do not act upon this impulse. 

Do you think this is a generation specific thing? Has my generation becomes a bunch of two year olds who want the candy NOW!?

I have many friends and family who seem to 'have it all' but I see on closer inspection that they are so far in debt, unable to take more than the paid maternity leave, can't afford things without a credit card etc. 
It is these moments that I realise how grateful I am to have no debt and be able to pay cash for everything. That impulse to "have" may be there, but I think it is the ability to say no to yourself that will end up leading to the reward in the end, right?

Thanks for your question, Stacey, I think it's something a lot of us struggle with.

The first thing I want to say, Stacey, is that your spending friends aren't ahead of you. They're behind. They might have more stuff, they might have a house and mortgage already, but you are ahead of them now, you'll be ahead of them when you get your mortgage and I have no doubt you'll be ahead of them when you pay off your mortgage. Being in debt to get what you want doesn't put you ahead of anyone.

I don't think it's generation specific. I think many of the younger generation certainly do seem want everything immediately, and maybe my generation fostered that in their children, wanting them to have the best of everything, but many of my generation want NOW too.  I think it comes from an attitude that is fostered by advertising, wanting us to be dependent on what we can buy. It is all about DE-skilling us so we're reliant on buying everything we need. It's a very childish attitude. Prudence and patience is something we learn as we grow up. Advertising is hoping to short circuit that tendency towards a more mature attitude, they want us to want everything now and they want us to have it now, even if we go into debt to have it.

I think it's also been helped along by mobile phones and the crazy ability to reach anyone at any time, regardless. People are slaves to their phones now, they can't wait. I've had a mobile phone for the past 22 years and I use it mainly to make contact if I'm going to be late or I want to check if there is anything needed at home before I come home. It is not a device for people to phone me while I'm out. In fact, that is one of the pleasures of being out. I don't have to answer the phone. Often I have the phone in my purse, not switched on, and if it is and it rings, I only answer it if it's my family. If I don't recognise a number or I don't feel like talking, I don't answer it. For most of us, most of the time there is no reason for anyone to be contactable every minute of the day. Wait. Wait for the person to call you. Wait until you get home to call. Wait until you feel like talking. Wait for tomorrow or the next day to call back. Your life doesn't have to be interrupted by someone who wants to chat.

Stacey, I think it's admirable that you and your husband have thought about your goals and are putting measures in place to achieve your dreams. One of the important aspects of simplifying is that part that encourages us to slow down, be more reflective and mindful. I find that very easy now but I know it's difficult to be slower and patient when all those around you aren't. It is a skill, it is something you learn, just like budgeting and gardening, so I can only suggest that you remain confident in your actions, remember you're on target and doing well, and understand that most things take their own time. Not everything needs to be fast and stress-filled. It's okay to be slower and to wait.

The beginnings of baked vegetables.

When I look back on a long life with Hanno, I realise that most of the things I cherish now are those that took their own time - having babies, paying off our debt, waiting for just-sown seeds to mature and start producing food for our table and being a grandma. One of the things I love doing now is to start a new knitting project. I take my time finding a pattern, sorting through my wool and cotton, thinking about what I'm making and then when colours and ply have been chosen, sitting down to start that long process of knitting. One stitch by one stitch, I sit and click. It's put down, picked up, put in on old flour bag to take with me to knit when I'm out, and it seems at the beginning that it will be too much for Australia's most impatient grandma to endure the endless thousands of stitches knitted one . by . one ... But it isn't. It is actually the process that taught that same queen of impatience how to wait.

You'll be okay Stacey. I know that because you're mature enough to ask this question, you know it is a weakness and therefore you can do something about it. All intelligent people do that. They recognise their vulnerabilities and they work on them. I'm not sure what your strategy will be to strengthen your resolve towards patience and restraint, but I do know that you and your husband will be rewarded for waiting, and you know that too.

This question will resonate with many readers so expect to read some great comments. So now readers, it's over to you - what advice do you have for Stacey?


  1. I have a quote stuck in my head and hopefully it helps. "All things come to those who wait" I wish I knew the author. I do believe it is a generational thing, sadly created by parents of a generation that wanted their children to have the things they did not. They gave them everything they ever wanted not thinking of how this would affect their future.I think they did them a great disservice by giving and not teaching them "All things come to those who wait" and of course work hard for it.This is just my opinion. B

  2. . Stacey, I also battle with wanting things now, but unless it's an emergency I just don't give into those feelings. The fact that you acknowledge the desire does not mean you give into it. It makes you wiser and better equipped to face those who give in to the instant gratification of this age. And face those who want to make you compromise on the path you are choosing.

  3. I so understand the want NOW thinking and I was not brought up with it. I waited a long time before I could afford things NOW, but that wore off quickly for me. I found part of the lure of NOW was the waiting. Once I bought the object the allure was gone, kinda like waiting for Christmas. I do agree that the advertising world knows all the tricks of psychology and that is how they sell their wares. If we all understood the degree to which advertising uses this psychology, I believe most consumers would be soo insulted they would cause a big recession [ not always a bad thing].

  4. Oh I just wrote a really thoughtful response and then clicked off the page accidentally and lost the way I had put the words down...

    So a bit more suscint this time maybe.

    I definitely identify with Stacey and really appreciated your response Rhonda, especially that you don't offer any prescriptive advice and really acknowledge that gaining that familiarity with patience is something that each person may need to learn in their own way.

    One way I've begun to have some progress with this is by thinking about decisions from the point of view of 'being kind to myself' and looking after myself. In the past I have put myself under so much pressure because I wanted to make it to the next achievement, house, new qualification... so now I try to think about what it would actually be like living that goal... for instance, if possibly Stacey were able to move more quickly would she maybe find herself in a position where she needed to understand the technology for the house in a really short timeframe and be under pressure to learn this more quickly than was pleasurable - it might actually be stressful... I don't know if that's a good example - but maybe it helps promt some ideas.

    Another thought is that while wanting everything now can be seen as a weakness. I also believe most weakness have a parallel strength or other side of the coin. I think this weakness is perhaps more often found in people who are positive and believe that they can create change in their live and 'where there is a will there is a way'. This is a wonderful characteristic and actually probably is part of what gives Stacey the strenght to try and live a different and simpler life. Maybe acknowledging the strength side of it can help Stacey (and me) with her resolve with this.

    Hmmm, I'm happier with this post now anyway... hope you have a great day Rhonda and everyone else reading!

  5. Stacy .. you are so far ahead of many people (at any age). Denying yourself now will lead to a more realistic life. Plastic money is fake money with all sorts of strings (interest) attached. It's a bad idea to not save and wait, wait and save some more. The reward will be in peaceful sleep at night knowing that you have very little mortgage debt .. AND .. you prudently buy what is needed not just wanted. You are fortunate to 'stop' and reflect on this subject before you leap blindly into the future with out the proper foundation.

  6. I love this post ~ the question and your response. I think we all feel this at some point. I sure do. I think the payoff for waiting comes once you've saved all that money and you're able to buy the land without feeling like it's too much, etc. You can enjoy it more without being so burdened. Then you'll realize the wait was totally worthwhile. I couldn't agree more that your friends aren't ahead of you. I have friends who seem to have so much "more" than me but, when they confide in me, I find out they have mountains of debt and live paycheck to paycheck with no flexibility and no ability to take nice vacations, etc. Then I feel proud of sticking to my guns with my own simple life.

    With regard to cell phones, I feel so strongly about this issue. I rarely have my phone on and I check it infrequently. I have friends and a family member or two who chastise me for never answering. Seriously? Since when did it become expected for me to be available 24 hours a day??? It drives me crazy. I have two little ones and I check my phone when I have a free moment. I just refuse to have my face buried in my phone as I raise my children. I see so many other parents doing this and I just can't subscribe. Thank you for discussing this issue....really. I wish more people felt like this!

    Sorry for the novel but I find this post to be extremely interesting and I look forward to other responses....

  7. good morning Stacey :) your an amazing couple ... What really stood out to me in Rhondas morning post "is that your spending friends aren't ahead of you. They're behind." & "Being in debt to get what you want doesn't put you ahead of anyone." ...Rhonda certainly makes us all look at simple pleasures in life and not those purchased with debt. :D good luck Stacey & hubby.

  8. I am around the same age and feel that burning need too - and I am not a thing or money oriented person, nor was a brought up that way. I think you are right, Rhonda, in saying that society itself is geared as a consumer society and it is all about getting to us in new faster, brighter and more seductive ways. I have some old cookbooks I was given and they have these hand drawn ads in them from companies that sponsored the book (stove companies, baking soda etc) it wasn't that this marketing didn't exist it just didn't have the means to get into our homes and heads so intensely.
    We also are saving to get a block of land and build an eco-dwelling and so forth...we also feel that pressure to just use credit to do this...but have fought it off because if you sit down and do some basic double entry book keeping you come out worse off in the end (and so do those people who seem to have it all but it is not technically theirs, it belongs to various loan organisations and banks).
    I think the best way to combat it is to work out how you can achieve that big goal in small, every day steps and I have also found it amazingly supportive to seek out and surround myself with others who feel the same. You don't have to see off the friends who are money/thing focussed, you just have to keep them on your terms...most of the time they quietly burn for the same things and inviting them over for a candle lit dinner rather than going out will be a joyful thing for all concerned (etc).
    It doesn't take money to save the world, it takes a great love of all things in the world, large and small :)
    A psych once told me that the large majority of people she saw who felt true unhappiness did so because they were not living their true priorities, they were living the ones others (including media and society) had made them feel were important.
    Thank you Rhonda for talking about this as it is a very real pressure felt by so many that causes them to job-work too much and become unhappy.

  9. I would also tell Stacey she's on the right track. And also keep good company, by which I mean Rhonda's and other blogs in which people are trying to do the same, and books, too - anything which will keep reminding you of your goals and reinforcing your plans. Keep "dosing" yourself with those positives, and then the negatives won't have such an effect.

  10. I think picking up something that will help live a simple life would help. Maybe scout Good will for a nice metal colander for example or buy some small tool you may need on your property at a trunk sale. Learn new skills that will help you live a simple life now. Read all the books you can from the library etc

  11. What a great post and kudos to Stacey for asking such a great question!

    I agree with this post 100%!! I grew up without TV & found that when I did finally get one that within 2 months I wanted a new car, I wanted so many more material things! Now I am aware of that influence & consciously limit TV time & I "check in" and try to see if my wants are truly worth desiring from time to time.

    I think it is a bit of a dance to keep your carrot in sight and also recognize the benefits of waiting...lower mortgage!! Money in your pocket vs in a bank's! Those things are or can become a part of the carrot too, in a sense. They are intangible but very real & kind of the soul of your carrot, if you will! Anyway - lovely lovely question & lovely lovely answer! ---from Lynne, in central New York

  12. I went to the shops yesterday and nearly died. They have these covers that look like rattles for parents to put their iphones in so their babies can play with them whilst they do other things. People really do need to slow down. So many people don't even know how to play with their babies and enjoy them anymore. Why am I mentioning this?... slow down. Dreams are great but value what you also have now. No debt and studying towards a goal whilst on one income. When you work you could be really good and SAVE EVERYTHING YOU EARN and continue to live off one income. Thats what we do.
    Your doing the right thing in regards to your dreams and mortgage. The more you can pay off at the start the better as your repayments will be lower over time. However my only other advice would be perhaps lower your dream a little. 1/2 an acre is still very large. Maybe think about a smaller home aswell. Many people houses are way too big these days. The McMansion generation. I live in a 84m2 townhouse with my family. It forces you to live simplier and save money.

  13. Oh Stacey, it is not just the young that are impatient. I feel an urgency quite a lot to finish things, do things, see things, etc etc. I thought that it may have been fuelled by the loss of my sister when she was just 47 and I now want to cram as much as I can into my life because I think of all the things my sister missed out on. Maybe it is just a "living" thing. I try to talk myself down though and become more grounded in the moment and live my life more mindfully. It is a skill and they always take time to learn.

    Rhonda, i have copied that paragraph about the phone and emailed it to my husband (hope thats OK). As you know I read your post every morning and that paragraph really sang to me. If I am at home engrossed in something and the phone rings, if I dont feel like answering it, I dont. Chris cant understand this. If it is family, they will call me on the mobile. Too many times it is just telemarketers and that annoys me when they interrupt something I want to be doing, not talking to them. I like to choose who I talk to and when as well.
    Thank you again for some lovely words of wisdom to start off my day :)
    Cheerio, Kathy

  14. Stacey, you will be just fine, because you know where you want to be, and are working towards it, and at the same time can recognise what could de-rail you, so are in the position to be able to do something about it. My advice? Just go with what you feel is right, and don't buy into all that pressure you are bombarded with from all sides.

    What I find interesting, though, is the focus on where you get to at the end. This is important, of course, but it is not everything. Life still needs to be enjoyable, so make sure you enjoy the process as much as you think you will enjoy what you are working towards. Just like Rhonda says about her knitting.

    I do cross-stitching. I don't need another cross-stitch to hang on the wall. But I do need the feeling it gives me doing it, watching it come together, teaching me to think about the work that goes into making something. And I can always give it away as a gift when I'm done!

    Find something that gives you that feeling, and you'll be right. Life will throw tough times at you, and sometimes you will want something NOW. But go easy on yourself, and if on balance you are happy and content, then you are doing it right.

  15. I like to focus on the early stages and slow down and enjoy them because I'm impatient too and like to jump in and get started. But I find that if I sit and let the idea simmer, consciously mull over and 'try on' the possible outcomes, then I often change my goals and plans as a result. It's easy to become fixated on a target that we set before really plotting out the journey to get us there. Taking it slow gives me a chance to really question myself and what I think I want (what is it about it that I need/want/love) to find out whether or not I'm on the right path and also to make me savour the planning as well as the process and the end result.

    I've just had a major Big Think about my life and I'm changing things in a pretty big way. It took me a year of restraining myself before I was ready to take the first steps, not because I wasn't ready or sure of what I wanted at the time - but because I knew if I sat and stewed over it then things would become clearer. They did, some of the plans changed and, when I compared my plans at the end of that year to those at the beginning I can now see that they are much better, are more practical and have a very good chance of success. My plans are in place now. It's going to take me four years to achieve them but I know that that first year of 'navel-gazing' and saving were hugely beneficial. Sometimes it felt like a waste and that I should just get on with it all, but I can see that they weren't and that it was all part of the journey.

    Stacy, you need to slow down and enjoy the process. This is the fun bit where you can build your castles in the sky - don't rush it! Plan your garden, plot your savings on a chart, look at the property pages in the paper and 'try on' your ideas for size. Like a good wine or a ripe cheese, this needs time to mature and the end result will be all the better for it. It can feel like you are not progressing while you wait but really, you absolutely are!

  16. This is an interesting follow up to yesterdays 'quiet contemplation'. I struggle to be mindful and enjoy amidst the constant striving for a better/truer life. Sometimes it just seems like too much work to even get there! Rhonda, your advice that many of your achievements 'took their own time' is just what the Dr ordered.

    I don't knit but I do garden - and since embarking on a large scale garden project I am constantly being taught that the process and waiting is part of the joy. It will be 10 years before I really reap the rewards of the hard work. What I have learnt, is that patience is rewarded and can be a joy. I no longer visit a nursery and buy what is in flower, I wait until a plant is dormant and then I divide or buy if I have too (which is infrequent these days). The pleasure of following nature's cycles as opposed to that of the nursery marketing cycles is immense - better for the plants and I've saved a fortune! And the joy when something blooms or produces for the first time is well worth the short-term wait.

    Now, if I can just transfer this wisdom and patience to the other parts of my life, I'm doing well. Thanks Stacey and Rhonda for helping me find my own knitting analogy as I work through the day.

  17. I think that there's a difference between WANTING everything now and EXPECTING everything now. Most of us want things now but understand that it can't or shouldn't happen and can put the sense of discomfort that deferring anything brings, into perspective. It is a normal human tendency to try to get rid of discomfort (cold, hunger, discomfort) even the emotional discomfort that comes from deferring gratification.

    What is (somewhat) of a generational issue is not having learned just to 'sit with' that discomfort or just tolerate it until it goes. We don't value the 'skills' of patience, forebearance, tolerance of hardship, persistence etc any more. And they are skills. They don't come naturally to most folks and need long practise and encouragement.

    Avoidance behaviour (which is usually avoidance of some internal discomfort) is escalating. People use social media to insult others because they would have to tolerate their own emotional discomfort or cope with face to face disapproval if they were more direct. People break off relationships by text message because doing it face to face is uncomfortable. There are billions of dollars of marketing money being spent on encouraging hte NOW impulse and younger people have been on the receiving end of it since they were very impressionable. Fossils like me grew up when 'strength through adversity' and the concept of 'developing one's character' were valued. Grandmas said things like "I WANT, never gets" and "Get on with it, it's character building".

    I have to admit that there have been times in my life that I thought I had more 'character' than was good for me but I'm definitely better at delaying gratification than I was in my younger years. Many, many years of practise and believing that deferring some things was valueable, haven't done any noticeable harm.

  18. The feeling of wanting something now, that incredible sense of urgency, is something everyone experiences to some extent. But Stacey I think it's made much harder by the NOWness of technology. I'm a fan of technology but this instantaneous nature of it, the bombardment of advertising with it creates a hurried constant sense of urgency within us.

    Step back and look at where you are now and what you have done to get there. Don't compare yourself with your friends and wonder how they are doing it all, you're doing it well and by a different path.

  19. Great question and responses. I have a green monster inside (that is jealousy, not eco-ness). My husband once said to me "You know, maybe wishes they had what you have, too." So now I try to remember all the things I have when I start to feel envious of someone. And you can, too. You know what you want you want to do and are working towards that (so many people don't know what they want to do vocationally), you have a husband who is supporting that (some partners will not allow their partners to not work), and you have a dream.

    Another thing I'd say is different people have to wait for different things. I actually bought my place long before any of my friends did. But I had at that time, moved to a new city and didn't have many friends or a partner, and they did. So I had to wait for that instead. And boy am I glad I did. I love my husband so deeply and far more than any other man I'd seen and could have ended up with...

    And finally I remember reading an article years ago on happiness. It said things that people believe will make them happy never make them as happy as they think it will, and the happiness they do get doesn't last. So although it may seem that infinite happiness would result from buying something, it doesn't happen that way.

    Hang in there. It'll be here before you know it.

  20. When I catch myself thinking like this....(how I would love to have our decking now!the boys bedroom finished!fencing around the property!my goats!path ways done!).....I quickly return to appreciating what we already have....our babies,how health,our house,a low mortgage,chickens,sooo many things to be grateful for:)I saw a picture awhile back of a third world mother starving trying to breastfeed her baby and they even barely have water,let alone food.....this is when we have to realise that we in the Western world have soooooooo much abdundance,it almost feels shameful! I was just so grateful that day that we had our tanks full of water and the food I had in the cupboard,nothing else mattered:)

  21. Kathyros... I so appreciate your comment and am so sorry you lost your sister. I struggle with this in a different way. My husband and I have always been good savers and lived frugally. We are in our mid-40s and almost own our house outright. We have good retirement savings and college savings for our kids. But I sometimes feel like we should take more vacations, go skiing with the kids, go to more movies together. I feel like we are too often cheapskates and don't do things that we would really enjoy. Two young women (ages 18 and 22) from our town have lost their lives in the past year. I'd hate to be sorry later that instead of living, I spent too much time saving for that elusive future. Please comment anyone.

  22. I am in a similar position and age group, I love all these comments, thankyou. I find the journey is more enjoyable when I am doing something pro active like researching an area to live thoroughly or breeds of chooks to keep etc. Also finding blogs like this help me stay positive and focused. Research is generally free and you can do it when you have time. Good luck and enjoy the process.

  23. Stacey, you are already ahead, as you are thinking things through,and making informed choices. Making friends with like minded people will be a big help, as you can exchange ideas and get positive feedback for what you do and hope to achieve.

    Advertising is just someone telling you what to do and making you feel like you must do it.....this really doesn't sit well with most of us, who is in charge of your life ?

    Sit down with pen and paper and work out your mortgage figures with the term, payments and interest, you will be horrified at how much you are "GIFTING" to the bank over the term of the loan, if you decide to go ahead, pay off as much as possible in the first years, as the high balance attracts the most interest, the bank didn't work and trade hours of life for this money...You Did !

    Be mindful, really mindful about wants and needs, what if money was no problem, you could fly to the beach, stay in a nice hotel, (where nobody tells you what to do and you could sit in the sun relaxing) ahh bliss ! .......isn't this what Rhonda does on a regular basis ? you can have freedom and peace, you don't need the big bucks.

    I hope your choices bring you peace and joy and connection to the people you love, that's what it's all about.

  24. Stacey be guided by your values and priorities and what will work for you. I too always seemed to be behind my friends. I had my first decent car at 40. This was my first car with airconditioning, and was low kilometres but not brand new. As we could afford it we would upgrade our home. A new kitchen when we had been 7 years in our home etc....

    You can 'have it all' but it comes at a cost.When you gain your degree you will have the capacity to earn a good income. Do you plan to start a family sooner or will you both work and consolidate your savings first?

    If you want it all now, it is likely your child will be in child care while you work to pay off debt.There are so many good websites related to money management. Some calculate the number of years it takes to pay off credit cards if you only pay the minimum rate and nothing more.

    We started off with a basic house first and then went into something else down the track. We still have a 3 bedroom house, but can afford holidays and occasionally overseas holidays.

    Most people these days are expecting to have a 4 or 5 bedroom house with all the trimmings.....dishwasher, new car, 4WD etc but they put themselves under such financial pressure that their kids are raised by others in child care, and they argue about money. I would rather be in a situation where have less but own what you have and choose whether I need to work, rather than having no choice and have to work.

    It is like Rhonda wrote a few days ago about being content with what you have. Having time for the the lifestyle you want.Perhaps you might purchase your desired acreage, but put up a lined shed or barn first?

    There are lots of choices, and you need to be driven by your priorities and values. All the best!

  25. I have nothing but admiration for Stacey. I can't believe how thoughtful and considered their approach to settling down is.

    I would only ask that instead of looking outwards at her friends for comparison, that Stacey looks inwards. Compare where you are today with last week, last month, last year. Does that feel better? Let your friends do there thing and you do yours. There is is never one ounce of satisfaction to be gained by comparison.

    Good luck with saving and building your dreams, bit by bit they will soon be real and all the more wonderful for taking your time.

    "Don't let comparison steal your joy" - Justine Russo.

  26. Hi Stacey. I admire you and your husband for your decision to wait especially when people around you aren't. It is sometimes difficult to stand back and not follow the crowd, but you will be stronger for it. Maybe you could start doing some of the things you want to do when you buy your own place now. Could you have a little vege garden now whether in the ground or in containers? You could grow some herbs in pots to take with you. Could you have a few chooks in a small pen and let them out to free range? You might be already, but you could make Rhonda's soap and laundry detergent to save money? Making your food from scratch saves money too. There are many ways of making things for yourself to save money. Rhonda's blog is a great place to start.

    Also when you buy your land and build remember you don't have to have the biggest and the best. We have built a home out of colourbond and it was so much cheaper than a brick home. We now have a really small mortgage. I am so thankful as we don't have the pressure on us now that others have.

    Good luck Stacey. This blogging world is great because you can connect with like minded people that can support you in your decisions. You don't need to feel so alone and different. I think you're doing the right thing. You'll know when the time is right, just listen to YOUR heart. xxoo

  27. Maybe Stacey and her husband could rent a small property?,I know in the country you can often find cheap farm rentals,its just all about change really too and how much you want to live on the land and try to make it happen in other ways that could be faster while they save still? (sorry for posting twice... I should get back to homeschooling now,we just had our lunchbreak!,lol..just was thinking on this thread while I was getting lunch ready!)

  28. I too am working hard at spending my time mindfully.
    One thing I have learnt is that instant gratification doesn't bring satisfaction but often brings debt and regret.

  29. Thank you Stacey for asking such a wonderful question and thank you Rhonda for posting it here for us all to read.

    Your words Stacey felt like they were coming out of my own mouth. I began university this year (I'm studying to become a teacher also) as I knew that once I had my degree I would be on a decent salary and I would also be able to be there for my school-aged child because of the fantastic working hours of teachers. However I really struggle trying to live off only one income. I often think about deferring university and just going out to work. But then I remember that if I went out to work now I would have to put my child in before and after school care, I would probably be doing something I don't enjoy, I wouldn't be earning as much money as I would if I had a degree and in the future will I have the skills I need to get back in the workforce if I take time off again to have more children? These questions help put things in perspective for me. Do you and your hubby have children? Or are you planning to?

    I also struggle with the WANT WANT WANT of life! Right now I want a bigger house on more land, I want to live over east, I want more children, I want more money, I want a degree, I want a better car, I want to take a holiday but on top of all that I want to live a simple life. Go figure? I completely contradict myself. I think you're on the right track. Not long now until you have finished university and you'll be out earning money again which will help tremendously with your savings! The end goal is in sight, don't give up now! You're so close!

    And lastly thanks Rhonda for talking about mobile phones! I recently wrote a blog post on the same issue. The instantaneous nature of technology and what it is doing to us is quite sad. I'm 23 years old and I hate that people expect me to always answer my phone. This weekend I couldn't be bothered answering it as I was busy doing things around the house but the calls didn't let up. Eventually I told my partner to answer it and it turns out my family were worried something had happened to me just because I hadn't answered my phone. I also saw those toys advertised for babies pouchiemumma and I was absolutely appalled and disgusted!! An ipad or an iphone has no role in a baby's development. This is something I feel very strongly about. At the moment my 5 year old is asking me for a nintendo ds for Xmas because all his friends have one. I simply said "you're way too young, ask me again when you're ten". Technology interferes with family time enough, I'm not going to be responsible for bringing anymore of it into the home.

    Anyway sorry for the rant. I really enjoyed the blog post today!!

  30. I have total respect for Stacey and how she is asking these questions. My only suggestion is for Stacey and her husband to do what is right by their dreams and ethos. To compare to others is a waste of energy and the only winner there is usually the retailers. Be true and be happy.

  31. Wow what a lot of responses there are today, and they are so wonderfully positive. Stacey I hope you feel all this support. After reading all this I reflected on the fable of the tortise and the hare. We can be the tortise, and we can be happy with that and have a wonderful time on our journey to a simple life.
    I was bought up that only a house/farm or large farm equipment were the things to go into debt for, not a car, not a new fridge and certainly not a tv etc. It is what I hope that I am teaching my kids. For myself I have to tell myself "Do I NEED this?" Most of the time the answer is no. The item stays on the shelf. We have made the shift to buying special things for the kids only on their birthdays.
    Uni.mum I have the same trouble with my 9 yo. He so badly wanted a ds and me to be the one to buy it. I said he could buy it with his own pocket money. He was only getting $4 a week, took him for ages (taught paitence) and now sits on his shelf. As for the x-box I send him to his friends place. Irony is he thinks he mates place is the best, yet his mate thinks here is the best because I chase them outside to play.

  32. Stacey, keep your strength of character, girl, and give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to your plans. When you do achieve your dream, you will look back and realise that the time went very quickly, after all. We aren't born with patience as you know; it is cultivated in us by various life situations/events just as is happening to you now.

    In the time when you aren't at Uni, could you be learning new skills for your future simple life, or doing some handcrafts? If you can see progress being made in these small ways, it might give you some measure of satisfaction and contentment in the "waiting" time.

    Re mobile phones - It amazes me that having a mobile phone seems to be obligatory! Neither my husband nor myself have one and have no desire to do so. Like you, Rhonda, I don't want to - or need to - be contactable at any hour of the day.

    Do people ever wonder how we got by in the "olden days"? When I was a young married mum (30 years ago) we lived in a house that didn't have a phone - a landline as it is called nowadays. Yet life went on quite normally. There was a lot more letter writing to distant family and friends (ah, the joy of getting a proper letter in the mail!) and always a public phone if something was urgent.

    Lyn in northern New South Wales.

  33. Starting a gratitude diary made a huge difference for me. Looking over the five things I'm grateful for each night I can't help but notice they're hardly ever material things. Mine are usually "I am grateful for
    *fresh peppermint tea made with mint from the garden
    *finding a great book at the library
    *perfect washing weather (something I'm grateful for today after all that rain!)
    *my giggling baby girl
    *supportive husband
    This simple habit has slowly changed the way I look at my life. One day I noticed I was really content rather than wanting more, more, more. I do it every night in bed before I drift off to sleep and my last thoughts of the day are happy grateful ones.

    I also try to meditate everyday. This helps keep me calm and focused.

  34. Thank you so much for this post Rhonda! This is something I struggle with all the time (in fact I wrote a blog post on this subject just the other day!) I am horribly, horribly impatient and most of my dreams seem so off, which can be very disheartening. I put far too much energy into looking forward and wishing everything would hurry up, when I know I would be much better off using my energy to savour the happy moments of the present and make small changes now that will help us later (like saving for a home deposit!) It's comforting to know I'm not alone in this struggle...

    Katie x

  35. Thanks everyone for this, such a great discussion. Was it Audrey who worries about being too frugal? I was widowed in my twenties so I know that it is a balance between the present and the future. If you found out tomorrow that you were dying what would you do? Take the children skiing? Travel together? Have other adventures? If yes, that s your answer, if you wouldn't change a thing then keep on going as you are. Much of what Rhonda is doing is living well in the present, as well as securing their future.

  36. Great question Stacey - I bet there aren't many of us not identifying totally with these feelings of frustration and impatience! I blogged about this subject recently as part of my Frugal Friday series.
    Our long term goal is to move around 700 miles away, to one of the Islands we visit regularly, and be as self-sufficient as possible there while working whatever jobs we need to as part of a "patchwork lifestyle" in order to pay our way. The key to this is is having no housing costs once we are there, and the key to that is of course paying off our current mortgage. On the terms on which we took it out, that would happen in 2028 - however as a result of overpaying we are currently on track to get it gone in just 6 years from now. There are times when we have felt we just wanted to up and go, and start working on the final part of our dream RIGHT NOW - it's not practical of course - we need to know that the bricks and mortar we end up with there are ours, with not a penny owed to anyone for them, only that way can we then live the life we want.
    Focus on the end dreams Stacey - the harder you work now in terms of being frugal, and thrifty, the quicker those will come about. The better also for you once they have come about, as you will already have skills & habits ingrained that will last you a lifetime. Rhonda is right - YOU are in front of your friends, not they in front of you - they'll come to realise this - probably when you throw a home-catered party to celebrate your mortgage being paid off, whilst they still have years to go on theirs.

  37. Totally agree with the previous post. Perhaps if we spent more energy enjoying all the things that we DO have and less time on the things we don't have...and in doing so become more grateful, we would be happier. I also think that there is alot of judgement and assumptions out there.When we don't always know what goes on behind closed doors. Eg...s/he must be so much happier than me because they have a bigger house when in fact s/he are totally miserable because they are working too much and still cannot afford the repayments? Just remember things aren't always what they seem. Be happy, be grateful and be content with all the beautiful things you have going for you and you will reap the rewards. You sound very smart and sensible and you will reach your dream. I would imagine you will be so much more appreciative of it too when you know how hard you have worked to get there. Goodluck on your journey.

  38. Wow! So many responses!!

    Rhonda, and to every one who has posted, thank you for the kind words of encouragement. I feel less alone seeing all these comments of people having the same feelings. I felt that it was just me- I never heard anyone talk about having a trait of WANTING WANTING WANTING and seemed to feel badly about it. Certainly no one talks about it openly and the pressures of feeling like they can't keep up within my circle of friends/family.

    My husband and I are continuing on the savings wagon and living frugally. I am always amazed what a wonderful man I married who not only allowed me to quit my high-paying job but be supported financially by him as I go back to university for the third time - I am 26, and yes, I have an addiction to education! :)

    When the time comes, we are open to options of homeschooling our children if we don't find a system/school that fits with our values or I will continuing teaching whilst they attend school. We have very clear ideas in our mind of values, ethics and strengths we wish to install in our children and have spoken extensively on parenting styles so there will be a united partnership.

    There are times that it becomes harder to live this life - friends travelling overseas, others having babies, some buying their second property etc. Those are the hard times. But my husband reminds me that people will always have judgement on what your "next step" should be in your stage of life. We found this out after dating a year when people would remind us we should be getting engaged (we didn't until three years), then we MUST get married within the year (we didn't) and then we MUST start trying for a baby on our honeymoon (again nope!) and now it is that we MUST buy because its the next step to do......

    Our choice in deferring children and rushing into a mortgage has been done thoughtfully because in the long run we want to ensure that we never have to struggle and live beyond our means. I feel so appreciative that you took the time Rhonda to reaffirm to me that I am on the right track. I just need to "sit" with the uncomfortableness of WANTING WANTING WANTING and recognise it for what it is - media, technology, advertising, peer pressure etc - and then let it go.

    Bless you all. xxx

  39. What a great topic of discussion. It's so relevant in this day and age. I've just recently started to tune into this blog and I love the ideas and philosophies behind it. It's great to be amongst like minded people.
    I can definitely identify with Stacey. I'm only relatively young myself- in my early 20's. I can say with pride I saved for my first car myself and paid for it all on my own. I watched friends take money from their parents, that they did not pay back so they could purchase their cars. I walked and had to catch public transport up until I had saved enough. It wasn't easy but what sense of achievement. I think you'll be just fine Stacey. You sound like you have a level head on your shoulders.
    One interesting point made by Kathyros And Andrea that really hit home for me is the notion of simple living and what I call (for lack of a better phrase) making the most of opportunities. My partner went to America to do teaching. He did not have all the money he needed saved and he did not get paid enough in America to cover expenses. He took out a credit card to travel and is still paying it back now, even though his travels were some time ago.
    He has often questioned if his travels were the best decision he could have made based on his financial situation at the time. The memories and experiences from his travels are priceless and they have made part of who he is today. He took a once in a life time opportunity and I don't think he regrets it one bit and I definitely don't think he should feel guilty or be judged for wanting something "now". We all make decisions in our lives that we believe are for the best.
    Sorry to write so much- this topic has really resonated with me. Thanks Rhonda and Stacey for such a great topic for discussion!

  40. Great dream Stacey! Keep going! Instant gratification is a trap. I see it all the time in the students I teach. My wife Mel and I (both early 30s) moved from suburbia to some property 3 months ago as the culmination of a few years of dreaming and planning - and it's wonderful! The chooks and vegies are doing great, and (thanks Rhonda!) we're making our own laundry liquid.

    A terrific lifestyle, well worth the pursuit!

  41. Stacey , I think you are a very smart young woman with a man to help you decide what you want and where you want to be in at a certain time in your lives. One thing that may help you is to look around at the different places and houses you like and if you see something like you want , take a picture and put it on your bathroom mirror. That way you will see , every day , what you are working for. So good luck to you and your hubby.

  42. Dasher, I agree totally ! I like to think of this quote I found . No one knows who said it but here it is : If you change the way you look at things , the things you look at change. This kinda helps me to think before I rush into buying anything. Hope it helps someone else too.

  43. Stacey, this is something I'm struggling with at this very moment as well. I am 32, my husband is 40 and we have 3 boys (5yr,3yr and 1yr) and we do have our acreage debt free from a lot of sacrific and hardwork. It seems like we have it all and we do but I still want more. I want the renovations to be done, I want a couple more properties for our retirement, I want another child, I want I want I want. I am doing all I can to re-think what is going on in my head and making sure I know the difference from I want and I need.

  44. I'm thinking of the end line to a Chris Smither song....something like,'I'm not a passenger, I am the ride'. I battled a complexity of eating disorders as a teenager and one of the things I learned in my return to health was the precious spice of appetite and the delight of being simply, yet perfectly satisfied. There seems to be a timing.....a kind of natural ripening to everything which sadly much of the modern way of life runs rough shod over in it's frenzy for more and better which i honestly don't see making for any greater well being or happiness.

  45. Hello again. I really like the point raised by Andrea. I don't have many answers for you, but I agree it is hard balancing long term with living life to the full. Perhaps Rhonda you could run a post on that and we could see what amazing responses we get? My husband and I are working furiously (in and out of the home) to pay off debt, save for our children's education etc. But meanwhile we feel life is passing us by in some respects and we'd like some adventure in our lives.


  46. P.S. I am finding the anti spam code very difficult to read. Has it changed or are my eyes getting worse?

  47. Hi Stacy, the first thing that came into my mind when I read how frantic you were feeling with the desire to have everything, is to meditate. It is the most wonderful antidote for the craving that pulls at your guts. It helps with being mindful with what you are doing at any one time and keeps an inner calm that is priceless. I don't meditate as often as I should but I know when I get anxious or frantic it is time to get back into it. There is bound to be a meditation class nearby. Good luck you are on the right track. Dayla

  48. I don't have any answers for you. You do what feels right for you and your hubby. Do not worry about other people and what they have or what they appear to have. For many years I was caught up in the mindset of having what the jones' have. It took some time to see what I have right in front of my nose. I may not have travelled I may not have reached the lofty goals I set myself in my job, but I'm not without. Its difficult to break away from that mindset but I found this blog, setting my own personal goals, lots of grounding activities-gardening, cooking etc, exercise and yoga helped. Set your goals and dreams and focus on theses. I also age with mobile phones. Now my husband and I don't have a home phone as we are on a good plan for mobiles, so mobile phones is the only way of contacting us via phone. I often switch mine off. I have Internet free days, facebook free days....while I enjoy the convince of modern technology (I have thoroughly embraced Internet banking etc) but sometimes we need a break from it all.

  49. Stacy, You have such a great future ahead of you! One idea I had that might help would be to create some sort of system that will help you visually see the progress you're making toward your goal. (I'm thinking of a poster or some other way of tracking your progress.) This might give you a sense of "reward" every time you look at it and help you hold of those feelings of want, want, want. I know that kind of thing helps motivate me and keeps me focused.

  50. This post is so familiar to me. I know that urge and it has a sense of anxiousness about it, like grab it now before its gone feeling! My husband and I have been focussed on our goal for 8 long years, we now have no debt and more than enough to put a deposit on a homestead. My biggest battle was that we rent and always seeing my friends and neighbours renovating and doing serious decorating got me so itchy for my own place, somewhere to put my roots down.
    I think your desision, Stacey, to remain on track shows much strength. A saying that has truely helped me over the yers and I hope it helps you too is "Don't sacrifice the future on the altar of the present" Also on your side is your partner with the same goal, it makes a difference when there is someone to encourage you to keep on keepin on!

  51. I'm with you! I sometimes feel the same, that my waiting for our house is silly and we should just do what others around us do and get into heaps of debt, fill our home with mass produced stuff that's "in" and so on. But with you I resist and will keep resisting! Being able to live on 1 income with 2 small children is so so so valuable and we can be more generous with our money than our friends who seem to have it all. In the long run, like Rhonda says, we win and our family win. Good luck!!!!


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