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“I don’t really care what other people think.”

As many of you know, my husband and I lived on beans and rice while he was in law school in order to stay out of debt. It wasn’t easy–especially when many others around us were living extravagantly when they had no money to do so.

But one of the biggest lessons we learned was to be content with what we have and stop worrying about what others think. From the old cars to the thrift store clothes to the coupon-clipping to the eating at home, we just got used to being weird and it didn’t bother us if we were the only ones pinching pennies.

One of the things we did to save money was to only have one car for a few years. While it’s nice to have two vehicles, we certainly learned that it is a luxury, not a necessity. And we got along just fine as a one-car family.

When Jesse got a job with a long commute, we saved up and bought a second vehicle–an old blue minivan. This vehicle has been Jesse’s mode of transportation for the last few years and he’s driven Old Blue Van all over the state to his various court appearances and attorney functions. He’s gotten quite a few funny looks and interesting remarks from other attornies since it’s definitely not the typical car a lawyer would drive.

After a number of years of scrimping, saving, investing, and working hard, we’re now in a position where we could afford to pay cash for a newer, nicer car. So I’ve been thinking recently about how badly I felt that Jesse was still driving such a clunker and guessing he probably got tired of the comments about his less-than-ideal vehicle, even though he never has once complained about it.

So I told Jesse the other day that I’d like for us to save up to pay cash for a better car for him. He looked at me and said sincerely, “I don’t need a new car and I don’t care what other people think.”

I love that guy! And I completely agree with him: There’s such a freedom in not having to spend time stressing about impressing other people.

We’ll probably buy a newer vehicle at some point in the not-too-distant future (likely when Old Blue Van breathes its last breath!), but in the mean time, we’re content and thankful. After all, we have two vehicles–a luxury that many people can’t even fathom!

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  • Lori says:

    When my husband and I got married 14 years ago, neither one of us really had any idea what it meant to live frugally. I wish now that we had more wisdom in how to wisely use the money that God had blessed us with.
    We are a two car family with 2004 and 1999 wagons (purchased used) We plan on running them into the ground. At this time my husband cannot see us being a one car family but I continually assure him that if something should happen to one of them, we would do just fine!
    My sincere desire now is to teach my children (two daughters and one son) how to correctly view money and to use it wisely. Debt is a hard burden to carry (we are struggling to get out from under credit card debt) and that going into debt should be the absolute last option.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Lorrie says:

    Thanks for your honesty and encouragement. We went through Crown Finacial several years ago and finally got ourselves out of horrible straits. Life was better, but not great. A year ago my husband took a 15% pay cut and I started couponing with a vengence. Well, we are doing fine and have more food, etc than ever before and we are able to bless others with the abundance. I feel it’s like the loaves and fishes at times!! We are going through FPU at our church and I am very inspired to get our 3-6 months emergency fund. We are debt free except for our first mortgage (have lived in this house almost 20 years), praise the Lord. I am usually content with what I have but my husband struggles with this but I have seen the Lord work on him this past year and it is wonderful. We go on vacation paying with cash (nothing fancy) and are teaching our kids these same principles. It is hard to do with teenagers and different personalities. Well, thank you for your website. I go to it almost every day to get info and inspiration. Again, thanks and God bless.

  • Alexandra says:

    This is so so beautiful! I am with you on this one — I don’t care what people think..especially when it can save me money. I had the hippest phone for a few months but was spending an arm and a leg on monthly payments. So I switched to a pay as you go cell phone. It’s not as glamorous or expensive, but my Net10 phone that I bought at Target gets the job done. & it’s only 10 cents a minute — I am saving so much money. Definitely worth it!

  • Amanda says:

    I loved this post! I’m 28 and my husband is 30. We both drive paid for cars (a Honda with 175k miles and a GMC with 105k miles), have a paid for house, and NO debt! We started listening to Dave Ramsey five years ago when we got married, we both got on board with living a debt free life and we couldn’t be happier. It’s a great feeling to know that we can now plan the rest of our lives with total financial freedom!!! Thank you for your website and all you do!

  • Shannon says:

    Hi Crystal-I have went without a personal vehicle many times in my life and while it was an inconvenience at times, it didn’t kill me. When I think of insurance, fuel and maintenance costs, I sure don’t miss it! Right now, I share a vehicle with relatives and it works out fine. I had an elderly neighbor who grew up in the Great Depression and it wasn’t uncommon for people in a neighborhood to share a vehicle. Good for your husband, for sticking to his guns and not allowing judgmental people to change his mind!

  • Connie says:

    My husband is a lieutenant in the fire dept and he drives a 1982 Datsun truck – one that he bought new the year before we married. I drive a 1995 van (a hold-over from when we had kids). Our only “nice” car is away at college with our youngest who’s a senior. We won’t buy a new car until we have to. The best part is we’re the original owners of all of our cars so they’ve been cared for and should last us a few more years.

    Because I had to stop working full-time a few years ago because of MS, not having overspent came in handy. You never know where your life can take you.

    Congrats on living happily with less.


  • Andrea says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m new to your site and trying to figure this stuff out. We just came out of 5 years of being in YWAM and having our own business (which we had to close). We have re-entered the real world with debt and one vehicle. We are doing the Ramsey life and are starting to actually feel the excitement of seeing the debt fall away. We are surrounded by friends with money and it is hard at times to show up in our old mini-van or have them over to our sparsely furnished rental…but my kids are happy and healthy and they don’t know the difference! It helps to know that there are others out there in our shoes…keeps us pressing on!

  • Tonya says:

    I have to agree that not caring what people think of your possesses is the biggest relief! We have friends talk about television shows all the time and we reply we don’t have cable. We don’t have a dvr and all the other things people think are necessary but it makes me happier to live simpler 🙂

  • Rochelle says:

    This post is exactly what we needed.

  • Kate says:

    It is hard to live by that motto. After a brief shopping trip to Kohls with my mom and sister, it is easy to fall into a attitude of ‘wanting’. It is not until I break out of my house or scrubs from work, that I realize all of the material things that I think I need.

    Then I remind myself that my friends and family will love me just the same when I show up to functions in the same outfits I’ve had for years. I guess I will just consider myself lucky that I can still fit into my clothes from college 10 years ago. 🙂

  • Carrie Beth says:

    Hi! I love your website and appreciate your tips and witness. We have two cars which are both over ten years old. Our family is all at least 5 hours away. My husband travels extensively by car for work and I stay at home and take our sons to scouts, soccer, church, homeshool co-op, etc. We live 45 minutes from our church. We are not worried about what other people think (we have driven these cars which we bought used for 6-7 years and they were not perfect by any means when we bought them), but it is becoming increasingly difficult not having newer, more reliable vehicles. Sometimes if your circumstances dictate that you drive fairly often, a newer, more reliable vehicle is the way to go, and there is no reason to feel guilty for not keeping the older ones. Thanks for letting me share!

  • Amanda says:

    Good for you! I love to hear stories like this. Keeping it simple and still fun at the same time because you can laugh about it!

  • ANNE says:

    Would you feel the same way if your husband was not a lawyer, money was tight, no money for saving, AND you drove a clunker?

  • Jana says:

    This is such an inspirational post. And it could not come at a better time as we are moving from two cars to one car as a way to cut costs. Thanks!

  • Sharee says:

    Thanks for the post! I’m just starting to see how exhausting it is to worry what others think all the time. It feels good to not care so much. I think there are different levels of caring. As I look back over the past years I can see how each year I seem to care a little less what people think. It really is freeing.

  • Maria says:

    Sometimes I think “Mommy blogs” are about romanticizing motherhood. I was so skeptical of this blog until this post. Yes, keeping it simple and real is so important. It is not easy to live on rice and beans when others are living on prime rib and all the fancy-smancy. We are in our 30’s with 2 little ones and my husband is in seminary. Sometimes it is a struggle to feel normal living in 800 square feet while we honor the call. Thanks for your living simply section. bless you.

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