Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about new technology that is coming out, and it made me stop and take stock of the things I own.  And I realized that I could be considered outdated.

My cell phone is not a Blackberry or an iPhone; it doesn’t even have a keyboard!

My television is not flat screen, we don’t have cable (one less bill) and we don’t own a DVD player-we watch movies on a Playstation 2.

We have nice laptops, but mine is secondhand and Nason’s is issued by his work.

Most of our furniture was free, and all of it was previously loved.

In truth, none of these things really bothers me.  If I had an iPhone, I would probably use it and love it, but I don’t stress about the fact that I don’t.  I like new furniture, but I’m perfectly happy with the 20+ year old sofas we got from my parents.  New things are nice, but I find that constantly pursuing the latest style or toy will only lead to discontent in the long run.  There will always be things out there that are newer and cooler than what I own.  And wasting time striving for those things seems silly-I’d rather spend time with people than shopping around for the latest and greatest thing.  So I’ll stick with my cell phone that only has T9 for now.

At least, I will until it stops working.  Then maybe I’ll see about something with QWERTY.

A few months ago, when we initially started looking at houses, Nason and I made a big and risky decision-we started putting my paycheck into savings and began to live solely off of his.  Now, we did not make that much money to begin with, but we still made enough to get what we needed and then some.  We lived well within our means, and so we were pretty comfortable.  However, when we made our decision, that meant losing a third of our budget every two weeks (Nason makes more an hour and works more hours, so he makes about twice as much as me).  This meant we had to drastically alter our lifestyle.  We stopped going to the movies, and we rarely eat at restaurants, and we started (occasionally) using our credit cards to carry us over until the next paycheck.  Now, we really live paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes it’s tough.

But, even though it’s difficult, it has actually been beneficial in so many ways.  We communicate more about our finances than we did before.  We are less wasteful, and we are smarter shoppers because we have to be.  Despite taking such a cut in our budget, we are still debt free, and I do not see that changing anytime soon.  And our savings account looks fantastic.  Even though we occasionally use money from savings on projects such as our garden or the trip we are taking this weekend, we consistently put more money in than we are taking out, so our savings account has been steadily growing, which was the initial idea.

Honestly?  I think we have more fun now than we did before.  While we do not go out on dates as often as we used to, we like to go hiking, or spend fun nights at home.  We have two Nerf dart pistols, and we will run around the house shooting each other.  Our life is quieter now, and I like it.

This is our good life-while we are pretty poor, we are incredibly happy, and I honestly think that we are better with our finances now than before.  Having to handle our money differently has led us to be more responsible with what we have, and we are better stewards for it.  Even though our lifestyle has changed, our level of happiness is still the same, if not higher.  That is what the good life should be, right?  I think so.

Today was my first day off since finishing my Spring semester, which means it was my first day off without a sense of urgency since January.  To celebrate, I decided to do something I enjoy, but do not get to do often. I went shopping.

I went to Bookman’s to find some books to read over the summer.  After poring over various novels, I finally narrowed it down to three: Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Ties the Knot, and David Levithan’s How They Met and Other Stories.  I can not wait to start reading again, after a semester of mostly textbooks and only a couple of good novels.  The only question is which one to start with???

After Bookman’s, I suddenly realized how close I was to a used furniture store.  Of course, I had to go in and take a look around.  I love old furniture.  I love the way used furniture stores are hodgepodged together like a maze, with new surprises around every corner.  Like the stone and glass chess set (yes it was missing two pieces, but that only added to the charm), or the tall bookshelf with the old white paint.  I loved the embroidered chair that comes with a tiny footrest, and the writing desks that fold down to reveal secret drawers.  I like the smell of furniiture stores-a combination of fabric, wood and memories.  There is always something unique and exciting, and I love searching for it.  I didn’t buy anything today, I simply spent the time wandering through the store, admiring the interesting pieces.

On a side note, our kitchen table was a used furniture find.  It is a funky little octogonal thing, with these fantastic chairs that have high backs, and it is wooden and sturdy.  I love it! 

After going to Bookman’s and the furniture store, I went down to Sunflower Market to pick up a few things, primarily peanut butter.  I love Sunflower Market mostly because of their great deals on produce, especially organic, as well as their great bulk selection of nuts and dried fruit.  I picked up some dried fruits and almonds to attempt to make homemade Lara Bars today, and I also bought some asparagus, which will go great with dinner tonight. And of course I didn’t forget the peanut butter.

All in all, I’d say it was a nice day off.  Now to get cooking!