This past weekend, we held a garage sale at our home. The main purpose was to clear out stuff that we don't use, can't use, never used or just don't want. That was the goal, and it was a success. "One persons junk is another's treasure." We cleared about $300, but the main point was to cleanse.
Lisa and I are in the midst of living in to a newer lifestyle. During our sabbatical, we had a chance to investigate a relatively new phenomenon called "Minimalism." The chief spokespersons, though there are many are two 30 something guys called "The Minimalists." The best summary can be found in the the film Minimalism. The trailer is below.
I commend the film to you. You can find it easily on Netflix.
But this is not something new, as Richard Foster, the Quaker theologian, reminded us in his book The Freedom of Simplicity. I stumbled upon it in a used book store, or was it a leading of the Holy Spirit or a form of Synchronicity? Foster doers an excellent job of laying out the biblical and the historical precedence for a life of simplicity. In short, this is our heritage as followers of Yahweh, Moses, Jesus, St. Francis, Luther and King.
A fellow pastor mentioned Mr. Money Moustache as a contemporary guy who is living in to this simpler lifestyle. He's a quirky character, who made his bucks in Software Engineering, and now lives off what he made, BUT he only spends $23,000 - $27,000 a year.
But, it was Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University that has helped me most with a plan. Dave is an aggressive guy, and his theology is a little simplistic (big on Proverbs, short on New Testament) but his money planning is very clear. I've found him helpful. He doesn't mess around, largely because he encounters lots of people who don't take financial planning seriously. I commend the course to you, with the warning that Dave makes lots of assumptions about couples being heterosexual, as well as his gender norms can be off (women like to buy clothes, guys like Home Depot) A good summary of the course can be found in this profile article.
All of this has been put into a blender that mean's we are focused on paying off debts, saving for the future, simplifying our lifestyle, going to the library, getting rid of crap, spending time and money on people and experiences, oh, and enjoying the opportunity to be outrageously generous.
There is indeed, freedom in simplicity.