Nick and I have been feeling a gnawing sense of frustration.

Everything in us wants to escape The System.  The System of enslavement to debt… The System of the Status Quo… The System of Work…Eat…Sleep…Watch TV… (and repeat the process)… you know, The System!

Admittedly, we have come a long way.

We have been without a TV for over 2 years now (and haven’t missed it… at all!).  We have significantly reduced all our debt – and have paid off everything (except the house).  Our monthly expenses have been deliberately reduced to the bare minimum.  We haven’t renewed our cell phone contracts.  We pay less for medical aid.  We no longer have a full-time nanny working for us.  We no longer pay school fees (homeschooling)… or swimming lessons (I teach them swimming now).  We no longer have any debt on things like clothing accounts or the like.

The biggest expense (at this time) has been renovating the house (so we can sell it for a decent profit).  We didn’t want to get in to debt to do this.  So renovations have been annoyingly… and frustratingly… slow.  All of our spare cash gets poured into renovations (which should have been finished months ago!).

Above:  Slow progress.

To add more frustration into the stew – we’ve had a range of annoying (and costly) mishaps happen over the past few months.  Our car needed to be serviced (and repaired – after I had driven it into the snow) – (ka-ching!).    Nick had to get X-rays and injections for his messed up shoulder (ka-ching!).  I’ve needed a fair amount of dental work (ka-ching!).  The bulb on Nick’s film projector needed to be replaced (ka-ching!).  The car license needed to be renewed (ka-ching!)  Joah threw a giant marble which accidentally smashed the back window of his grandfather’s car as it was parked in our driveway (ka-ching!).

Above:  It doesn’t help when stuff like this happens!

We felt a lot like the characters in the movie, “UP!”… trying so hard to save for their Big Dream and constantly having “stuff” to deal with (and pay for) which, in turn, stole the savings and The Dream.  (Thankfully, we’ve yet to have to deal with a big tree falling on to our home).

The Renovations have also costed more than expected (not surprising, mind).  We are SO CLOSE to being finished…  so… so… close!!!

In fact, just a few days ago, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel!  2 more weeks – and our house would be completely finished… and on the market!

And then yesterday….

Nick received a call from the Receiver of Revenue!  They wanted an extra R10 000 ($1 157) for tax (which he dutifully paid).

And just like that… renovations money… gone (again!)

And now… the Money-Spending-Season is here again.  Christmas is just around the corner (which includes family members expecting presents).  My 40th birthday party is next weekend (I was hoping to celebrate my 40th AND having our house on the market – not to be, as it turns out)…  Morgan’s 7th birthday party is the Saturday after that…  and then it’s December (season of work-drying-up-completely).

It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to escape The System…. and especially the system of debt!

I thought we’d have this whole thing waxed months ago!  But we haven’t.  And I’m still trying to figure out whether we should spend our cash on new taps for the downstairs bathrooms… or a new hairdo for my 40th.    One will make me feel pretty… the other will bring me one baby-step closer to our Big Family Adventure.

Which do I value the most?