“WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!!” I overheard the tired frazzled mum yelling at her boy as he threw himself on the floor in a tantrum next to the shopping centre ride.

Coming from a family of 6, I heard these words a lot growing up. It seemed we never had enough money for anything and without realising it, the subliminal message of what my parents were teaching me started to become ingrained in my mind.

Money will get you things.
Money will make you happy.
Money is the answer to all your problems.

We always seem to need more money.

I’m a do-er. See a problem, fix it! And so while young, my head told me I wanted more money – and I started working as soon as I was able to. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me everything I wanted, so I will get the money myself.

As soon as I could, I started looking for work after school – and was hired by Kristy’s mum who runs Harleys Educational on English Street in Cairns. “Just give that girl a job!” I still remember her saying when I visited the store for the umpteenth time asking for work. (Thanks Jenny!)

I worked before school, after school, skipped sports carnivals to work, worked on weekends, school holidays – anytime I had free and the shop was open – I wanted to be there! I had my eyes on the money!

I think my parents were happy that I was so eager to work instead of doing what most teenagers were doing instead. They were proud of the daughter who knew you don’t get something for nothing. I thank my parents so much for that life lesson.

The people I worked with became my second family (it’s where I first met Kristy) as we all spent so much of life together. I had a lot of fun and was so fortunate to be working in a place where they not only employed you, but cared enough about you to mould you for the future. Some kids are not so lucky.

They also taught me so many life lessons there I will always be grateful for.

But it wasn’t until I quit full time work to have my first child that I realised how seriously out of whack my priorities in life were. It was good to get out of the “work to eat to play to sleep to work” routine and suddenly this new little person in my world exploded what was my never ending mission to get more money.

Suddenly the greater asset became time.
This became even more concrete when my father had serious health issues and we were close to losing him. If the cancer took him, would I have regrets about not spending enough time with him?

Isn’t that what we always want while we weep for lost ones? More time?

Money is a tough one, because we do need it. But sometimes we need to stop and ask the question

How much is enough? When will we be content?
I recently shared a message with the kids at our youth group about living more simply. Instead of looking at what you don’t have – take a good look at what you do. I think the message was indeed for me also. I still can’t read a junk mail catalogue without wanting something else (which is why my letter box says ‘No Junk Mail’ now!)

So difficult in the flow of life where everything is screaming at us to get more. Media is full of it.

So what do I really want to say when I tell my children ‘no’ to that toy or shop ride?

Now that my older two understand finances more, we have been taking the time to think about the message our ‘no’ is sending them.

We are not poor. We eat every day and have a roof over our heads – which is a lot more than most of the majority of the world do. Why are we as humans always searching for more??

I often tell our kids we can afford it – but instead we want to be wise with the money we have been given and spend it on things that last. Or share to help other people in more need then us. This makes us happier too – and 2 for the price of 1 is a great bargain in anyone’s books!

Anyway, just my mind ramblings. Thanks for taking the time to read – I do appreciate it – and hope you feel content with where you are in this massive scale.

How do you stop yourself when you’ve had enough? How do you feel content?



About the Author

Kelly has been enjoying volunteering on The Imperfect Mum page for years now, scheduling questions and working behind the scenes with the forever growing inbox!

Posted in:  Sisterhood Stories, Kelly (IM2)

8 Replies

Heidi Clark

Great read Kelly! I think its all about the human conditioning of wanting more. Why?? Well I don't really know. I know for my family we'd could do with some more money. But thats because we are missing the money I was earning. (I was made redundant late last year & still havn't secured another job). While we manage and make do with what we have the problem lies in the debts that are building as making the repayments on everything simply doesnt fit into our budget. For me enough is being able to pay the bills each fortnight, the rent, buy food and things for the kids all the other material things arent that important. :0

Kelly De Vries

Someone once told me if I go back to work, then I will likely not want to stop work again as the extra money will soon become the norm. So fortunate I'm in a position where I don't have to and have learnt to go without on things instead.
Hope you are able to secure a job soon Heidi - but in the meantime - using your new time wisely :-) I'm often budgeting and re-budgeting where we are at so that we don't have any loose money that is unaccounted for. Figured I can't go out and earn it, so I will be in charge of making sure what we do have goes where it needs to and we are saving enough to enjoy bigger things later too.

And I agree with what you've said on the material things too :-)



Loved this post! I tell our children that we choose not to spend our money that way. I grew up in a 1 income family of 6 and although we didn't have much money, I never felt poor. I now have my own 1 income family of 5. We tell the children we are smart with the money. It's not about how much you earn, but what you do with what you earn that counts. We live within our means. If we can't pay cash for an item we haven't earnt the right to owning that item yet. (Other than a mortgage) My parents always taught me to plan for the rainy day. And I am teaching my children, not to get in over their heads. We live in a generation of "have nows", "work later to pay for it" what ever happened to the "work hard, then enjoy some rewards?"

Yes time is so precious, I love that saying, No one on their death bed has ever said, I wish I had spent more time making more money!

Kelly De Vries

Oh I love it when people write here - so I can respond personally! Thanks Barbie!

It's not about how much you earn, but what you do with what you earn that counts" - that is so true! I read somewhere once that there was a survey done of a wide range of people of how much money would you be happy with? How much would you need to get by? - and nearly all of them responded with 20% more then they currently get. The rich and the poor - all just wanted that bit more. Living within your means is so important!
We have a small house for 6 people, but love the small house feel of it. It also means we have a small mortgage and I don't have to work to pay it off! What a blessing :-)

Thanks for your comment! xKelly

Norin L Weier

well written Kelly. I so can related to what you were talking. coming from a very poor family of 14 (plus parents) living in a 3rd world country, yes we were very poor financially and in terms of material, yes living in a nearly collapsing house with bamboo wall etc but we were very rich with love and just having each other...we were very close as a big family, worked after school or on holidays or weekends on someone's farm to get school shoes, uniform... like you we were taught the value of money, you got work for things you want. happiness is gratefulness and contentment, if we fail to be grateful and content with what we have, thats when we would want more and more and never happy! lets love, give and be grateful to be happy! blessings x

Kelly De Vries

14 plus parents?!?!?! WOW! :-D

I hope our small house helps us bond together too. Some days you can't take 2 steps without walking into someone around here, but other days I like that. I love not being too far away from those I love :-)

Thanks for your comment Norin. I love that we have so many women here from so many different upbringings. Love that we can all learn from one another :-) Thanks for sharing your story!



New reader here. Just starting my blog, a new one, i am having a new normal. Avid blogger so time for a fresh start. That aside, i love this entry. I saw something today in the paper about how "We don't look poor, we don't act poor but money is very tight because..." and than they had there reason but I felt like it was a good sentiment. At times, I feel like people look at others taking a Disney vacation one month and crying poor later on with horrible judgement in their eyes. They aren't allowed to cry poor when they saw them take a Disney vacation. No matter if that Disney vacation had been saved for over years & was on a very tight budget...just the fact that person took a Disney Vacation or owns something nice gives them no excuse to ever cry poor at any other time. I know that nothing lasts forever. Time is fleeting. My kids have phases that they outgrow and that I miss when they do. I love every minute and I would rather scrape by and give them "rich opportunities" than wait for the day when I have saved all my life for that moment that may never come.


I really like your comment to your kids - we can afford it but chose to be wise and spend it on things that last or save some to help other people. Definitely going to use that one on my kids. Don't want them to grow up feeling the need for more and more. My son asked me recently if we were rich - I said no, but really compared to 90percent of the worlds population we are.