How much is enough?

September 6, 2007 | 8 comments

Here’s an interesting experiment: ask yourself what amount of income would be “enough” for your family.

Now read this post at Just Doing My Best. It turns out that my answer was exactly in line with the results of the study she mentions at the beginning of her post. It’s interesting how our fallen nature always leads us to want just a little bit more, no matter how much we have.


  1. Sarah L.

    I also do this wishful thinking about the size of my home. I’m always saying “if we only had a little more space,” yet this home is bigger than our last and we managed to fill it up with stuff in a short period of time. If we had a 5000 square foot home I’ll bet we’d fill that up with stuff, too, and still be pining for “just a little more space.”

  2. LilyBug

    I do the exact same thing, Sarah. Perhaps, then, this “fallen nature” is not limited to money. Remember Pope Benedict mentioned something about using cars as symbols of domination and power. I think we have to be careful not to do this with all of our material possessions. The goal is to accept whatever God brings with humility and greatfulness.

  3. Mojo

    All spouses, I suppose, never believe their working-outside-the-home husband or wife earns as much as they are worth. In some professions, such as my husband’s, there are really long hours. Middle of the night phone calls, often resulting in going TO the office to take care of issues. Working on holidays. Calls from all over the world (and I really mean all over the world) on perpetually-attached-to-the-hip-and-lip cell phones…yes, even while on the sidelines at a child’s soccer game or on the beach while on vacation. Yes, my husband even once got the death stare from me when he reached for his rumbling Blackberry while at mass and actually READ an email…before realizing in horror what he was doing! Our world is much too “connected.” I doubt anyone will dispute that. (Although, blogs such as this are at least one wonderful by-product of all the new-fangled connectedness!)

    You may think I am married to a man who puts his career first and his family and God last (referring to ‘The Blackberry Faux Pas,’ as it has come to be known.) Well, believe me, that is far from the truth. But, having lived through two lay-offs in fewer than 16 yrs of marriage, I have come to realize my husband is pedaling as fast as he can.

    He is simply doing his job so he can keep it.

    In his industry, of which he has now been a part for 28+ yrs, what was once accomplished with a department of 40+ employees, he must now do with fewer than 8. And, daily they threaten to reduce his headcount. Since all the same tasks, and then some, must still be done, he has no choice but to keep on keepin’ on.

    Or his company will find someone who will.

    Thus, this creates in me two opposing emotions: 1) We are so thankful to have a job, we don’t dare complain about the demands or salary. Or, 2) Fort Knox doesn’t hold enough gold to compensate him for all the time and sweat equity he gives his company. I do admit to often wishing he could be paid just a bit more…

    What with three children in Catholic grammar school (with the more expensive high school years approaching like a fast moving train for our oldest), our tuition burden alone nearly kills us. (Before anyone suggests we turn to alternatives, such as home schooling or public, suffice it to say, our children are taught by the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia Congregation out of Nashville, TN. Visit their web site and you will have no doubt why we sacrifice to send our children to their school. We’ve already left a Catholic school which was that in name only. This sacrifice is well worth it!)

    I would appreciate a 10% increase in salary only to help with our day-to-day existence, not to purchase a nicer home in the “right” neighborhood. Not to replace my nearly 10-yr-old van w/ a hip car. Not to enjoy some luxurious, exotic vacation. Nope. I think we have our priorities in order (although I try to check this frequently and completely agree w/ both sarah l. and lilybug about “wanting more” is not always limited to money, but sometimes ‘things,’ such as cars, clothes, jewelry or homes.) My personal fallen nature is no different from everyone else’s, of course.

    Daily I just try to do precisely what lilybug says: accept whatever God brings with humility and gratefulness.

    Somehow, we always “make ends meet.” But, a 10% longer piece of rope sure would help with that challenge as we try to hang on! 🙂

  4. Literacy-chic

    Can we wish for fewer bills to have to pay with the money we have, instead? That’s what I found myself doing…


    Yeah – I would settle for what we have running away a 10% slower rate.

  6. LilyBug

    We can also accept our debt with more humility and greatfulness. We probably do so with a little more of the former than of the later. Ha-ha.

  7. Beth

    Ah.. I just wish we had enough to cover our bills so I could stay at home !!!

  8. Karen E.

    I would probably go for about 10% more, too, just to cover the bills that we no doubt could trim with just a little more effort.

    But, sometimes I also laugh at my low expectations: “If we won the lottery, I’d just like to pay off the mortgage and the van. And maybe I’d finally fix the windshield cracks on the ’92 Grand Am.” 🙂

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