As a family of limited income, I am fond of the saying;
"The best things in life are free."
You generally hear this term in reference to things like family, friends, lazy days at home in your pj's, weekly lunchtime trips to the park with your children, etc.
But not a single one of these things is actually 'free'. All of them come at a cost of some sort. I love spending time with my little family. My world wouldn't be half as joyous without them. I don't have to open my wallet every time I want to spend time with them (lucky, as my wallet is normally empty), but having my family has come at a cost. A significant cost.
Having children is a HUGE expense. Perhaps one of the biggest expenses you can commit to. It also requires you to give your time, your sleep, and oft times your sanity. It is far from free.
Friends also come at a cost. To have friends, you actually need to be a friend and that requires your time. When needed it requires sacrifice to help. It requires you to give your ears to listen and your shoulder to cry on.
Having the freedom to spend lazy days at home, or impromptu trips to the park are popular in our house. We don't pay to do them, but for me to be able to do them with my children, we give up a second income. If we were so desperate to have more to spend as we wish, we could work longer hours, or get another job, but we made a decision that we wanted to have time for our family, particularly for me as a Mother. It was important to both of us that I could be home to raise our children if there was a way for us to make that work. But of course that decision has come at a cost.
These are of course bigger examples, but even though the best things in my life may 'technically' be free, they do indeed come at a cost. Those costs I would pay time and time again without as much as batting an eyelid, as they are the best investments I have made. They make me happy. The kind of contented happy that makes you feel so blessed every day no matter what life throws at you.
The best things in life aren't free at all, there just isn't a monetary price that can be put on them. They aren't free, they are priceless.