Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to be content with less...

Recently I came across this post... my thoughts are in purple and green.
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How To Be Content With Less

by Crystal on February 27, 2012
The following is a guest post from Tessa of The Recreational Word Slinger
Before I got married, I used to buy anything and everything I wanted when I went shopping. I was working part-time, going to school, and indulging my every want. You can imagine the shock that I experienced when I was married and had to stop buying things for myself!
I struggled with “little” purchases when I would visit Target or Kohl’s every now and then. I told myself that this $10 top or book would not affect our budget much, so I would stick it in my cart and go on my merry way. As you know, that type of thinking is dangerous. Those small, insignificant purchases tend to add up over time to one significant deficit in the budget.
After the concept of spending cash only was introduced in our marriage, I realized that I was much more satisfied with having less than I originally thought was possible.

Here are 3 ideas that can help you be content with less:

1. Expect less.
Stop expecting to buy something every time you run an errand. I was so guilty of this before we switched to using cash. I would think that I deserved a little treat for having to get out and grocery shop or run errands. Direct your thinking towards expecting less.
2. Ignore the urge for more, more, more.
This is easier said than done in today’s society. We are constantly bombarded with different advertisements telling us that we need more. We have to retrain how we listen to or pay attention to such ads. When you become immune to advertising, you might find that your desire for more decreases.
3. Look at what you do have.
This idea is by far the one that has helped me get over my obsession with stuff. One way to do this is by verbally thanking our Creator for what He has given us. When I am more mindful of the blessings that I have been given, then I find that I am less mindful of my humanistic desire for more.

I'm slowly learning this concept. It's been a LOOONG transition.
Mike and I knew each other and worked together for about a year before we started dating. He told me later, That he told himself he would never date me because of how spoiled I was. {How did that work out for you Mike?}
I don't think the phrase "From the other side of the rail road tracks" could even begin to describe the different worlds we grew up in.

Because of the way we were raised, We have had different outlooks on money. And only recently in the past couple of years, have we come to be on the same page with our finances. We have taken the mistakes we've made in our short marriage, and learned from them, and have made significant changes in the way we run our finances. We are not perfect. However, We have made a constant effort to set our finances in order.
Let me share a few things that I think have made it easier for us. And May I add that these things can be done on any budget, You just have to revisit your priorities, And distinguish true NEEDS Vs. Wants.

We prioritize. Take the things that have to be paid, and knock them out. Chip away a little at a time if that's all you can, But if you have debts that need to be paid, Do without other luxuries, Cable TV is a luxury, So is a flat screen, So are restaurants,  So are new clothes. If you owe money to someone or something, Make it your priority to get out of that bondage. 

 We have become content with less. It didn't happen over night. And yes, There are still some things we may "want" But we don't want them more than we want financial freedom, and we have learned to say "NO" to ourselves, to each other,  and even harder, We have learned to say no to our children. They have sufficient for their needs and they will be better people for learning that they don't get or need everything they want. 

We have automatic savings. This is Essential. Mike's work doesn't match his 401k, So we have had to be aggressive in the way that we save for our retirement. It comes out automatically and we don't even have to make the choice of paying it or not. It's been made for us. We also have a certain amount of money come out of every one of mikes checks. It goes to a separate account that we do have access to, But it isn't easy access. We do not have a debit card or checks to it. Honestly, That is probably one of the smartest & easiest things we did. 

We do have a credit card, However, The maximum limit is $1,000, {Which we rarely reach.} It is only used for online purchases, And it is paid off every month. I will never have a credit limit more than that. It is way too easy to spend on a credit card, and it is SO hard to catch up if you get behind. Just learn to wait until you can pay cash for it. If you can't pay cash for it, AND still have your 6 month emergency fund, You can't afford it. I don't care if it's a dollar. You can't afford it, and you have to learn to recognize and be okay with that.

We do not try to keep up with the Jones'. If I don't have money to go to dinner, I say, "I don't have money for that." I'm not ashamed, I've got bigger fish to fry, Like a 15 year mortgage.  I Don't care how much money my neighbors or friends have, Or rather, How much debt they can rack up. I don't care that I drive a mini van and not a Lexus SUV, {Okay, Maybe that one still stings a little bit, But I don't want that payment, So it really is okay and I don't mind} I don't care that I don't have one of every designer handbag. I'm not here to impress anyone but the Lord, And I promise you, he doesn't care one lick about a Coach purse, But you better believe that store room that is filled with food to feed my family... He's impressed with that. 

1 comment:

  1. Such a big lesson to learn and you've had set yourself up for a great future since you have learned that lesson early in your adult life. It's huge to know the difference between wants and needs, but it's okay sometimes to loosen up and have a little fun - that is pre-budgeted of course- ha, ha!!!! How are your envelopes coming along?