Things and Stuff

You all know how I feel about Christmas gifts.  Buying things and stuff for the sake of things and stuff drives me crazy.  There is so much waste, obligation, and expense of meaningless material possessions these days.  We love doing Calendar Adventures for Christmas instead, and gifting a birthday party with friends and family for our kids instead of the latest toy or gadget.  My favorite tradition, ever.

I’m not sure what or when exactly my passion for less stuff happened, I think that these have certainly been moments in my life that are connected.

  • I grew up on a small farm, and we didn’t have a lot of extra money to go around – I’m likely a better human being because of it.
  • I’ve seen poverty while helping to build homes in Tijuana – gritty and powerful scarcity that made me reconsider all that I have here at home.
  • I can see the spirit of true giving and receiving when we serve a hot meal to the homeless on a Saturday morning; it’s so much more meaningful than you could ever expect and more treasured than an item.
  • I have seen debt take the joy out of my friends – and trade it for stress and anxiety, all in the name of having the next best thing.

In no way shape or form am I on a journey to influence you to quit buying things and stuff. I have an Amazon prime membership just like the rest of you, and I participate in my fair share of pumping money into the economy.  But I’ve been asking myself more questions these last few years.

  • Do I need this?
  • Does this spark joy?  (Thanks Marie Kondo.)
  • What would happen if I didn’t buy it?
  • Where will I use this?  How often?
  • Do I have something like it already?

Yes, I want to buy all of the things that are targeted to me on my Facebook feed.  How did they know I wanted a shirt that said goal getter on it!?  AND it comes in a tank top that I can wear to the gym too? 

I also wouldn’t mind having an evening to myself to wander the Target aisles and reconsider my home décor with more Magnolia style in it.  Or I could take a trip to the Rack and replace some of my boots; it’s nearly the end of winter – I bet they’re on sale…

Pause. 

That’s all I’m asking.  Ask yourself if you need it.  If it sparks joy – buy it, just don’t let it get in the way of your other financial goals. 

This year, as you know…we have a big fat financial goal to tackle by paying cash for our tiny house.  It’s going to take some serious self determination to say no, when I want to say yes.  My family is going to have to help stick to our monthly budget – when the ‘family fun’ envelope is empty on the 20th, our weekends will be Netflixing and board games with popcorn instead of an evening out.

One of the ways that I will be most challenged with this self-discipline will be the annual girls’ beach trip.  This February will mark year 15 of this funtivity.  My Mom, sisters, and now sister-in-law load up in an SUV with a very small overnight bag, and then shop the sales at the outlet malls from here to the beach, and back.  That’s right – we hit outlet malls on at least 3 unique dates and wander into all stores of interest, try on countless items – give each other oh, so honest feedback – and then pool our items together to get the largest discount, coupon, and special.  Then…we take our items back to our beach rental house, try them all again for another opinion.  Make decisions about what to take back, what to trade, and what we think our kids are going to say about what we’ve picked out for them.  Followed by card games, junk food and lots of girl time.  It’s my favorite!!

In the past I have simply bought what I wanted.  No holds bar.  Afterall, this is my one big shopping trip of the year, I don’t hit the mall or even the online stores that often, otherwise.  I have the money for it. But I also have other goals.  Last year, was the first year that I gave myself a limit – and I didn’t like it. This year, I’ll do it again – and spend cold hard cash only. 

It’s easy to know your limit when you only have so many Benjamins. 

@journeytoinfluence

Does this take away from the fun and festivity that is time with my sisters?  No way. See, that is the beauty of this trip, the time and fun that we get to have together – not how much we spend.  I’ve got goals, and they’re bigger than those 4 cardigans at The Loft that are on clearance. 

Stay tuned for annual girls’ beach trip pics coming to my social stories soon!

I’m curious – how do you curb your spending?  Any tips and tricks for me as I head out on our annual spending spree?  How do you limit your ‘gotta have its’? Comment below and share some of your tips.

Thank you for joining me on my journey to influence.

Thank you for joining me on my my journey to influence.

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