Monday, February 8, 2010

How Buying Less Can Set You Free (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Danelle Ice from Home Ever After

We all want to have an inviting home, comfortable environment, and nice things for our family. As moms, we’re always looking for products to make our lives easier, to make chores go smoothly, and to make our homes beautiful. The desire for “things” is normal in moderation. The problem is when buying “things” takes you over, cluttering up your home, controlling your actions, and wreaking havoc on your family budget.

The desire for material things is encouraged by advertisers to get you to buy their products. Commercials make us think our lives aren’t whole until our kids have the newest bicycles or our husband has a top-of-the-line barbecue grill. What advertisers WON’T tell you is that not only do you have the power NOT to buy things, but that buying less can set you FREE!

More Things = Less Money + Less Time.
Things are a huge responsibility, and take their toll in many areas of our lives. First, it takes money to buy things. Then, we have to find space to store things, batteries and electricity to power the things, time to learn how to use things and teach our family how to use things. We have to spend time or money to fix things when they break. We spend time to clean and maintain things. We pay for a larger house or storage to have room for all of our extra things.

The first step to simplifying our lives is to stop buying unnecessary items immediately. Just saying no to bringing more possessions into your home will immediately give you more time, more money, and less clutter.

What if you want to let go of things but don’t know how to make the change? Here are 5 tips that can help you get started:

1. Realize that most “needs” aren’t truly needs.
Most “needs” we feel to buy things aren’t real needs, they’re wants. Food for dinner? Yes. 5 new cookbooks? Probably not.

Worse, they’re never ending. The desire for stuff doesn’t end when you get that latest gadget. The empty spot is quickly replaced by another item you don’t have. Read about the difference between needs and wants here .

2. Stop coveting.

Almost everyone has a friend or neighbor who seems to have everything. Don’t get caught up in the desire to have everything others have. Acquiring things to keep up with someone else will not bring you a feeling of contentment with your life or gratitude for what you have; it will only breed feelings of guilt that you can’t afford (or choose not to buy) all those items.

3. Be grateful.
Be thankful for all the wonderful things you have, and the comfortable lifestyle and loving environment you’re able to provide for your family. When you feel gratitude for what you have already, it is difficult to feel bad for not having more.

4. Be content.

We are full, whole, loving people, with or without things. Material possessions can never make you a kinder, nicer, or a better friend, parent, or spouse. Desiring and acquiring more things won’t change who you are–at least, not for the better.

5. Declutter for charity.

Make a family project of decluttering your home to donate unneeded items to those less fortunate. This is a sure way to put things into perspective and realize that “things” only have value when they fulfill a real need. Donate items to Goodwill, to less fortunate friends, or to families from church that can use a little help.

Set yourself free of the responsibilities of being a “consumer” and realize that you have the power to stop buying things! Buying less does a multitude for your mind and soul, including getting you a little closer towards having gratitude for what you already have, not focusing on what you don’t.

This guest post is by problogger Danelle Barbi Ice from Home Ever After, an online Home & How-To magazine specializing in homemaking, decluttering, frugal living, and more. If you like this article, please subscribe to Home Ever After for free!

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