Oh No…It Finally Sold on Ebay

February 24, 2013

Books aren’t the only thing you can sell on Amazon.

February 24, 2013

How to Be Content With What You Have!

February 24, 2013
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One of reasons I started this blog is keep myself accountable while on our journey to becoming debt free.  One of the best ways to help us become debt free is to stop making purchases and being content with what we have.

What make you happy and content?  Really and truly.  I’m finding that living a simple life lets me focus on what’s most important to me…my family  and the memories we create together (most of which don’t require any money at all).

I was just talking to my hubby the other night about how happy I have been lately.  Less stressed and more content than I can remember..even though we are following a strict no spending money on anything but necessities policy.  So why am I happier and more content now than ever before.  Here’s what works for me:

1.  Focus on your priorities and what’s most important to you.  For me, it’s spending time with my family and learning to live a simple life.  The image above was taken on one of our hikes at a local forest preserve during sunset.  Hiking is something that we as a family tremendously enjoy and for me, that photo is contentment.  Every time we get out of the house and go for a hike, I feel like we are taking a mini vacation.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others and what they have.    Look within..maybe stop reading all those magazines, reading other blogs, Facebook, etc. and thinking to yourself, wow they’ve got it together or have the perfect house, life, etc (you only see the best of the best).  Remember that comparison leads to discontent. Update:  I just stumbled upon a fabulous article about comparison and how it hinders happiness and living simply.  A must read!

3. Stop watching commercials that tell you you’ll be happy or beautiful or skinny with this next purchase…great article here:  Super Bowl Ads Mistruth (and great comment by reader about watching commercials with your children and teaching them a lesson on discernment:  “Some of the best parenting advice I’ve heard in regard to watching tv with your kids is to talk back to the commercials. “Are you trying to tell me wearing that deodorant will automatically cause…”

4. Don’t expect to have everything today and comparing yourself to what others have when they might have worked all their lives to achieve it. That’s what advertising companies want us to believe and cause a lot of people to get into debt because they want what they can’t yet afford and purchase it on credit. One of my favorite quotes ever:  “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” ~Dave Ramsey

5. Appreciate what you DO have!  Many people don’t even have the basics.  Be grateful for what you do have.  It’s great to begin a list of those things that make you appreciate your life.  Our economy may be currently suffering..but did you know that we are still wealthier and have more than the majority of the world?!

6. Read blogs, books, magazines and create a community of like minded individuals.  They will keep you motivated and inspired.  And you’ll learn a great many things from them.

7. Don’t think that making more money or having more “stuff” will make you happier.  According to a study of over 420,000 Americans, ” Increases in income have a relatively brief effect on life satisfaction.”  It seems that the more money you make, the more things that you buy and then the more things you want to buy to again feel that sense of satisfaction.  So don’t wait to be satisfied, choose to be satisfied today!

Here are some great quotes that keep me inspired:

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13, HCSB)

“Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.” ~Mark Twain

“Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.” ~Ben Franklin

“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” ~Socrates

“To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible” ~Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

What helps you stay content?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

This week I’m linking up with Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays, the Penny Worthy Project and Simple Lives Thursday.

19 comments

  1. What a great post! I think that #6 is very important. Finding like minded people helps you to feel that you’re not alone in your lifestyle (and it’s catching on!)
    The things I love are the simplest like when hubby tells me I’m awesome, makes me scrambled eggs, brings me a hot cup of coffee or fills my car up with gas. I’m most content at the end of the day when I’m in my soft comfy jammies, curled up under a blanket on the sofa with my dog Coco snuggled up against me. I admit , however, that I do get a twinge of uneasiness when I attend events where other women are well dressed, manicured, colored, styled, bejeweled and all that. I’ll never have what it takes to look wealthy, (whether I am or not). All that high maintenance is expensive and it’s just not for me.

    1. HI Lorraine. Thanks so much for the comment. You are right..it is great when you have others that share your choice in lifestyle. And everyone is different. I kind of like fashion, but will not spend a lot of money on clothing. You know that most of my and my family’s clothes now come from thrift stores. What I struggle with is the comparison of what others have. I live in a very upscale neighborhood and used to drive a brand new expensive SUV (I now call that stupid tax). I now drive a small used Ford..saving both on gas and insurance. I’ve had it for about a year now and am pretty much used to it..but used to feel so weird driving it when all around me are Range Rovers, BMWs, Mercedes, Lamborghini’s, Bentley’s, etc. I do love where I live, but sometimes wished I lived in a different, less affluent neighborhood, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the internal struggle. So this post is written for ME! 🙂

      1. Bentley’s? Really? I live and work in a school district that has both low, middle and upper middle class kids. You should see some of the cars these teenagers drive. People from surrounding areas think our school district is all rich people, but as a lunch lady I see lots of “free lunch” kids too. Personally, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable living in a very affluent neighborhood like yours. Then again, someone who lives in a very small house came over once and thought our house was like a mansion, so it’s all a matter of perspective.

        1. I honestly don’t love living here either. But this is the neighborhood that my hubby grew up in. His parents live 3 houses down from us. When we bought our house, we gutted it completely (it’s a small ranch). But my hubby did all of the work himself and put a lot of sweat and hard work into it. He’s not bothered by living here..he can care less about what others have or don’t have and what they think of him. I wish I were more like him..I’m way more easily influenced..LOL Unless we move out of state or the country..this is where we might retire. 🙂

    2. Hmm I always feel uneasy when I’m with other moms. They always seem so put together and mom-like and I feel out of place. I’m glad I’m not the only one who compares to the people around them sometimes.

      1. Veronica, I don’t really think that there is ANYONE out there that doesn’t compare some aspect of themselves or their lives to others. It’s what marketing and advertising have done. I remember reading a long time ago that people today are exposed to so many different ads, news, articles and other noise in one year than people in the early 1900’s were exposed to in 1 year.

  2. Some of our friends are converting to the frugal life and not living with so much debt, which is pretty exciting!!! But on the other hand, more and more people we know keep losing their houses. Hubby and I had this discussion just yesterday how we used to wonder how some of these people could “afford” everything they have. Truth is, they couldn’t. I wish those people would give the frugal life and try. They would probably be hooked too! 🙂

    1. You’re right Stephanie, they couldn’t. They looked it, but didn’t live it! I remember a friend once tell me that their investment banker was talking about a very upscale neighborhood right next to ours and that some people had only the rooms that could be seen from the street furnished and that everything else was empty..just so that people would think they were rich, when in fact they couldn’t even afford the home and eventually foreclosed. It’s crazy!

      I agree, a frugal and simple life is awesome!

  3. I’ve been struggling a lot lately about budgeting and spending less. It’s almost like you wrote this for me. I make enough to live comfortably and save but somehow I’m always struggling. I don’t like charging if I don’t have to so at least I don’t have a lot of debt besides house and car. But I would like to get both paid off sooner. I need to sit down and just make a budget and stick to it. When I saw how much I made last year on eBay I was surprised and disappointed because I really had nothing to show for it. I have to come hang out with you and learn your ways.

    1. Hi Kalyn, it’s a great way to spend time as a couple or family and get some exercise. We went on a 45 minute hike last night..it was only 35 degrees..but we had a great time with snowball fights and racing! We even stopped and did a little bird-watching. People come and feed the birds in one particular place and there are so many birds there. And beautiful colorful birds in the wintertime is such a pretty sight!

      We’re fortunate that we live close to a lot of different forest preserves, even some with some great lakes, so we never get bored or lack places to go.

    1. I have to agree with you a little here..it is annoying, but our kids are exposed to so much crap from the media. We have only 1 TV in our house and the kids don’t watch TV during the week, unless we all sit down to watch a show. And we don’t have cable either, only Netflix (so luckily no commercials here yet). This would very well translate to magazines, bill boards, you tube advertisements, etc. I think it’s a great way to start a conversation and a teaching moment. 😉

  4. This is such a great post. It is so easy to get caught up in “things,” and yet I find that the more I get rid of, the less I have to care for, the happier I am. Part of my problem is not buying things, but having trouble getting rid of things. I’m sure I’ll get into those jeans…eventually. Thanks for the reminder to live simply and live well.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and your comment. I really don’t have issue with wanting to buy things, as much as all the messages we see that we should have a bigger house, better card, nicer clothes etc. The thoughts of I wish I had….or I’d be nice to be able to…. These are my constant struggles…the thoughts and feelings.

      My hubby on the other hand cares squat about what others do or have. But he, like you, has a hard time of letting things go. We moved around a lot as a kid and my Mom always purged with every move. My Mom was never attached to things. And I think I have a healthy balance. 🙂

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