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.
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.