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!

photo credit: dawnzy58

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Comments

  1. Alisha says

    Thank you. I will read this daily for atleast one week. I know all these things are true, but I must keep on reminding myself over and over and over again. I’m such a sucker for a deal. I am learning to pass up some deals and it is a much healthier way of life.

  2. Beth says

    Your point under more things equals less money and time reminds me of something my dad said from time to time when we were growing up. He would talk about picking a home or building a home that fit within our means on many levels. He pointed out that buying a home that was at the top of our budget limit was a bad purchase. Even if we could “afford it” we’d be setting ourselves up for a failure because then you to heat it, maintain it, park the right car in the driveway, but the right furniture to fill it, etc. Buying the right house means buying a home that fits within our budget on all of these levels. Otherwise, there is just this cascade of problems that really do take a toll on our lives.

  3. says

    Thank you for this post. This has been the essence of my emotions the past year or so, since God impresed it upon me to start changing our lives so that I could become a stay at home mom.

    I’m one who loves rummage sales, thrift stores, free “curb” piles, and when a relative calls and says “hey I have 5 dozen canning jars, want them?” and I’d say yes… getting out of that cycle, especially when you grew up deprived and in poverty, and have one parent who is a hoarder and another who is a collector… is difficult.

    I’m not exactly sure what besides God could have put this into my head. As I’m now 20 weeks pregnant with our second, it is becoming more important to me than ever to to focus less on the “what” and more on the “who” in life.

    thank you again!

  4. says

    Love, love, LOVE these posts. Keep ‘em coming!

    When I read this I think about how much time I’ve spend shopping and wishing for things, Instead, I could have been doing more worthwhile things, like connecting with friends and reaching out to my neighbors. We in America are so entangled with stuff and then tend to be so poor in relationships. Praying for change.

  5. says

    Freedom is to me my biggest goal and vision. Total freedom to me is being able to do whatever i want, whenever i want and not need to Work. I do what i love for a living, but still as long as I’m working I’m not free. In order to reach freedom I need a way to finance my freedom. This desire have made me spend less on useless things.

    I have reached a state in life where I understand that ‘less is more’ and that i don’t need hundreds of gadgets, It’s just as you wrote in your blog-post, More Things = Less Money + Less Time.

    Thank you for sharing this, I believe more people need to realize the weight of your statements.

  6. Angela says

    What a great post! Amen, Amen, Amen! I need to remind myself of these principles almost daily. I think all of us are naturally discontent people in some way or another without the grace of God. We need Him to help up to be content and grateful. And the encouragement of our sisters in Christ helps a lot as well! Thanks so much.

  7. jamie says

    THANK YOU! I really needed to be reminded of this today! I do need to be grateful for the great things I have & stop feeling upset about not being able to buy the things I want NOW.

    Thanks!

  8. Nicole says

    This is an amazing guest post! My mother is a HUGE clutter freak. And i have a few friends who could read this also. Thanks for sharing this! I feel like cleaning out my closet now & making things a bit tidy around the house. :)

  9. says

    We are trying to save up for a new home, our tiny place is cramped with soon-to-be four young bodies. Less is more is a mantra I need to be saying!

    Here are 50 tips we came up with to make our pennies last a bit longer.

    http://quirkymomma.com/2009/save-money/

    Do you have more ideas I can add to this list? (and link/attribute to you).

  10. says

    Coming up with a budget is really difficult. Especially when you factor in all the things you think you need. It is very easy to get to a point where you are always spending your last dollar. I think learning to eliminate things that you think you need is really the key. Great article!

  11. says

    I always find that when I shuffle through my clutter there is always something to give away, something that is currently on a mental shopping list, and something I forgot I had that I could put to use. I think I’m going to start to de-clutter next time I feel the urge to shop! Thanks for the article.

  12. Andie says

    Four years ago, my husband was transferred to Hurricane Katrina destroyed Biloxi, but only for a year or two. It was a great opportunity to make and save a ton of money. We bought a travel trailer and moved our three boys, 15, 11 and 2, in and to Biloxi, MS. I can not tell you how freeing this move was for us. We realized quickly what we *really* needed to live. We have been so happy with this move, we sold our house and live in our travel trailer full time. We have continued to travel around with my husband’s job allowing our kids to experience different cultures and areas of the US.

    All of that to say, wonderful post and so true!

  13. says

    Excellent post! So true!!! We Americans love to go to stuff mart and buy stuff!!!

    Americans crave to be full – we want full stomachs, full closets, full garages, full toy boxes, and full calendars. Americans have more stuff than any nation in the world and we have placed our hope and dreams in this stuff.

    I wrote a blog post about this here based on Ecclesiastes 6 titled “Are You Craving For Something More:

    http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2009/10/are-you-craving-for-somthing-more.html

    Hope it can encourage someone who is struggling with this.
    Much Love,
    Courtney