Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Who Needs It?

You remember from this post that one of my goals for 2008 is to be content with the blessings that I have been given, rather than always wishing and praying for more.
People who know me well know that I love beautiful things. Clothes, decor, STUFF FOR MY KITCHEN, etc. My wish list at Christmas and birthdays is legendary for it's length. My wish list for our house is even longer, and almost everything on it has a big price tag: a new backyard, kitchen, flooring, crown molding, etc. And let's not even get started on the trips we'd like to take.
I have always tried to live within my means, sometimes doing this better than others, but I always want more. I guess it's a part of human nature, but it's a part that I'd like to do away with.
Anyhow, I'm going to share some of the strategies that I am using to help me combat the materialistic thirst within. I really feel like they are working--although we are only a few weeks into January, so I guess it's too soon to declare a victory!
  • I am really trying to ask myself before each purchase, "Is this a want or a need? If it's a want, can it wait? Will my life be richer because I have this?" You'd be surprised how often the answer is that it wouldn't make any difference at all in our lives. I took back several Christmas gifts that I'd purchased for the kids (I took them back the week before Christmas, not after we gave them to them!) because we just decided that they didn't need that much. And I don't believe that we missed them in the slightest on Christmas Day.
  • I automatically delete the emails that I get from my favorite stores, offering a sneak peak at their new spring line or their upcoming sale. If I don't know what's being offered, I'm not tempted to buy it, nor do I really wish we had it. I find that this saves me lots of time as well, since I used to spend lots of time looking at Baby Gap, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and other pretty websites, window shopping and otherwise. (Is it called window shopping when you are online?)
  • Along the same lines, I have stopped flipping through all the catalogues we get. What I intend to do (and haven't gotten around to yet) is to cancel those catalogues, since I have access to the same things over the internet, and can save some trees as well (not to mention trips to the recycling center.)
  • Jared & I have always been full tithe payers, giving ten percent to the Lord without questioning or feeling like it's rightfully ours. We have also always prayed that the Lord would, as promised, "Open the windows of heaven and pour [us] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10) Now that's all well and good, but we have changed our prayers recently, to ask Heavenly Father to help us be wise stewards with the things He has given us, so that it will be enough to meet our needs. We know that His promises are sure, but perhaps we need to be content with less before there cannot be room enough to receive it, rather than just having our perceived needs grow along with our income.
  • I'm also striving to spend more time thanking than asking in my personal prayers. Expressing gratitude for the gifts I have been given in my life helps me realize how blessed I am with the things that matter most.
  • I found this blog, which I am enjoying, and am hoping that she posts regularly throughout the year, as I appreciate her perspective. And it's nice to feel like you are doing these things by choice rather than being forced into it by tight finances.
Check back soon for my 100th post. It's one I've been planning for a while.


mindyluwho said...

I've always struggled with the want/need thing and purchase way too many things on impulse. Great post and great ideas. I don't have problems with shopping online, unless it's at Amazon looking for books, but those catalogues that come in the mail...they get me every time!

Looking forward to your 100!

Rebecca said...

I love this post! I too struggle with the need/want thing. Only my struggles have been mostly with clearance items at discount stores like TJMaxx and Tuesday Morning. My husband has mentioned "It's not a bargain if we don't have the money."

I have been doing a LOT better, and I've been saying prayers before I go out grocery shopping that I'll make wise choices.

I'm with Mindy...looking forward to your 100th post!

Erika said...

Thanks for sharing that other blog with me. I was laughing pretty hard while reading :-)

scrap chair potato said...

I definitely spend money to save money. If it is on clearance how can you resist a shirt for $2, even if your child has 15 shirts!
I saw a billboard that I loved and am trying to remind myself of when I WANT something. It read: Act your Wage!
I love that, I am really trying to do that lately. Thanks for your ideas.

Anonymous said...

"a fool and his money are soon parted" I wonder what happened to all MY money?


mammafisher said...

Very inspiring! Lately i've been doing well but only because I just can't seem to make it out of the house with my children.

But oh my wish lists have grown, and I'm almost scared to go out to a store, for fear of temporary insanity. Mark would understand that right?

Thanks for the push in the right direction.

Martin said...

The scripture in Malachi regarding tithing reminds me of Han Solo.

A blessing so large there will not be room enough to recieve it?

I don't know, I can recieve a lot.

But really you should not stress about being good a shopping.

One trick is when you are in the mood to spend money, just go by more groceries and get something you normally wouldn't - like the Pillsbury Cinnabon rolls.

The second is a cooling off period, like for hand guns.

When a material meme gets under my skin and I decide I want to buy something that costs more than 100 dollars, I back off and spend at least a week shopping for it. Reading reviews, comparing price, features, quality, future improvements . . . .
And at least 5 times out of ten I realize that I do not really want to buy the current product.

Mom taught me in all those mall excursions with you and Alli that it was ok to come home empty handed from a shopping trip. And Dad taught me that it's paramount that you get the best price possible.