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.