One thing I have been thinking about a lot lately is the commercials we see on tv and internet and the mindset that I have in regards to what we have. It almost feels like we as individuals in my family spend a considerable amount of time wanting. I want a cleaner house, more time, different furniture, a camper, a strong business, a better body….. kiddos want more snacks, movies, activities, time with me, time with dad, to go to the neighbors’. But it all boils down to the same. We are where we are at this moment and we are wanting and unsatisfied. I don’t like that and it just doesn’t seem right. I also WANT to be more at peace which has led me to do a lot of reading on minimalism. I really find the minimalist lifestyle appealing and would love to have a tiny house and a garden and be comfortable taking one backpack around the world…. but that doesn’t mesh with the life I have set up for myself. We own a home and have children and really do enjoy creature comforts. But it does leave me wondering if it would be so terribly bad to do without.
So here I am in my more frugal than minimalist way thinking about really trying to embrace a make-do attitude. Or what some parents would call an attitude adjustment.
Obviously a big part of doing without is not buying something, or at least taking on a need vs. want attitude. It’s never in history been so easy to run out and pick up our hearts desire. We don’t even really need to leave the house as anything you want can be ordered over the internet while sitting in your pj’s. So I was thinking about a few questions that I need to ask before deciding if its something that is a true and sincere need or if its something we could just as easily do without.
1. Do I really need this?
Is what you think you need to buy really a need? Or is it a want? If it’s a want, how does it line up long term?
2. Do I have something else that could serve the same purpose?
Ask yourself if you have something else that will serve the purpose of whatever it is you’re thinking about buying. Has what you’re replacing really worn out? Could it be repaired? Is there another thing that you already own that could get the job done?
3. Do I know someone who might lend it to me?
Think about the people you know, and whether or not one of them might have something that you might be able to borrow instead of buying one yourself. If it is not something that will get daily use and ESPECIALLY if it is something that you really only need temporarily this is an important question to ask. Be a conscious borrower and make sure to return the borrowed item in the same condition and in a timely manner. And on the same note be willing to share the love when someone asks for the favor as well.
4. Can I buy this used?
This is one of my favorite questions because so many things that we need aren’t immediate needs or wants. I have a list of things that we will need and want throughout the year and the goal is to save up a bit of money for summer yard sales to be able to replace some broken dishes and purchase some of the things that the kiddos have outgrown. You can find amazing deals and it is fantastic for our environment and local economy as well. For those odds and ends that you have to pick up throughout the year try consignment shops and thrift stores. When my daughter’s zipper broke on her jacket last fall I found a brand new name brand jacket for $3.50 that was selling in current season at a boutique down the street for $99!!!! We do the same for school dress up days and spend so much less than we would buying those things new.
5. Do I have a place for this?
A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Don’t let your wants clutter up your life! I think part of doing without is making sure there is room for the new things we bring in even if it means letting go of something we already have and letting the new thing take it’s place.
6. Is it really a good deal when it seems like a good deal?
Here’s where this is hard for me since I don’t buy many things new. I am a second hand junkie.
Because of that, I tend to pick up whatever catches my eye. After all, they are practically giving this stuff away. Of course, though, they aren’t actually giving it away. I’m paying for it. Just because I’m getting more items for my money than I would in the store doesn’t mean that I need all the stuff want. I DO NOT. I need to make a commitment that I am only going to purchase the things that we actually will need throughout the year.
I’m making a commitment to ask myself these questions and head into the future being grateful for a life where the needs are few and the decision belongs to me. I would love to hear what you think in comments!