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Question that purchase!!

A few days ago I wrote a post about impulse buying and 6 tips that can be used to try to change that habit & mindset. Impulse buying, excessive spending and just too much stuff plagues many households. For some it is just a minor problem causing small amounts of discomfort, but for others it amounts to intense credit card debt, family strife, excessive stress and even illness related to the above.

Here are my 6 tips to Curbing Impulse Buying (in a condensed version) To read my entire post click here! 🙂

1. Take a picture instead. Snap instead of spend!
2. Keep a list. Write down what you need and what you find. Do some research.
3. One in two out. Buy one item then donate or give away two.
4. Think big! Quality over quantity.
5. Just wait. Pause, hold the item. Visualize its function and purpose.
6. Stop and think! Why are you shopping? What need might it be filling?

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist just wrote a post containing specific questions to ask yourself before buying anything. He lists 3 questions per potential purchase of Food, Clothing, Technology, Housing, Transportation, Insurance, Entertainment, Furniture/Décor, and even Pets.
Read his full post here!

Basically by asking these questions we stop and really evaluate our purchase more in-depth, past the ‘I want it’ stage. We may want something, but whether we can afford it, or need it, or can continue to pay for something long-term, or if the item will have extended cost tied to it, or take away time from another area of our lives are all real questions to ask ourselves.

We live in a society and age where patience is not a practiced virtue. We want what we want and we want it NOW! This is troublesome. There is nothing wrong with not having the newest whatever. Nothing wrong with saving and waiting. Driving a car you can’t afford will not make your life easier. Eating out many times a week or month will not help you save. Using entertainment or shopping to escape will not solve any underlying problems. Having any debt adds stress and money trouble is one of the main causes of family discord. Sure, it may feel like a quick fix at the time, but what are the long-term consequences?

I have found for me it boils down to LOVE. When I do what I love, or buy what I really love (after research, waiting, really thinking, and saving specifically) I feel content. There is no added stress. It is important I am intentional and meaningful in my purchases no matter what category they are.

 

 

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Living Simply: Steps to curb impulse buying

Impulse buying. Most have done it at one time or another. We see something we think we really need it, but do we?

I’m sure it’s super cute or maybe better than the one we have at home, but the thought that we need a new or better model is probably thanks to consumerism ads about products. Not really based on need.

When I began my journey to buying less, there were some tricks I used to start the process. I really thought I loved to shop. I often wandered around a store to have alone time when it was my husbands turn to put the girls to bed. I acquired a lot of knick knacky things that were cute, but that only created more work for me in terms of where to store it, or dusting, or getting home and not really knowing what to do with the new item, causing some stress. Here I was heading out to ease my stress and I was actually creating more.

Here are some of my tips to curb impulse buying:

1. Take a picture: I sometimes snap a pic with my phone of what I think I ‘need’ and caption its price underneath. By leaving the item at the shop but documenting the price I have been able to see how much money I have saved. Once home I look at the pic of the item in my house and more often than not it wasn’t as perfect as I thought.

2. Keep a list: Make a list of items you want for your home or self. Then when you see something that is on your list, write down what it is and the price (or take a pic, see #1) Then at home you can look up the brand, check out reviews and see if it is really what you want. If it is, you can buy it knowing it is exactly what you want and that you’ve found the best value.

3. Follow the one in two out rule. If you do buy something (because there will be that time you can’t resist) mentally think of two things that you could donate or give to someone else. This will eliminate the cluttering that will happen over time when we do purchase ‘stuff’ but don’t take anything away.

4. Think big! Sometimes we buy something of a lesser quality because we don’t want to spend the money. But when we buy the lesser item, we still aren’t satisfied. Saving the money specifically for what you want (and not using money already in your savings) is extremely rewarding. When you’ve saved enough and when you make your purchase you own it and are not in debt. (My husband helped me realize this. We have ‘saved’ for many different reasons from re-doing our kitchen, to buying a camping tent trailer, to a buying a much needed new couch). I was an instant gratification type of girl before, but have since found content in the solace of knowing something is paid for, without taking savings money from our account, and really mine 🙂

5. Just wait. Slow down a little, don’t grab and throw something into the cart without giving it some thought. Hold the item, turn it around a few times. Visualize where you would put it. Think about what you would use it for. Would it replace something or is it something you don’t already have? What will the purpose of the item be? To bring a smile, to do a specific function, to help make something better? Sometimes when we stop and give some proper thought to what we are buying that initial ‘need’ dissipates a bit and we can see why we think we need it and make the decision that we really don’t.

6. Stop and think!  Why we are shopping? Are we stressed? Feeling unfulfilled by some part of our lives? Comparing ourselves to someone else? I have found that now when it’s my husband turn to put the girls to bed I am more content to go to bed at 8 and read for a few hours. Or sit down and write. Or call a girlfriend and go out for coffee and chat instead of shop. What I wanted was quiet time or me time. The ‘stuff’ wasn’t really necessary after all 🙂

When I cut out my impulse buying I saved a ton of money I can now use for things I really love, like travel and experiences. I don’t have what I called ‘buyer’s guilt’ when I would all of a sudden have spent a bunch of money on things I didn’t need. I have a clearer big picture of how I want my decor to look and can specifically find items that fit instead of many different things that represent many different’ shopping moods’.  I am content with what I do buy and very happy that it is not very often 🙂

*submitted to LivingWellSpendingLess Thrifty Thursday Linkup*

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Contentment & Happiness

 

Contentment is being happy with where you are in that moment. Believing that right where you are  is exactly where you should be at that time 🙂 We can plan and dream about the future, make goals and have hope for change, but don’t lose sight of what you have right in front of you, for that moment is the stepping stone for anything else!

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Finding yourself …

 I love this quote. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is my greatest goal in life. To feel that I am true to myself and living a life I am proud of. My life.

Sometimes it is hard to separate our personal goals from the goals expected of us by others. Don’t let others fears or expectations drive your decisions. We get only one life. We make mistakes and learn and try again. Life isn’t about being perfect. It’s not about the money, it’s not about recognition, it’s not about competing. It’s about that feeling in your heart when you know you are doing what is right for you.

Remember commercials are just advertising to make money for someone else. The stuff is not what will make you better. Better is about doing what makes you feel alive. For everyone that feeling comes from a different source. Find what makes you feel alive and grab hold. Hang tight and take that ride!

No one is the same for a reason. Love the differences, learn from others and teach someone. This is your chance, your life, your moment to make your life meaningful ❤ Be you and support others in their quest to be themselves. We are all in this together!

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My 21 Benefits of Living Simply

Joshua Beckers blog becoming minimalist just posted this article 21 Benefits of owning less , which I love! I’ve read it before and it is always refreshing when it pops up. I would recommend checking his list out!

Here is MY list of 21 Benefits of Living Simply.

1. I spend less time shopping and more time doing. I’d rather spend money on a class or weekend getaway than on stuff.

1. No guilty shopping trips. I’m conscious of what I buy.

2. No impulse purchases. I take my time deciding what I spend my money on. This leads to less second guessing.

3. I follow the one in one out rule. If something new comes into the house, we donate or give away something. This makes us really think about how many of something we have and whether we really need a ‘new’ one.

4. Quality is important. I now save for longer to get exactly what I want. It feels better and I am content. In the past when I settled for something other than what I really wanted I never let go of that coveted item. In the long run I end up spending more money as I keep trying to find something ‘less expensive’ I like almost as much… than if I just waited and saved for the original item.

5. I don’t feel like I need to have the newest fad or trend. I stick with original pieces that speak to me which then I never tire of.

6. My children see me modeling the “I don’t need this” attitude. I say it often, as we walk through a store. I admire some objects but express that just because I like it doesn’t mean it needs to come home with me.

7. I waste less. I finish what I buy before I buy more. Whether it’s shampoo, lotion, cereal…my daughters have become good at this. They’ll say, “after this cereal is gone next can we buy the one we had last time”. They understand that just because they don’t like the cereal they chose this time doesn’t mean we will just go buy a different one.

8. I save more money. It’s a snowball effect. I like to watch our nest egg grow.

9. I give more. I spend less so I have more to give. I realize what I have and how blessed I am. I have a couple of charities I really believe in.

10. I’m grateful. It’s amazing how grateful I am when I focus on what I have instead of thinking about what I don’t.

11. The laundry doesn’t pile up because we have less clothes to go through. I have to run a weekly load or two.

13. Cleaning takes less time and is less stressful when everything has a place.

14. We ‘do’ more. We have more money that used to be set for misc. purchases to go have fun adventures and family projects.

15. My children don’t have ‘the gimme’s’. We go to the store and my children don’t ask for ‘stuff’. If they see something they want they think about it. Save up and go through their toys to make room.

16. We’ve all learned to be more patient. In an instant gratification world this is a breath of fresh air. We realize anything great usually takes time.

17. My memories are in my heart, not my attic. Yes, I have a wedding album and my girls baby books, with a box of photos I need to put in them. I have a box of my great grandmothers china, a box of our Christmas decorations for the tree and our stockings. But most ‘things’ from my past I have been able to give away, better used to create more memories with someone else.

18. No case of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. I don’t want a bigger home or more toys. Because I’m intentional about my choices I am very content.

19. I am living MY life. There is a wonderful sense of freedom when you know you are doing things for you.

20. I live up to my own expectations. Not the media, consumerism, or others.

21. I’m excited to see where this mindset takes us.

*Is my house spotless? Of course not. I have a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 140 pound St. Bernard. We get messy, it’s just a more manageable messy. My kids still have too many toys. We are working on this. I need to find a system to deal with the birthday/Christmas abundance from our friends and family. It will take time. Do I every once in a while make a rash purchase? Yes, but not very often, and I am better at returning the item if I decide I don’t need it. And if I keep it, I find something I don’t need to give away. Although they are at times being tweaked and adapted, our minimalist systems are in place and we are happier with them. 🙂

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A Relationship Guide…Keep it Simple

 

I love this. So often our troubles could be less if we shared more and took that  first step. Don’t wait, hoping for people to be mind readers…..Keep it simple & take charge 🙂

Our unvoiced expectations are the reason for much of our unhappiness. These ideals in our heads that will prove someone’s friendship, love, care, admiration, support…only they don’t do what we envision.

He doesn’t buy me the bracelet we saw together that I was sure was created just for me. If he had bought it for my Christmas gift I would know he loved me. It was meant for us, personified our relationship, only I said nothing. He should just know. I am heart-broken.

I spend my birthday afternoon alone. Disappointed my close friends didn’t plan a special lunch date for me. They should know that although I am often happiest having a quiet afternoon at home, that today is different. It’s my birthday! But..again, I say nothing. I am let down.

I miss my mom. If she was thinking about me she’d call. I could really use her advice. Why doesn’t she check on me? But I did spend my whole life trying foster my independence. I don’t call her. I wait.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Or something along these lines? I know I have been let down by people without their knowledge. It has been my expectations and lack of communicating them that has done this. Not my husband, friends, or family. Me. There is no-one to blame other than myself.

I need to remember that there is no mind reading in relationships. We need to be clear and just ask for what we need, to tell people our expectations. Life would be so much nicer and simpler for everyone involved.

So it’s easy, If you want something just ask. If you miss someone, just call. If you love someone, tell them. If you like or don’t like something, voice your opinion. Make yourself heard instead of suffering in silence. This is your life, own it 🙂

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I’m not intimidated by being average.

I’ve decided to give in to myself and do less. No leaning in. No over-achieving, no striving to be the best of the best of the best. Nope, no more. I’m not buying into it. I really wasn’t very good at it anyway. Probably because my heart wasn’t in it.

Being better…what does it mean anyway? Better than who? Better than what? Who decides what “being the best” even means. The best mom? The best friend? The best career? It’s all opinion, isn’t it?

I had a friend in school a long time ago who said to me, “Megan, if you just tried you could conquer the world, you don’t even try and look at what you can do.” Did I always try my absolute best…ummm..probably not, did I have any interest in conquering the world…ABSOLUTELY NOT! Sounded horrible! God, the pressure! Made me sweat just hearing her say that. I think I applied myself less the whole rest of the day, maybe the week. And hives, I think her idea gave me hives. Why would I want to stand out? What’s so great about being noticed in a way you have no desire for. What if being the smartest isn’t your goal. What if proving yourself to others doesn’t interest you. What if you like just blending in? What if you’re just not comfortable shining on the outside?

Average, that’s where it’s at. Contentedly average. I’ve decided there is only so much expected from average people. The bar isn’t too high as to never reach it and the expectations are doable. People don’t feel as let down by their average counterparts. If people look at me and think I’m average I’m ok with that. I, unlike Taylor Swift,  am not “intimidated by the fear of being average”.

Another bonus is no one cares to compete with average. No besting matches needed. No arm wrestling keeping up with the Joneses. They can easily feel superior. To those of us like me who don’t care, go right ahead! I think that’s awesome. Have your crazy busy, hectic, important schedules. Buy the best, do more, go faster…be busier. I will gratefully hand that role to you. You can have it. I know I’m happier without it.

I’ll let you in on a secret…I am living up to MY potential. I like slow. I like the quiet and calmness. Peace and tranquility, if you will. Yep, the shoes off, tree hugging (because people in my personal space make me nervous), out in the fresh air, seeing the world, taking my time potential I have inside me. I can conquer the world. I’m just not going to do it in a boardroom, or a high-profile business office, or a fast tracked career…some people shine on the outside because of the limelight. I shine brightly on the inside because of my heart.

I will unleash my full potential onto the world, traveling to all its corners with my family, learning and sharing and leaving things better than when I got there. I will conquer it by love, smiling and acceptance. I will be meaningful and intentional in my actions and words. I will be helpful, caring and inspiring. I will also be quiet, unassuming and intimate. I will guide my children and love them with all my being. I will read books for fun, not just knowledge, and I will explore just to see. I will sing and dance badly because I can and I will be laughing. I will never be famous, I will never have my name in bright lights or newspaper headlines. Nor would I ever want to. But I will be in the background. I will be making a difference. In my own seemingly average way. But then again, is what makes something average only opinion as well?

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My Garden from Wasteland to Wonderful!!

“If you want something done you better do it yourself.” This is something I have heard many times but never really thought about. I mean, yeah, of course you have to do things yourself. Oh but that means a bit more than I took to heart. You see, I have a lot of ideas. Big plans. Creative vision. But….there is always that pause. Hmm….I seem to think that I need someone to help me, or that someone could do it better, or…so I wait and I wait and I stew and NOTHING gets done. I get resentful. Why doesn’t my husband have time for my big projects? Oh, he’s at work for 10 hrs a day. So what. My retired parents could help me. What they retired so they could relax and do their own thing. Again, so what. Ok, it’s not my husband or my parents or anyone else. No really, the person I get most resentful at is myself. Geez, I’m no good at the blame game.

I AM capable of great things. We all are. I know it and you know it. We just have to decide to DO IT. My new focus on being meaningful, living intentionally and presently has me thinking a whole new way. I have this life and I better not waste it sitting around dreaming up plans and then expecting them to just happen. By the hands of someone else.

Case in point, my yard. I am lucky, we have a pretty big yard. Lots of room for my girls to play, our dog to run around, and space for me to plan what I would do with it. I had a big plan. To turn this…

old yard/ garden beds

…into a garden area with multiple beds, woodchips around them, growing our own food and teaching my girls how to plant and grow a garden. There would be veggies, berries, and flowers. It would be amazing!! I have had that dream for a long time. But up until last week that picture is what my side yard looked like. A blotchy not grass weed infested overgrown waste land of unused space. It made me crazy. But it was always last on the list of things that REALLY needed to be done or fixed around our home. So there it sat. There I sat. Both disappointing and disappointed.

But last week I decided to grow some balls (lol), roll up my sleeves and just get it done! I covered that horrible non-lawn with landscape fabric. I ordered 14 yards of woodchips and spread them, I used our old deck wood (yes, we save that sort of thing to re-purpose) to build some raised beds (oh yes, I got right up and personal with an electric screw driver) and I went to Lowe’s and bought plants and organic soil. I worked hard. I was a sweaty, blistered mess. But I am proud to show this picture of my yard today.

new yard

It may not be professionally landscaped but it has my sweat and tears (thankfully no blood was shed or I would have added that) and is beautiful, functional and no longer the wasteland it once was. My girls and I are out there daily, watering, checking, talking, inspecting and smiling in the yard we created. I am proud of that yard and myself.

new garden

*Disclaimer: To be honest my husband did help a little but it was maybe 15% at most and I’ll give my two daughters about 2% 😉

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Two important questions…

1. How do I want to live?
~be happy
~healthy
~content
~show love
~be kind
~leave the world a better place
~feel fulfilled
~passionately

2. What choices will I need to make to achieve that life?
~be meaningful in my actions, words & choices (complement my children & husband daily, think about all positive value)
~smile
~eat whole organic local food (farmer’s market, local farms & community supported agriculture)
~exercise regularly ( start running again)
~be present in my life now instead of wasting time planning a life somewhere else. We are not in a position to move at this time.
~volunteer locally & abroad
~give to charity
~consume less (live a more minimalist life)
~re-use & recycle
~pursue personal enrichment (try new things)

How would you like to live? What choices would you need to make?

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Microwave free in 2014….

We remodeled our kitchen in November and lived without a working stove for over two months. It was fun for the first few weeks. We were eating out every night, trying new restaurants in our area. Living the high life. Then we started noticing how much more money we were spending and we knew it just wouldn’t be good budgeting to keep it up for the duration of the remodel. Plan B became buying foods that we could either eat raw or “cook” in the microwave. We made salads and sandwiches, heating up soup in the microwave. We ate microwave mac n cheese, Indian food microwave meals, microwaved quesadillas, I even microwaved baked potatoes. We began to feel gross. We were not huge microwave users in the past and this was overload. About 6 weeks in our microwave began to fail. It was feeling overloaded too I guess. All of the buttons stopped working except for the 30 sec. button. So in order to cook something for 3 minutes you had to push the button 6 times, if you needed 8 minutes of micro time we were pushing the 30 sec. button 16 times. You get the picture. Funny at first, not so much after the first few days. Then the time display went out and the microwave would randomly flash numbers. It beeped on its own. We decided it was possessed and would walk by it giving it a sideways glance. Thankfully our remodel came to a point where our new stove was up and running!! Yay!! I reluctantly moved the possessed microwave onto our shiny new counter. It seemed out of place. I thought it was ugly, actually I really hated it. I tried moving it which didn’t help. Then one magical day it died! My husband tried valiantly to revive it. He tried a different plug, pushed all the buttons a few times, even gave it a few whacks. Nothing worked. I did a happy dance and eagerly sent it to where dead microwaves go for a proper burial. We talked about getting a new one. Maybe one that fit in the corner of the counter…then I had the crazy idea…what if we didn’t get a new one. What if we just went microwave free?? Unheard of right?! I know there was an era before microwaves (although not in my lifetime) and I knew there had to be a way to heat up left overs on the stove or in the oven. We made a meaningful decision to go microwave-less. I am happy to report that we have been microwave free for 78 days. It has had some disadvantages, for example I can no longer make single serve rice crispy treats on the fly when I just really need a treat. Ok, ok, I know a bad habit best to be broken anyway. But other than that it has been wonderfully freeing! Food takes more time to prepare and cook but it feels and tastes like real food. I would highly recommend putting your microwave out to pasture. Well maybe not into your yard but you get my point. 🙂

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