Your goal this month is to simplify.
Stuff costs more than money
People are beginning to recognize the emotional, spiritual and financial weight of consumerism. That is why there is a surge in blogs, Facebook pages and websites that encourage and extol minimalism and non-consumerism.
There are several ways to meet this goal of simplifying. In the past, I’ve given you the goal to declutter. Just declutter one room or closet and give any unwanted or unneeded items to a thrift store. It feels good to start the year with a clean closet, doesn’t it?
De-clutter your time
Do you have a cluttered schedule? Do you feel like you are racing around to meet all the demands on your time that you don’t have a moment to sit in peace? This is a good indication that you need to declutter your schedule. Prioritize and learn to say “no” to demands that aren’t important.
Maybe you’ve done all the decluttering you can. Then make January a Buy Nothing Month. You already got everything you need for Christmas, right? So make this a month that you don’t buy anything. (Of course, food and gas are exempt from this goal.)
If going a whole month of not buying anything is too much, make January a Buy Nothing New Month. If there is something you feel you absolutely must have, look for it at a thrift store, local FreeCycle or Craigslist or consider bartering or trading service for the item you need. The idea is to put your family budget on a strict diet and see if you can’t trim some of the excess from your life.
This website has some very good, concrete ideas for how to have a successful Buy Nothing Month, including a worksheet to get you started.
What happens when you make a conscious goal to not buy anything?
- You have more money. This money can go towards savings, paying off debt or acquiring a food storage and preparedness supplies.
- You are helping the environment. When you buy nothing, you are sending less to the landfill. Buying from thrift stores also helps cut down public waste.
- You be more creative when filling family needs. You know the adage: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Learning to “make do” helps get the creative juices flowing.
- It forces you to evaluate your priorities. Focusing on your priorities means that when you spend money, it’s on something very specific and well thought-out. Spending only in service of your goals inoculates you against buyer’s remorse.
- Savor peace and tranquility. Society expects us to spend, to display the outward trappings and appearance of success. Letting go of those external validations of your worth will give you a new freedom and a peace of mind. If you aren’t judging yourself by society’s expectations, you will find yourself judging other less, as well.
- Find satisfaction in things that matter. Instead of getting an emotional boost from a new dress or a nicer car, your satisfaction will come from time well-spent with family, playing games instead of going to the movie, cooking a meal together instead of eating out.
Make January the month that you begin to simplify your life, ridding yourself of things, busyness and debt that clutter your life and keep you from doing the things that really matter.