Buy, Buy, Buy! That is a mantra that is all around of us in our daily lives. It's very hard to escape it. There are 20 minutes of commercials in every hour of television watching. Our mailboxes are inundated with catalogs and percent off coupons for dept. stores almost every day. Our newspapers, our use of the internet, everywhere we go there is something or someone telling us to buy.
Even in our supermarkets we can't get away from rampant consumerism. How many times have you gone to grocery shop with a list and come home with impulse purchases that you didn't plan on purchasing? Fess up, I know you have all done it. We have been guilty many times.
The new restaurant down the street is even calling our name. The local journal is even offering a percent off coupon. How could we possibly resist?
Then there is the good old tradition of hanging out at the Mall. How many of you go there just to window shop and come home with impulse purchases? We've all done it. I can't remember the last time I went to a Mall except to pick up underwear at J.C. Penneys. And I make sure that I take the outside entrance to get in and out quickly.
Everyone wants your money! Shouldn't you want your money? Yes, you should come first! Pay yourself first! We have all heard this over and over again but most of us don't do it. We would rather give our money to the big corporations week after week and not keep a sliver for ourselves.
In my estimation, there are only four important things we need to spend money on: food, housing, healthcare, and transportation. How much we spend on each of these necessities in life is totally our decision.
Whether we choose to buy a home or rent, how much we spend on groceries, how much we spend on health insurance, and whether we buy a car or take public transportation are some of the biggest choices in life that we will ever make. They are also where the largest dollars we spend will go. So we try to spend wisely. After the spending, it is important to take care of our most expensive purchases.
We all know we shouldn't waste food. We might as well burn our money instead of taking the time to shop for it. But our landfills are full of food that has been discarded. We can spend a fortune every week on the finest foods or we can eat the basics. Either way our tummies will be full. It's our choice how many dollars we put in those tummies.
We have many choices to buy healthcare. We also have a choice as to how healthy we stay by taking care of our bodies. Over the years the thousand of dollars we spend really adds up especially when you get "older than dirt" as I am.
A home costs you thousands of dollars to purchase. And if you have a mortgage, you will pay thousands of dollars on top of the purchase price in interest unless you either pay cash or pay down your mortgage quickly. A home is a huge investment in money and time. But it can pay off if you take extremely good care to maintain it properly. We have owned 4 brand new homes over the years and made huge profits(thousands of dollars) over what we paid and put into them with one exception. Our AZ home that we sold in the crash in 2009, we lost $400. on. That was a cheap price to pay for living there for almost 9 years. Each of our homes sold just about overnight. Even the AZ home which the realtor said would take 9 months to sell in the mortgage crash sold in less than 48 hours for the price we wanted. So take care of this huge investment and it will pay off. We spend a few hours every week maintaining our home and it is a cheap price to pay.
We buy brand new cars when needed. I know it's supposed to be a bad investment but it has always worked out well for us. We don't buy used because after owning a "lemon", we don't want to buy someone else's problem. But we keep and maintain our cars for 12-15+ years and we get our money's worth out of them. We don't trade them in every couple of years. We keep them well maintained with oil changes and servicing. We keep them immaculately clean both inside and out. We keep rust at bay. When you spend thousand of dollars on a car you want it to last. I am sure many of you have saved thousands of dollars not spending on new cars and that is fine because that is your choice. Either way take really good care of one of your biggest outlays of cash. If you live in a transportation friendly city where you can walk, bike or take taxis or subways where ever you have to go, you will save money. But not everyone lives in cities, hence we need cars.
But with the exception of a minimal wardrobe, there isn't much more that we need. So why are so many companies and family owned conglomerates making so much money from us?
Why are so many people in thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt in this country? For two reasons and two reasons only, they have no will power and they want what "the Joneses" have.
So is it ever too late to change your thinking and use your will power? Of course not!
So I want you to ponder on how you can do just that. Forget "the Joneses" because they don't pay your bills or care that you are in debt up to your eyeballs. "The Joneses" most likely are carrying huge debt so that they can show their neighbors how "valuable' they are by what they have. Think about what I just said. The"Joneses" value comes from how much they spend. That is so sad! Your value in life has nothing to do with how much you spend. Your value comes from being a kind and caring person who is good to their family and friends. Those are the kind of people that I value in life. I don't care how many possessions you own or what you spend on them. I surround myself with family and friends who I love and care about. I love them not their possessions.
So as Hubby and I continue on our challenge to spend as little as possible on things, I would love you to join us. Throw consumerism out the window by tossing those print ads that want us to buy, buy, buy, in the recyclable can where they belong. Ignore or turn off those commercials. Don't click on ads to purchase on the internet. Stay out of the malls or any other enticing store. Ignore "the Joneses"! Make friends with frugal people who have the same goals to keep their money as you do. Don't ever let your so called "friends" determine how you spend your money. You don't have to go out to bars, restaurants, or the movies to have a good time. Take care of your money, yourselves, and enjoy your friends. You will be richer for all of it.
The Challenge in June that I put out to all of you is to spend as little as possible or nothing at all on any thing except the four necessities that I talked about today. My weakness is food which is one of the four. So I will be working on lowering what we spend on that also. I want you to really think about every purchase you are going to make. Do you really need it? Or it is just a want? Then at the end of June, I think you will be amazed at how much money you didn't spend. On June 30 use that money towards paying off debt, make an investment, bolster your emergency fund, or put it towards one of your goals.
Now don't run off and purchase now because it is only May because that would be cheating! I am watching you :-)
I will be journaling here the entire month of June with my daily thought process on all of this, and our temptations and our intentional spending. Intentional spending is how we spend and you should too!
Sorry that I am so long winded today but this post has been rolling around in my head since I got sick.
Changing the subject, enjoy your weekend and I will be back on Monday. Then my sister and brother-in-law arrive on Tuesday and will be here for a few days. I will not be posting during that time because we want to just enjoy them. We have a lot to catch up on after 4 years. I will return on Friday.