How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don't Need!
“I hate budgeting. Why shouldn’t I just continue to live off credit cards and debt? I could just keep on with the status quo forever, couldn’t I? Is all this sacrifice REALLY worth it!? Why should I stop buying stuff? Buying stuff is fun!”
There’s no getting around it – making short term sacrifices for a future that’s unknown is a tough sell! Particularly in this time and this place, where the promise of immediate gratification is everywhere, always.
No one wants to give up her daily coffee. I mean, it’s the one thing I have that makes me happy during the day, right?! No one wants to give up vacations for an entire year. Is that even possible?!
Yep. It sure is. We did that very thing, for 2 ½ years during our debt payoff journey. No vacations.
Sometimes, friend, you need a kick in the pants. So, here goes:
DOES YOUR IDEAL DAY LOOK LIKE THE
DAYS YOUR LIVING RIGHT NOW?
If it does, then I would say great! Don’t worry about changing a thing, and why are you even reading this?!
But, if you have any dissatisfaction in your day; any overwhelm that makes you wish for something more simple; if you’re tired of having money fights with your spouse because you’re constantly worried how you’re going to pay your bills every month, you’re in the right place.
THE THING IS, DEAR ONE, THAT CHANGE REQUIRES…WELL, CHANGE.
It asks us to establish limits and boundaries to do something differently. And, limits and boundaries can feel like sacrifice.
Nobody likes sacrifice.
But, change can also lead to transformation – lasting, sustainable, life-giving transformation. That’s where the magic is. It’s also where boundaries are less about sacrifice, with its heavy connotation and cultural baggage, and more about empowerment and calling and alignment. It’s what I want for you, and for me, and for all of us fragile, searching, warriors.
Short-term limits worked, and are working, in my life. And I know, in the roots of my bones, it can work for you, too.
Back in 2012 when we finally paid off our $100,000 in debt, I realized that the process of the debt payoff was as important as actually paying off the debt. I learned that the act of choosing to change, of creating voluntary limits and boundaries, realizing that I can’t have EVERYTHING, is the very thing that connected me to the values that made the change lasting and sustainable. They supply and sustain each other – my values direct my choices and my choices support my values.
Giving up on old habits, beliefs and patterns in the short-term was a huge part of that process – a part that has allowed me so much more freedom. Freedom I didn’t even know I wanted at the time!
If someone would have said to me when we were paying off debt that I would be able to start a business debt free, live authentically and in line with my values AND learn to fully love my life if I just chose to make some sacrifices right now, I’m not sure I would’ve believed them. At the time, I just knew I wanted to get out of debt!
The deeper, mysterious promises of personal growth and transformation were beyond my dreams at the time.
I KNOW ALL THIS. I REMEMBER THE ME OF THEN WHO IS A LOT LIKE THE YOU OF NOW – TIRED AND OVERWHELMED AND UNCERTAIN AND HOPEFUL AND READY AND STRONG. THESE PROMISES FEEL BIG AND ABSTRACT AND LOFTY IN THE MIDST OF YOUR DAYS’ TINY, PIERCING NEEDS. BUT, FRIEND, THEY ARE REAL AND TRUE AND CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.
Together, we’ve found and chosen another way to live, apart from the status quo of overwhelm and consumption and comparison and lack. A way that, even with limits (or, because of limits) leads to peace, a much greater sense of control and a way to actually attain your dreams.
Here are some ways you can stop buying stuff and start weaving limits into your life in order to reap all the rewards later!
Maybe this looks like not eating out AT ALL for a whole week. Maybe you want to stop buying coffee out for the month. Maybe it’s joining me for my no spend month and building more intention into every purchase you make!
Start small enough that the goal feels attainable. There’s absolutely no reason that you have to start with your giant goal of paying off all your debt. Start with a weekly goal and then stretch yourself to something monthly. And then keep getting bigger, until, before you know it, you ARE paying off your debt! Because, my friend, you will be.
Take the time to journal about your experience – no matter how small. This awareness will lead to revelations and resolutions that you may have never even considered otherwise.
According to Life Skills That Matter, the number 1 self awareness habit is journaling. Successful people throughout the ages kept a journal and swore by its positive effects.
Writing is a way to flush out your thoughts, to track things that are happening (like the money you’re saving because you’re choosing to go along on our no-spend month) and to get more in tune with the sneaky stories that shape your responses to circumstances.
When you make a choice to sacrifice something in the short-term by putting a stop to consumerism for a much bigger long-term goal, write it down. Write the sacrifice down and then write how you actually feel about it.
My hope is that the sacrifice will stop feeling like a sacrifice and a big fat NO, but will simply feel like a YES pushing you towards your ultimate dream.
Because that’s what it is friend. It’s a YES to what you REALLY want your life to look like!
NAME YOUR WHY
It’s vital to either have an attainable, measurable goal that you’re striving for, or to name the reason you’re sacrificing in the first place. No one wants to do hard things for an extended period unless there’s an amazing payoff in the end.
What’s your payoff?
Why are you willing to give up your gym membership and run outside in the 20 degree weather?
Why are you choosing to skip your favorite beach vacation this year?
Those are real examples friend. We did all of this while we were paying off our massive debt. We knew our WHY, and we clung to it. One day at a time. Which leads me to…
TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME
We had to look at the sacrifice we were making as just one tiny thing we were doing that day in order to move us closer to our WHY.
When I added up all the sacrifices we had already made and all the sacrifices we had yet to make in order to reach our goal – it was straight down into the pit of despair for me.
It was NOT helpful.
But, understanding this was just one tiny thing I was choosing to sacrifice today, and that tomorrow is a new day was a more helpful and hopeful perspective for me to have.
That’s it – four manageable and tangible ways to start building limits into your life in order stop buying stuff and to reach your dreams! Because the dreams are what it’s all about friends!
I’m always rooting for you.