As far as I am concerned, enough has always been about a mind-set.Today, in our society, we live in the land of plenty. We’ve been conditioned to consume without consideration. “Don’t have the money right away, don’t worry, just use your credit card.” However, buying frivolous things has not only caused debt and added clutter in our home, but it has led to discontentment as we have demonstrated a lack of self-control. It is time for something to give. Even in the midst of a waning economic situation, average Americans…
- Spend $0.47 of every food dollar on dining out.
- Spend more money than they earn each year. This accounts for 43% of American families.
- Owe $4,200 per adult and $8,100 per household.
From all-you-can-eat buffets, to offers for BOGO (buy one get one free), to the newest gadget we are constantly tempted to increase our consumption; wouldn’t you agree? Most of us are not able to wrap our minds around what it means to go to bed hungry. Nor have we ever had want for a necessity. Even with full dinner plates, packed-full closets, and garages bloated with floor to ceiling storage bins because all of our possessions won’t fit in our oversized houses, we continue to search for more.
Earlier in the week I posted a question on the wall of my facebook page. I asked what people would do differently if they thought they had enough, and here were some of the responses:
-Grow more food
-Follow my dreams
What if…just what if…we all decided to accept the fact that we already have enough? What if we started resisting the lure of consumerism and instead, we started to become content with what we have?
How could this shift in thinking transform our lives?
A word of encouragement: This transformation will not, and cannot, happen overnight! It is a journey, not a destination. It requires continuous, intentional living. It involves a daily renewing of minds.
Here are a few practical changes we can begin to implement. Try it! Even if only for a few days. You could be surprised as to how much you enjoy enough.
10 Ways to Live In Contentment and Have Enough
1. Re-defining Our Understanding of Enough
If we have $20 in our pocket, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, we are richer than 75% of the people in the world.
2. Save Money
Save more than you spend.
Cut up the credit cards, or at least put them away for a while, and stop acquiring debt.
Seek out and follow budgeting principles such as those provided by Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial Ministries, or the Pear Budget.
Choose a day or specific time to disconnect and un-plug.
Be inspired by writers such as those on Unplugged Sunday
Recommended reading: The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale
4. Create Your Own Entertainment
Carry over the un-plugged theme and turn off the TV!
Stop spending money on super expensive entertainment, travel, and/or recreational activities! Get outdoors and enjoy what has been freely given to us in nature.
5. Just Say NO
Having enough often means we will make decisions that are not accepted by the masses. We may have to tell our children no, we may have to tell our friends no, we may even have to tell our extended families no.
6. Quit Trying To Keep Up
Here’s the brutal truth, there will always be someone that makes more money that you! And what’s more, there will always be someone that has more stuff than you! Gasp! Yes, it’s true. But who really cares? Quit trying to keep up. You are a unique, amazingly talented individual all in your own right.
7. Prioritize People
I quit my job 6 months ago. You know why? It wasn’t because it made financial sense. It was because I realized that all my children wanted was me. They didn’t care about the stuff I was able to buy them. I realized that they are only with me for such a short time and then they are off. Sure, we spend a whole lot less (I mean thousands less) and we have a whole lot less than we did before, but we’ve never been happier.
8. Be Happy With You
Over the years, as I have matured and grown into my own skin, I am beginning to develop the ability to be content. I no longer need top-of-the-line corporate food, name-brand clothing, or mountains of money to define me. Enough just looks different when I am happy with myself.
9. Eat Real, Nutritious Food
Eat at home.
Begin eating less from a box.
Learn what grows seasonally in your location and eat it.
Grow as much of your own food as possible. Don’t let the size of your outdoor space limit you!
10. Show Gratitude
In this the season of thanks, make a list of all the things you are thankful for. Post it in a high traffic area of your home. Embrace it!
In order to begin the journey, we must find ways to bring our family along. Gather everyone together and openly discuss the things on this list. Challenge each other to spend less money this season. Just think of how great it will be when you have gained control over your life! Begin implementing a few changes, but remain sensitive. If it doesn’t work that’s okay, baby steps.So now I ask you. What would you do differently if you thought you had enough?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
Rich Fletcher's Good Food says
Wonderful words of Wisdom! Thank you for sharing !!
Carol J. Alexander says
Very well put. Thanks for sharing this.
I've been struggling with these kinds of thoughts since my husband has been out of work, and it's just what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your (timely) blog post! =)
TOTALLY agree–thank you! I have learned these things over the past few years, since my husband's business fell apart in 2008. There's been hardly any work over the past few years, and I stay home and homeschool my kids. But we have learned these things that you posted, and we are HAPPY!
you've hit the nail on the head!
We've been following a much simpler life the 2-3 years and are much happier for it, put your savings away before you spend any of your income!
I just started reading another John Grisham book, and it has really made me do some thinking about the homeless, and people who have so little, while I have plenty. He is a successful lawyer, and leaves his fluent practice, to serve in soup kitchens, and help with their legal problems. Its called "The Street Lawyer". Gives you alot to think about…like what you have been talking about, too. Thank you…
I think we do a good job with all 10 of these. Which probably accounts with why we are happy with our life. I am so thankful for all that we have and all we are able to share.
June Rollins says
Thank you for this well-researched, timely post. I shared on FB. June
That's pretty good. I need to work on a few of these! I tend to get an over achiever attitude and then get stressed. I always advise my friends to just say no, but then don't do it myself.
Tossing your television will do amazing things for your life. We can't eliminate everything that makes us want, but most people have no idea how much comes from the endless assault of tv. 13+ years and never going back.
I couldn't agree more. Great post!!
I appreciate this wonderful post. Words of wisdom.
April's Homemaking says
Love this post! Especially poignant post for this holiday season, I have been very careful this year to plan for a nice and simple Christmas. We also cut our Dish service to just basic reception and thought it would be so difficult, but it has been a real blessing, and frees up a lot of time and money. I loved all of your suggestions!
I love your list. These are things I have really been thinking about more and more. Some I am actually working on, some are waiting in the wings to to tackled. Great reminders of the life values we should be focused on.
Such a great list! It is so easy to get caught up in life and to confuse wanting things with needing things. This post has encouraged me to take a step back and to see what I really need.
For me, things like learning crafts and skills are far more entertaining than shopping or watching television.
I'm having a giveaway!
Could not agree more with what you've written!
My husband always says, " I wish we were rich." I don't! I somehow , sorta, appreciate that we live "pay-check-to-pay-check" Everything that we have, we own. Granted, it's not much, but it's ours! I wouldn't have created our home , by hand. If we were rich, I would probably have someone else design my house….what's the fun in that? I love this post, it really speaks loud and clear!
I like the sentiments, although I have to say I literally have NO outdoor space with my apartment. I was fortunate to receive a community gardening plot (there are long waitlists in my neighborhood: 3-5 years) but there is only so much you can do in 50 semi-shady sq. ft when you can't shade your neighbors by growing up too much.
It's also very reasonable to accept your limits. You can't be perfect. I don't compost year round, for example.
I'll have enough when I have a small cabin, have paid off my student loans, and truly adore my work. (In about 5 years, I think.)
This is excellent advice!!
For me, odd as it sounds, one of the best ways to appreciate that I have enough is to give some away. I was asked to give a talk about giving at church after arguing with someone who stated in a committee meeting that it is "unrealistic" to expect anyone to tithe 10% of their income to the church–the IRS says I am "low income," but I am able to pay 3 people's everyday expenses on about 60% of that income, freeing the rest for charitable giving and savings, by having what is apparently a "humble" lifestyle but feels luxurious to us!
I do have occasional freak-outs when I worry about not having enough. In general, though, I learned from birth to be creative with and appreciative of the abundance of stuff that comes my way rather than to crave the newest and fanciest things.
This was wonderful! I'm going to be thinking and rethinking that list as we enter into 2012 … and as we make the 2012 budget in the next few days.
Five years ago I began to embrace this thinking in increments. I used to have a continual fog of "desperation" around me, thinking I needed to achieve, have success, be financially "secure", which was a standard that my parents implanted through their lifestyle. We did not consider ourselves rich growing up, but looking back there was a lot of comfort and new things. It's difficult sometimes, to realize that I invested a lot of finances in a private college education to end up homeschooling, developing a handmade business. But these choices make me happy. Less material goods can lead to a fuller experience of life and also has the affect of making me more open and approachable to people. I have more friends now than ever…and that makes life incredibly wealthy!
I couldn’t agree more! Nearly 2 years ago I started thinking about how to live “smaller”. I closed my business 1 1/2 yrs ago so I could stay home with my boys. Yes, we spend thousands less than we used to, but we are so much happier and healthier than we were before. I’m home for my boys. We play games and use Netflix for our entertainment. Eating out is now a treat, rather than a daily occurrence. Thank you for your post! Keep up the great work.
Im so glad to see you reposted this. I am trying to change my way of life. It is a struggle with my husband. He has always been one of those that had to impress. My kids are now 18 and 19, and I tell them now that my spoiling them is done, and now they are responsible for their ‘wants’ Im hoping they learn the value of a dollar fast. All of these ideas are great.I cant wait to start this new year!
We are very lucky that I became a bit of an environmentalist about 5 years ago. When you start to realize every thing you buy, use, consume, etc. has an impact, usually negative, on the planet it changes your perspective. I had already tackled my clutter many years ago, but waste was a whole other issue. In an attempt to avoid nasty chemicals, I switched to making many of my cleaners myself. In an attempt to avoid sweat shops, I reduced the amount of new clothing items I purchased. Food waste was another issue. I started planning menus and shopping more frequently, I have a great garden that expands every year, so we are able to plan menus around what I grow. When the economy tanked, we had already reduced a lot of our consumerism, and had only one credit card with a managable balance and a house that is nearly paid off. If we hadn’t already adjusted our lifestyle we would either be miserable, feeling deprived or we wouldn’t be able to control our spending and we would be filling for bankruptcy. We started cycling for health and entertainment and have found a wonderful community full of wonder friends which we spend a lot of time with instead of expensive vacations and tv. Our family doesn’t understand some of our shifts in lifestyle, but since we are happy with where we are, their negative attitude doesn’t affect us. My recent decision to stop coloring my hair seems to be really striking a nerve with a particular sister in law, but because I don’t measure my value by keeping up with others, it is the right decision for me. When you are comfortable with who you are and know your decisions are right for you, the opinions of others are irrelevant.
Just found your blog and love it!!!!
Lalena Hernandez says
Love your blog. Grateful for this post. I have been trying to live more humbly. In the past I always tried to keep up with the masses. I had children and realized that all that “stuff” is not important. I also do not want to teach my children that they need more things to be happy and successful in life. They do not have to become a drone and follow the masses. Realizing this has brought on a sense of inner peace and a greater appreciation for life. Thank you for your inspirational words.
Lalena Hernandez says
I will be sharing your words with FB and pinterest…thank you again.
Bill Page says
Absolutely love this web site, and truly appreciate the incredible words of wisdom on this post. I have been pouring over FrugallySustainable.com for the past 2 weeks, and have been SO inspired.
Last year I started exercising regularly and removed “trash” foods from my diet. A dear friend & client over at BasicallyVegan.com also inspired me to start eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Now I’m not a 100% vegan by any stretch (I just love meat way too much), but have started eating much more wholly and frugally as a result.
This site has truly helped me see the necessity of removing the trashy & toxic products all in the name of convenience and ease.
As a result of the change in my eating, exercising, and social habits…thankfully many of the items on this list I have already begun to incorporate in my life. So thanks!
I am following you on Twitter, Facebook, and Pintrest. I have 2 twitter accounts: @billpagemaker & @phusioncreative… So I hope to stay in touch with you!
P.S. It’s good to see you pushing frugality by reciting Dave Ramsey’s “Beans & Rice and Rice & Beans.” That has been my motto for the longest time. Boy can I share a TON of various recipes for several types of beans and brown rice.
Again, Andrea thanks for what you do! You have inspired me so much that I have begun making my own liquid dish detergent, laundry detergent, fabric softener, liquid hand soap, and liquid soap for the shower. I have my sister all excited about this (and she’s an RN too).
So a big, hearty hello from Texas! 🙂
You are so right! I thought about this for a time now and I am glad to be at home for and with my daughter! Thank you for sharing this article – I will share it.
What a wonderful article! Just found your blog and Facebook page, LOVE IT!
Thank you for giving this grandma some wonderful and useful tips that I try to impliment. I love your wisdom! I am still willing to learn and change. Andrea, you are a very special person and we are all lucky to have you and your site.
Thank you for this inspiring article! I really like how you challenge us to accept the fact that we already HAVE enough, now…it is a very refreshing, and comforting, fact. Cheers!
I love this site. My children are all grown now with kids of their own. I will never regret the time spent with them, though it was in the early 70’s and I was told often that I was wasting my talents by staying home with them. That time was not wasted, We did not have the frills that some friends did, but we lived well. I grow a lot of our food now both here in Virginia and in France when I am there. Thanks
came to pretty much the same conclusions some years back myself
I love your blog and this is really a great article! My husband and I with our 3 kids started really becoming more self sufficient about 3 years ago after he was in a really bad accident and money was beyond tight. Now I’m so much more happier without the credit card bills! We have a garden, clothes are bought when needed not just because school starts or I just got to have it. We rarely eat out and I love making diner and made from scratch deserts. My kids can all cook and help me garden and can! Our entertainment is a good hike, playing cards and star gazing plus we talk to each other – how many other families can say that!!! As far as I’m concerned the Jones need to keep up with me hahahahaha.