Yesterday was my birthday, and I only thought it fitting to reflect on what that means. For some, it means looking forward to being pampered and showered with presents. For others, it means spending time with loved ones. And still for some, it means absolutely nothing!
But as time has gone on, I find myself coming up empty when people ask me what I want.
Usually, it’s something practical that I need anyway (like a kitchen tool), or it’s just money.
Boring! I know. But I don’t find myself looking forward to birthdays and holidays because of the spoils anymore. It’s been that way for several years now.
I’ve come to realize that being happy with less is becoming second nature to me.
Do you truly need everything you own?
Last week, I posed the question: what’s the most expensive item you own? (Sans cars and houses.)
Many of you answered similarly to me: technology (laptops/computers), and your beds.
You could argue these two things are necessary in this day and age. Most of us need something to sleep on, and most of us like using our computers to connect with others in some way. No surprises there.
I went a little further and figured my collection of clothes and makeup have cost me a pretty penny over the years. A lot of people have made the argument that small things really do add up, and I would agree.
I know many of you are of a frugal mindset, but still had purchases totaling a thousand dollars, or more. I don’t think ONE purchase is a good barometer of how frugal we are. One large purchase is such a small sample of our actual buying habits.
Instead, look around you. How many things do you own? Do you find yourself wanting more? Why not try being happy with less first?
Honestly, if I was forced to live at a bare-minimum for a few months, I know I could do without a lot of things I own. I could easily cut my wardrobe in half, for one. I could stop holding onto some stuff I’ve acquired over the years that haven’t been used in a while. I could let go of some of the more sentimental things that I keep because of the memories attached to them.
What really matters to you?
At the end of the day, my priorities are as follows:
- My family (including my cats) and friends
- Freedom (financial and otherwise)
I value all of these highly, and I try to find a way to make my goals and purchases align with each. It can get a little tricky at times, but by having these things in mind, I’ve been buying less and less “stuff.” Because of that, everything I bring into our apartment is carefully thought out, and I avoid buying unnecessary things. Less waste is always a good thing!
Liz over at Budgeting for More had compiled a little list of her simple frugal pleasures a few weeks ago, and I really think the spirit of this post is one we can all benefit from. I have my own little series that I need to continue, with free activities that I enjoy.
I couldn’t agree more with Liz. I know I personally love taking naps on the weekend. Treasuring the moments when I get to see family. Watching my cats go crazy. Chilling out with friends. Cuddling with R. Going for a walk. Listening to music.
All of these things are free. Completely and utterly free. You don’t have to spend a cent to enjoy these simple, yet fulfilling, things. Things that make me happy and coincidentally, help me on my path toward financial independence.
I’m really learning to find happiness in the small things. The best part is that it’s liberating. Simply not wanting anything is freeing.
My grandma happens to love watching game shows, and as such, I’ve been watching them with her this week. There were several cars being given away on most of these shows. Of course, contestants were going crazy. “Yeah, give me the car!!”
Is it sad to say if I were on that show, I would be more excited about the money? I’m fine with my car, thanks. A “home office” was also being given away – well, I don’t need a new one. None of these prizes, except the vacations, were exciting me.
Obviously, I’m quite the proponent of valuing experiences over material things. I think a lot of you agree with that. If only we could get the rest of the population to see how much better life would be if they gave up on their pursuit of new stuff in lieu of experiencing all life has to offer. And no, I don’t mean the experience of driving a new car, because that newness wears off.
Try taking a new outlook on life where you learn to seek out the little things in life and find happiness in them. Most of us are just too consumed by our day-to-day happenings that we forget to stop and pause on our journey and just breathe.
Are you being happy with less, or are you still trying to figure out what you should and shouldn’t be purchasing? What truly makes you happy in life?