Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Feeling thankful, and it's not even November!

I recently read a blog post that opened my eyes quite a bit.  In summary it was about being thankful for the things we have instead of trying to keep up with what society, media, other people influence us to think we "need".  It got me thinking about needs and wants.  Getting down to the basics, what we need is far less that what we want in our lives.  This all prompted a conversation last night about what Eric and I can do to help adjust our focus and hopefully also help us to spend less on fluff items that aren't necessary.  This is something that I have wanted to do for a while but have not had the energy to come up with a plan for.  I will also mention a few products that we have found to be helpful and that we use--my endorsements on these products are my own, in fact they are not aware of my endorsements.  So, here is what we have decided to do (and I am sure as we implement this plan things will change as we figure out how it all works):

  1. When we think of something we want (aside from necessary items like food) we will write it on a centralized list (we have been using Cozi on our smartphones) instead of just buying it.   Cozi is great because it is an easy way for all family members to add things to a calendar, to do list, or a shopping list.  It is nice because you are able to add something when you think if it right from your phone or computer.  The idea is that we will have a list of wants, and from that we can determine what we can afford and we can really think about what we purchase and decide if we really want it or can live without it.  Each purchase will have a discussion first.  This will also let us prioritize purchases.  I am assuming that we will find that we don't need as much and will buy less (and save more--or re-allocate).
  2. We will determine a budget for eating out and a schedule for it that works for our family and funds (we have yet to determine how often is realistic).  This has been a huge crutch for us lately, probably due to baby, time, and ease.  I will of course have to be a lot better about meal planning and shopping for groceries smarter.  We have used Let's Dish recently and will most likely use them again for quick and easy meals that are a lot cheaper than eating out.  This is a business you can go to to prepare healthy meals that go right into the freezer and are super easy to heat up/cook for weeknight meals.  For an extra fee they will also prepare the meals for you to pick up at a time that is convenient for you.  They have great promotions, especially for after you have had a baby (free meal prep for six months).
  3. Making a list of cheap/free family fun activities and scheduling them on the calendar instead of deciding to do something last minute and spending more than we need to.  This allows us to also focus on one of our most important needs which is quality time with our family!

Now, I am not about to say that I am never going to buy any of those frivolous items anymore, but I think I will be more thoughtful about what I do buy and hopefully splurge less on the the wants and spend more time with the needs.  So what do we really need?  Family, food, friends, transportation, and a roof over our heads rank at the top of the list and are things that we already have...everything else...are just a bonus.

Do we need a fancy kitchen?  it would be nice...but, no.  What we have works and allows me to feed my family every day.

Do my kids each need a bedroom of their own?  No, some people share an entire home the size of one of their bedrooms.

Do we need new curtains?  No, the ones we have cover the windows...which is all they are there to do.

Do we need a new car?  No, ours fits all of our children safely in their car seats and has enough room for groceries and a stroller (maybe not at the same time, but we can plan accordingly).

So, I guess right now I feel thankful for what we have, which is a lot.  Focusing on what we don't have make me feel less than, and I certainly do not want our kids to feel that way.  I want our hearts to feel full and I want for us all to feel like we and what we have is more than enough.  We are enough.  We have more than enough.  We are fortunate.  We just need to remember that sometimes.

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