Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Simplicity in our Spending September 5, 2012

Filed under: simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 2:13 pm

Oh, the crisp days of autumn, filled with cool days that just beckon for me to start baking again. Sigh…. I wonder what happened to what was looking like an early return of the cooler weather. It got so chilly at night that we actually were adding a quilt to the beds. Suddenly, we are back to the 100*+ temps during the day and nights don’t feel cool until about 4am. So, I think of cooler temps and enjoy the warm days while we have them. Soon enough, winter will arrive and come January, I will be dreaming of warmer days again. LOL Sometimes is seems that we are never satisfied.

Life is like that. We are content for a time, then start thinking we need to make changes or adjustments. Sometimes the change is good. One example being that every time I do a big de-cluttering spree, I feel great about what was accomplished. Within a couple of months however, I always find more that we have but do not really need. So, I start purging the house of excess all over again. That is good. I am clearing out the unnecessary things that are taking up precious storage space to make the home appear more spacious and inviting. It also keeps me aware of what is brought into the house. I really have to stop and think. Do we really need this? Is it a long-term use or is it something that is only temporary? There are many times something will seem a “need” at first, but we realize later that it was actually a “want” instead.

Most times that we make adjustments or changes it is a hazardous prospect. Say you are making a homemade stew. First you prepare the meat and start it cooking in a rich, flavorful broth. Then you begin to add your chopped up vegetables to the meat. As the stew slowly simmers on the stove, you begin to add herbs and seasonings. With each addition, you carefully taste the broth to see if the flavor is right. Then you make adjustments, adding a little of this or a pinch of that. The subtle changes in the flavor of the stew happens so gradually, that you don’t realize the amount of change that is happening. As many already know, the longer a stew simmers, the better the flavors blend. It takes on a totally new level of taste from the time you first add the seasonings until it has simmered all afternoon. Then there is that moment when you think that if you just add a touch of one more seasoning, the stew would be perfect. You add that seasoning and give the broth a taste. You then come to the reality that you should have left the stew the way it was before adding that last bit of seasoning. What was once a very rich and tasty stew has been ruined by that last addition.

Our lives mirror this analogy so often. Society has the opinion that you judge a person by the amount of possessions they have. Not only the amount, but do they own the right brands and are the items the newest versions available! It starts out innocent enough. You see everyone enjoying a particular thing and it looks so fun. In some cases, the gadget may be one that is meant to simplify your life. You get that gadget and it does make things easier. You think to yourself, this is great! Then, the next “must have” item comes along. So many people seem to have it that you are made to feel left out by not owning it. So, you go out and buy it. So, it continues. Each time you get a new item, something else comes along that is even better. Next thing you know, you are in the trap. A vicious circle of trying to keep up with what society deems to be essential. Suddenly, the day comes when you look around and see so much stuff and wonder how it all happened. Where did the spending and collecting of stuff become such a problem? There comes a point when we have to conscientiously make the decision to get off the merry-go-round. We must start making choices based upon what we really need instead of what others think we need.

Making the decision is not a one-time deal. It is something that we have to decide each and every time we go shopping. Having a list helps. Make the list ahead of time, then review it carefully later before you leave. Are the items on the list truly necessary? If it is a gadget, can you think of anyway to get the same tasks done without that particular item? If you are upgrading your computer, for example, is it for good reason or only because you don’t have the patience to wait for the slower processor to function? Are you buying new clothing because your current wardrobe is no longer serviceable or because you simply want your clothing to be new looking?

I am not saying that having new is a bad thing. I am only bringing attention to our motivation for it.

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