I’m not sure about you but I hate consumerism.
Sure, we all need some things to live comfortably but one day I looked around and felt that I was being suffocated by stuff. I also got sick of giving everybody my money every payday.
Below is a short list of things I’ve given up. Some with relative ease and others, not so much. This list has not stopped here either; I’m always looking around for things to purge to make life a little simpler or to live within my means a little better.
1. Cable TV
This was by far the easiest of the five to give up. The hubs had a harder time with this one (mainly because of football) but Netflix and the Internet is enough to keep us in the entertainment and information loop (damn you, SOPA!). In fact, besides football and a few select programs, I despise TV.
Cable TV is deceptive and has taken a major role in the dumbing down of society. Studies have actually been done that prove that the more a person watches TV, the more money they spend. Cable television is the best propaganda machine ever invented and people actually pay $65 a month to watch it! I can think of a lot of things to do with $65, can’t you?
2. A microwave
I’ve known for a long time that microwaves are dangerous but I hesitated getting rid of mine. How would I re-heat food? What would the hubs say? Well, when we moved into our much smaller home with a much smaller kitchen we didn’t even bothering bringing it. We just left the monstrous thing at our old house. And we’ve never looked back.
It’s so easy re-heating food on the stove! Just throw whatever it is you have cooked in a pot and slowly reheat it. I have stainless steel pots and pans and the trick is add a little water to the food and again, to slowly heat it up. Does it take a few seconds longer, yeah, but it’s worth not consuming food that’s been radiated.
And people, I don’t even have a toaster oven. If you own a toaster oven then there’s definitely no excuse for you to keep using that microwave. Still not convinced? Try it out yourself for just one week. I bet you’ll never go back.
3. Debit cards
I have some debt I’m working on paying off and thanks to the Dave Ramsey Envelope System I’m a lot closer to that city called Debt-freeville. But one of the requirements of the program is you can’t use your debit card. Yep, you can only use cash. No more debit cards and definitely no more credit cards. Let me tell you it’s been quite an adjustment.
It’s nice cutting out all those spontaneous purchases but boy I do get a little nervous when it’s my turn at the checkout line in the grocery store. If I have $200 in cash for groceries then I can only spend $200 in cash for groceries. If my total happens ring up $210 then Houston, we have a problem. It’s a little embarrassing asking the clerk to take something off but by and large my bill normally comes under my allotted amount.
Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System is not for the faint of heart but if you have nagging debt then I strongly urge to give it try. It really does work.
4. My house
Ahh, your first home purchase. You remember it I’m sure. The American Dream at your fingertips. A time of so much excitement, so much hope.
Then the housing crisis hit (enter crash and burn sound bite here).
That’s what happened to us anyway. We bought our home for $139,000 in 2009 and by 2011 it had dropped $30k in value. You’re probably thinking, ‘so what everyone’s home dropped in value, why move?’ Well, we never intended on leaving, in fact we had hopes to retire there but things didn’t work out that way. My husband’s crappy employer was all but forcing us to relocate an hour and half away to a very crappy town. Instead of staying with the crappy company we found greener pastures elsewhere. In this economy we felt the need to be mobile.
If you own your home outright then who cares if it drops in value- you own it. Urban-homestead that puppy and work on gaining some self-sufficiency. But that wasn’t the case for us. We were a long way from paying it off and the fact that the bank has the option to call in the loan at anytime worried me. So, we put it on the market, said our good-byes and are now living in a rental.
It is a little sad when I stop and think about our first home. We had a lot of good memories there but we’re convinced we made the right decision.
5. My car
I had read of one-income families surviving just fine with one vehicle and in an effort to get rid of debt faster, we sold my paid-off Toyota 4Runner a year ago. I’m still not sure if it was the best move. That car was awesome- low miles, reliable, roomy, good gas milage. I miss it…a lot. But while it was an all-around great vehicle, we have saved money on gas and maintenance costs. (Just to clarify – we would have never sold it if it were’t for our debt we want so badly to be gone.)
It takes a little more planning and coordination, but living with one vehicle is not that bad…I guess.
Now, if I could just get white flour and white sugar outta my house!
What about you? Is there anything laying around and taking up your hard-earned money? Are you truly living within your means?
Photo Credit: Dannerzz