Today I want to share a tip with you on how I afford to purchase something I would like to have, even when I can't afford it.
Justin and I have created a pretty tight budget for ourselves and all of our income is divided into categories. Our desire it to be as responsible with the money God gives us as we possibly can. We don't always get it right. We use the Dave Ramsey envelope system (which I will probably talk more about in another post this month) so each month we have a certain amount of money set aside for food, clothes, household products, gas, date nights, "fun" money, and so one. It's not an extravagant budget in the sense that our envelopes are overflowing with cash to spend on whatever we want. They usually end up empty much more quickly than we expect.
So what happens when I see a pair of shoes I like or I "need" a new bag for my laptop and there's no cash for it in our budget?
I find something to sell. Yep. I do this all the time. If there's something I want and I know we can't afford it, I just find something around the house that I can sell to get the cash for the new thing.
If I see a pair of jeans I really like, I take a couple pairs of old jeans to a consignment store and get cash for them.
Let me stop here and say this: Just because I want something doesn't mean I buy it. There is definitely some self-control that has to come into play sometimes. And, if I just don't have anything around the house to sell, then I don't buy whatever it is that's on my "want" list. The self-control to not purchase something occurs much more often then the impulse of buying. And this is definitely something I've had to work on because I am naturally an impulsive person, in many areas. Just wanted to be clear with you all that I don't just figure out a way to buy everything I "want".
About 8 months ago I was in need of a new laptop. I had an old, used MacBook that I purchased off of craigslist and it wasn't a smart buy because it ended up having more issues than I knew about. I decided to sell that laptop on craigslist along with my snowboard (that I LOVED but was only using a couple of times a season) and I was able to buy a much newer, used MacBook on craigslist that is still proving to be a great buy! I did have to front a little bit of cash for this transaction but I was able to pay it off eventually.
I know all of this "i want" language doesn't sound like it fits with a series about learning to live with less but I promise, this is going somewhere.
Here's the point.
Learning to live with less might mean something different for everyone. For me, it's about cutting back on the amount of things I purchase but also making sure that I'm not accumulating a house full of stuff in the process. I'm constantly in pursuit of minimizing the amount of stuff we have. It doesn't mean that I can't EVER buy ANYTHING. When I choose to sell something first before buying something new (even if it's used) it helps keep my accumulation of 'stuff' in check and also helps save money.
I control my stuff. It doesn't control me. Or at least that's the goal, isn't it?
The more 'stuff' you have, the more space it takes up in your life, your home, and eventually your heart.
Keeping fighting the fight. I'm fighting right along side you.
See you tomorrow.