Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Love of Money & Stuff

We all know that money is important.  It pays for our home and vehicles.  It buys our groceries.  It pays our bills and it buys us those things we want and need.

Stuff - I am sure we all have too much.  I know I do.  I work regularly getting rid of and parring down my things.  WHY did I keep this or that?  What was the purpose?  Why did I buy that?  I ask myself these questions on a regular basis.
The stuff we have is money we HAD!

Some people don't understand that spending and spending is not going to make you happy.  Many people are just trying to fill a void in their lives and one day they will figure out  - it doesn't work.

Last week we had a long time friend come by to visit.  We hardly see each other any more.  Maybe once or twice a year.  She is a bit older than I am - she is 67 and is still working.
Back story:  Her husband passed away several years ago (suddenly).  She has been receiving his social security and his work retirement. (That is what we live on).  She is also working.  The house and vehicle were both paid in full when he passed.  He was very frugal and worked hard and saved.
After his passing - she remodeled the house (it did need it).
THEN she went on a spending spree!  She literally filled an entire room (floor to ceiling) with QVC purchases (which she ended up selling at yard sales for next to nothing).
She buys lotto tickets EVERY day.  She goes to casino.  She probably owns 50 pairs of tennis shoes of many styles and colors (minimum).  She goes and tans every day.  She eats out a lot.  When she cooks she throws away leftovers.  Her groceries are bought at the corner gas/village mart.
As you can see ………….. my head is about to explode!!!!!  I think:  How did we become so different?

She looks around our home and says "still the same".  Yes it is!  She asks why I don't I buy new stuff.  Don't I want new things.  Why do I stay home so much?  
I told her there is really nothing I want and there is definitely not anything I need.  She laughs and shakes her head.
I say "I am a simple person - you know that".  Her comment "you sure are".  She seems to think we are weird and a joke.
Now you might see why we don't get together much any more!

I just don't understand the 'I have to have or the I am owed' this or that mentality.  She is old enough to know better.
Our big difference is - we have a nest egg and an emergency fund.  She has none.  Her furnace recently went out and she had to finance a new one.  We purchased ours out right.

We have enough to be comfortable and pay our way.  We have an emergency fund.  Yes, come fall we have additional income when I start collecting S.S.  That will go in savings for our future lives or whatever we want to do.
We have enough.  When I leave this earth - it won't matter how much stuff I had.

Three weeks ago on the news there was a story of a house fire - it took responders a long tome to get inside because all doors and windows were blocked with piles and piles of stuff.  The guy was a hoarder.  He died in the house that day.  I learned the next day that I went to school with him and had classes with him back in the day.  To date there has been no obituary or service for him - no money to do so.
So sad - what good did all that stuff do him?  None.

I was recently reading Amish Values for Your Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher and came across a paragraph I though was so true.
"Folks just keep wanting more and more.  Bigger houses.  Newer cars.  Bigger televisions.  They get all stressed out with these debts, and they forget what's most important.  They could live with a whole lot less stress if they could just cut back and live a little simpler...…..Live in a smaller house.  Drive a car until it's broken down for good.  I know the kids would sure be better off if Mom and Dad were home, paying attention to them."
The love of money and stuff.
What is everyone trying to prove?  And to who?

Me - I am a simple gal.  I don't want for much - just a healthy, happy life.  Enough to live out my life and be able to lend a helping hand now and then.
A roof over my head, food for my table, my family (their health) and my Savior.  I NEED nothing more.

I think we all need to pay attention and be mindful of money, to make do with what we already have, and outsmart ourselves when big desires kick in and improve on our self control.
Being frugal or thrifty does not mean being cheap.  It is all about being a good steward of what we have.
We can still live a good life and be happy and have nice things and do good deeds - but we don't have to struggle with stress and debt.

I discovered years ago that I can cut back without feeling deprived.  Actually, today I feel quite the opposite.  I feel pretty rich and smart!
I have an abundance of resourcefulness and creativity, and I have peace that wasn't there before.
I now measure my spending against our goals in life - to be able to live our days out with peace and happiness and little stress.  That is success in my book!!!!!!!

Take time to re-evaluate your situation.  Look at the long road ahead.  YES, be prepared with the goods that could save your family (your pantry) - but look at the other things.  
**  Do you live the simple life as well?
**  Do you think you can have enough?
**  Can your creative mind overcome your desire to buy new things?
**  Can you be happy and content with less?



  1. I feel for your friend. She will likely end up with nothing and that is sad. I am slowly learning that I don't need things. It is getting easier and easier to go shopping and tell myself no or to not even look.

    1. I agree - she will eventually have nothing, because the important stuff is getting replaced with things.

      I don't even go out much any more and when I do I just walk on by!!!!

      I have what I need.

  2. Blessings to you Cheryl on this beautiful Spring day we're having in Kansas.
    Your lifestyle is comfortable to you at the present. You have found your nitch.
    Your friend may be trying to fill a hole that manifested when her husband died. Things can be sold if needing to declutter. Perhaps she will slow down on the buying as she gets into her 70's.

    All the best as life is a journey,

    1. Yes, we are quite comfortable in our lifestyle. You know I have thought the same about her filling a hole but it has been 15 years and it just gets worse. I hope she figures it out before it is too late.

      It is a beautiful spring day here as well. Loving the sunshine.

    2. I hope she gets a handle on it. Getting up there in age.

    3. Thanks - me too. We are on the shorter end of this journey and it should be comfortable.

  3. I have a simple life and am planning to simplify it further. I would rather go for a walk or work in the garden than go to the shops. I have no debt and have always tried to live like this.

    1. AMEN! Me too! Natures speaks to me, and I love what it has to say!
      I am glad for you - it helps keep you calm and happy!
      Have a good one!

  4. We used to have friends that spent spent spent. The wife worked full time, the husband had a full time job and a part time job. They received a very nice inheritance ($60K) from her grandfather. They also had 16 credit cards, 2 car leases and a car loan, a mortgage and a home equity loan and both of them had a 401K loans. They used to say why don't you get a better car, Hubby makes good money. Why don't you update your kitchen? They never had saving, we do. We are debt free except for our mortgage. Their oldest has a ton of student debt. We are helping our kids get through college. The only one that should care what kind of car I drive is me and Hubby. And as long as it is safe to drive, I will keep driving my 2006 Sienna. Sounds like our "friends" should be friends.

    1. It just boggles the mind. They will never understand that they are their own worst enemy.
      I agree, not their business what type car you drive. I am with you - ours is a 2002. It works fine.

      You are teaching your children the greatest lesson they can learn in life. Good job.

  5. We knew a couple that had a big fine house but no money in their pocket. My husband went to a car car show with him and bought him a hot dog ...he had no money not even for a hot dog! They too didn't understand us..the feeling was mutual.

    1. Isn't that amazing. Some people will never understand that they have a problem.

  6. Have you ever read The Millionaire Next Door? It's always the guy you'd never suspect! The guy driving the 2006 Buick, not the 2019 Jaguar. Several years ago, and elderly woman died and she left her estate to Wichita State. It made the news because she & her deceased husband had lived in a tiny old house. They drove an old car and her nephew(they had no children) said she put the meat Styrofoam in her shoes so they'd last longer. He thought they were broke. They left the school several million dollars.

    I have friends like you guys mentioned. They are always worried about money, but regularly charge $200 dinners, buy lottery tix, get manicures every week, have gardeners, etc. And yes, they NEED them. One often says, Oh, we could never live like you." Probably won't have to because they'll end up filing bankruptcy before retiring. Keep the house, the IRA etc.

    1. I have heard several of those stories as well. I don't want to live like a pauper, but I don't want to live like a millionaire either! (Not that I am close).
      We live comfortable, have nice things, can do what we want, BUT we saved for retirement too.

      It is amazing what some folks NEED!
      Each to his own - just don't expect to be bailed out someday.
      Security feels good doesn't it?

  7. Yes....this!! I used to be your friend in my younger days. Now I sit back and watch others doing the same. So sad. Thankfully, our children have learned to be frugal and I enjoy seeing their progress.

    1. I guess we all had our moments - but thankfully learned.
      Love seeing younger people be frugal and responsible.

  8. Cheryl, I think people like the couple I mentioned are the ones that lived during the Depression. It's hard wired in their brains that times can go bad in an instant. They saw it happen and want to be prepared.

    1. I think you are probably right. They had to be prepared. I like being prepared as well.

  9. My mother in law is a prime example of living beyond her means because as she says, "I am going to be 84 and I deserve it". Makes me crazy when she says that. You don't get extra "points or Credit" for making it into your 80's. She has blown through about 750,000. in the last 10 years. My father in law had her all set up to live until she died. He was a planner. She blew it all and what does she have to show for it? Basically nothing of substance. Mostly gambling and eating out and showing off to her friends who in reality are mostly not her true friends. She has two or 3 who have stuck by her through thick or thin. I have tried to teach her how to extend her money and make it a fun game but she can't be bothered. We gave her 70,000. at one time 4 years ago when we sold our house. (against my better judgement) Never again! It was gone in 18 months. I told my husband when she runs out of the 24,000 she made selling her house 5 months ago I will teach her how to live within her means but we are by no stretch rich - the bills get paid and the house and car are paid off. But I won't give her money ever again. I will teach her and if she chooses not to learn then she will learn the hard way. My husband said - she's never been good with money. That to me is a cop out to do as you please and forget the consequences. Not flying with me. I have worked hard my whole life even when I was a single mom. Been married to my husband 20 years and didn't marry him until my kids were grown and out of the house when I met him. It would frustrate me to no end if we gave my mother in law $ and she took it or her Social security and blew it on gambling, eating out and keeping up with fake friends. I am on disability for my heart but worked a good portion of my life. I still "work" at home. So as I tell him - This is what I am willing to do - Teach her to live with in her means when she is ready and that's it. Have already learned the hard way she will just blow it if she has it. Sorry for the rant. I just don't understand how people do this. My mom worked until she was 76 and then retired. She will be 80 next month and pays her own way and manages to have fun on a budget. It can be done! Take care.