I subscribe to and frequently remind myself of Suze Orman's suggestion of three priorities, in order: people, money, things. With the house, it feels like things have taken priority. One has to fill a house with things. Right? It seems that there is always something requiring more money. Then those things need to be put away, cleaned, used, then repeat over and over and over.
I am so incredibly thankful for being able to have the money to have nice things - yet, I do not want my life to be swallowed up by the caring for things. It's people that come first, then money, and then lastly, things. I am a person, so I realize that if the things are bogging me down, I have to take care of that first. Then save my money, and only deal with things when it is completely neccessary.
As if the universe was using email this morning, I received my weekly Zen Habits article -
and it has given me some good ideas for taking control of the stuff in my life. The author writes that we need to unautomate our money - put more thought and time into our spending and on what things we are buying and storing. There are a few helpful strategies that I can focus on this week.
I have started this, again, this week. From my checking account, I have withdrawn enough money for two weeks of gas and groceries. Other money has gone toward bills, debt, and savings. This idea originally came from Larry Winget's book, You're Broke Because You Want to Be - http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/03/28/review-youre-broke-because-you-want-to-be/. He says that groceries should not cost more than $50 per person each week and he also says that each person is responsible for the choices that he or she makes. If one wants to be financially healthy, he or she can - by making choices that reflect that goal.
I feel that my husband and I are very lucky because we can go and get anything that we want. I notice I typed, want. Many of our wants are not neccessarily things we need. Giving ourselves 30 days to think about things might help us to pare down the unneccessary stuff in our life.
My favorite store lately is the Goodwill in a nearby small town. My winter wardrobe has been purchased there, and I am very thankful for the money I have saved because others have taken the time to sort through and donate the things no longer needed. I can return the favor. I'm sure that there are things in my house that I can donate to the Goodwill when I purchase new things )once 30 days has proven that I was in need of them). Donating items will be like sharing, in a way. If things are sitting in a cabinet or closet and I haven't used them in days, weeks or even months, might be better to share with someone who will.
I want to get back to the feeling I had coming home to my boat - relaxation, thankfulness, peace. Right now, it's a continuation of work once I arrive home. I need to reflect on that and make some different choices. My life cannot be about the things I have. It needs to be about the people I love and experiences I have with them. Having the house does help with the people I love - my family can come to visit, we're able to help out a friend by renting a bedroom. Land living isn't all bad but I think I need to make it more of what I want it to be.
Maybe with some new behaviors, I wouldn't be thinking about buying one more thing - that $19,000 houseboat. I think I'll give myself 30 days to try some new things and think it over.