It’s all just “stuff”

I love reading self-help books.  I always find I am so inspired and enlightened after reading one, though it never lasts long. I’m hopeful that a small bit of all that advice is retained somewhere deep in my subconsciousness and maybe if I read it enough…it will start to take effect!

That is my theory for reading “Smart Couples Finish Rich” again.  This is my third time.  I have fallen off the “money saving” wagon these past few months and straight into a deep pile of the “stuff” that I continue to buy.

As I sit and type this (with a 12 month old on my lap smashing the keyboard and 5 other children running around and screaming at the top of their lungs) I am looking at my notes from the book.  I am a note taker when I read these kind of books, perhaps another desperate attempt to retain the information.  Anyways, one of my favourite parts of this book is the chapter on VALUES.  He explains that until we really understand who we are and where we are coming from, we cannot realistically plan our future.  He also explains that by identifying our core values, we will be able to have better control over our spending as well.

After careful thought, my top 5 values are: Purpose, Security, Family, Fun and Health

Identifying core values is hard.  I had to really think about what I feel is important to me, even though my actions do not always reflect it.   Using “stuff” or my “wants” as a guide, I was able to better understand my true values and look at my spending habits in a whole new light.

Here is an example.  I want a boat…badly…. But when I asked myself WHY I wanted a boat, I was able to link many reasons back to my core values.  I see a boat as a way of having fun with my family.  I picture us packing a lunch and going to the swimming hole or going tubing on a hot summer day.  When looking at those reasons in comparison to my newly identified core values, it hits three out of five!  It does go against SECURITY, as a boat does nothing but take from our savings, but three against one wins!

So, yeah to buying a boat! This book is great! Alright, that being said, those new clothes I just bought don’t tick off one darn value.  And how about all that Halloween crap from the dollar store? Nada.  I decided to write my values on a piece of paper and put it in around my debit card so I am reminded about what is truly important to me when shopping. Kinda like a card condom, it will hopefully protect me from those nasty STDS…. Stuff That Depletes Savings.

So here I go on yet another adventure into frugal living.  This book is an amazing resource and hopefully it will finally sink in that “stuff” doesn’t really make me or anyone else happy.  The feel good emotions of shopping is fleeting, followed by the pain of remorse…kinda like my love of all things sweet.  Perhaps by focusing on my values and and the steps I need to achieve them, I can let go of the destructive ties I have to my “stuff”.

If you haven’t read a David Bach book before, I recommend you do. Who couldn’t use some extra money? He’ll help you find it.  I recommend “The Automatic Millionaire” or “Smart Couples Finish Rich”.

Why not take a few minutes to identify your top 5 values today? Only good things can come from this and the results may surprise you! Here are some examples of VALUES: Freedom, Happiness, Peace of Mind, Fun, Excitement, Security, Power, Family, Marriage, Friends, Spirituality, Independence, Growth, Creativity, Adventure, Fulfillment,  Confidence, Balance, Love, Health.