So really? How important is all of this stuff…

“The more money you make the more you spend.”  Ever heard that one? Do you think it’s true? Do we work our tails off because the money is already spent and now we’re  just trying keep the creditors happy? Or, are we working because we think we have to in order to be “productive” members of society? Do we really need all those things we’re working so hard to pay for?

I’m pondering all this as I straddle the early retirement fence. Can we maintain our current lifestyle if I do? Doubtful, some things may have to go. Can we adapt to a less is more way of life? Probably, we’ve done it before. Are we willing to? Wellllll……ummmmmmm…….??

 In what ways can we cut back without feeling like we’re doing so? Let’s think about that for a minute….

I enjoy living in a nice home, and driving a decent vehicle. I like being able to eat out once in a while. It’s nice being able to buy some ridiculously precious thing in the store that I just know Miss Avery must have. Taking a vacation every now and again is wonderful….Could I live without a cell phone? Yep. HD cable channels? Yep. A kajillion cable channels? Yep again. A DVR to record my shows when I’m not home? Nope. New books? Nope. DSL internet? Heck NO!! So where’s that line between working for stuff I need and working for stuff I want? How do we learn to want LESS? There’s a line from Sheryl Crow’s “Soak up the Sun”…“It’s not havin’ what you want, it’s wantin’ what you’ve got”… But how do you get there, how do you break the cycle of materialism?

I recently read a blog by greenlagirl about living in tiny spaces, like teensy tiny. I was in awe….I am not, nor will I EVER be a minimalist. I like stuff.  I come from a long and distinguished line of PackRats so I keep my stuff forever. I also keep my ancestral PackRat’s stuff as well (aka, keepsakes, heirlooms, blah blah blah). I do wonder from time to time how much simpler (and lets face it, cleaner), life would be without so much stuff. The thought of paring back the number of tchotchkes around here has crossed my mind, usually when I’m dusting….No one will ever use the phrase “sparsely furnished” in reference to my home. Would I be just as happy without all this stuff? Maybe find a happy medium??

I’m racking my brain trying to figure out ways to spend less. “Feed a family of four on $13.57 a week”. That’s what the extreme coupon ladies would have us believe….I’ve been clipping coupons. Printing coupons. In the last 2 weeks I have saved about $16.00 with coupons, but I spent $2.00 on the Sunday paper to get some of those coupons, and spent another $1.00 on an organizer to keep them in. So really, I’ve saved $13.00. Now $26.00 saved in a month is not going to change my life. It’s not going to make the difference between staying under or going over my alloted grocery budget. And I’m not totally convinced that I couldn’t have done just as well buying generic products as opposed to the name brands that the coupons are good for….I’ve read how-to’s on several sites, such as this BlogHer original post  And it seems to make sense when I’m reading it, but I’m having a hard time putting it into practice. Stacking?? I don’t get it….

These questions are giving me a t.u.m.o.r…I can feel it! And they would all become irrelevant if we suddenly became Millionaires….

Come on Lotto!!!




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