More Meaning in Life
|Written by: Doris Dobkins |
Submitted On: 10/2/2003
|Sometimes in all our efforts to live more frugally, save money and
simplify our lives, we forget why we are making these choices.
Is the American Dream still more is betteror is it shifting to
something more along the lines of more fun, less stuff?
I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded on a regular basis of
why I am trying to save money, pay off my bills and live a simpler
life. It's easy to get quickly back into the phase of spend, spend,
spend and buy, buy, buy. While this may satisfy me short-term, it
impacts my long-term goals of getting out of debt and having more
family time instead of work time.
Some ways to downshift include staying in your smaller house, not
trying to keep up with the Jones's, buying used economy cars, paying
off credit cards and other debts, investing raises and other cash
windfalls, buying used instead of new as much as possible and not being
slaves to fashion.
The less you spend, the less you need to work to pay for those
expenses. This ultimately allows you more time for your true passions,
whatever they may be. For some it is travel. For others it is gardening
or reading a book.
For the next 60 day (hopefully it will become a habit by then) I'd like
to suggest that you evaluate every purchase you make. Calculate how
many hours (after tax) you'd have to work to pay for each purchase.
Then decide if trading your life (work hours) is worth the exchange.
This can be a fun process. Make it fun and be creative with it. Involve
your family so you are all headed in the same direction, together.
You'll get there faster that way.
Together as a family, determine what is important to you and what your
family goals are for the next few years. Break them down into 1 year, 5
year and 10 year goals, if you can. Then focus on what's important to
you and your family by keeping your goals in mind and avoiding or
getting rid of anything that doesn't matter or becomes an obstacle in
your path. If you have a goal of retiring in 5 years and your car
breaks down, your goal will help you determine your next step. Buying a
new, top of the line SUV may be nice but it will set you back 18 months
on your 5-year retirement goal. Does it look as good to you now as it
did when you were at the dealer? These are the kinds of questions you
need to ask yourself and work through with your family.
If you have already taken some steps in your life towards a more
meaningful life, you'll know exactly what I mean when I say that it is
usually a one-way trip. Once you have experienced it, you'll never look
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Doris Dobkins is a money saving expert, author and speaker
and has helped thousands of people find ways to save money
and get out of debt. Her home study course, "Get Out of Debt Now"
can help you too to achieve your financial dreams.
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