The frugal family knows what stuff they have and where it is. They understand that both time and money can be wasted by having to manage too much stuff. When it comes to material things, the less we have, the less we have to manage, clean and organize.
Jill used to be amazed at one particular friend’s home. It was always neat and tidy. One day she looked closer and noticed that it wasn’t especially clean, but you really didn’t see that because it was well-organized. And when she carefully evaluated her neat home and our messy one, she came to realize what really made the difference: Her friend had less stuff than we did!
Over the years we’ve learned to simplify a lot in the “stuff” category.
Manage how much stuff is actually coming into the house with these strategies:
- Don’t watch commercials on television. The less you are exposed to commercials, the less you are attempted to buy things you don’t really need. If you have a DVR, use it to weed out commercials. A one-hour show usually has twenty minutes of commercials.
- Don’t go to the mall or a store without a purpose in mind. Window-shopping can cost a lot of money and bust the budget before you know it.
- Don’t look at catalogs unless you need something specific. In fact, call the catalog companies and ask them to remove you from their mailing lists. Everything in the catalog is on the internet anyway, so if you need something, you can still find it.
- Don’t buy anything unless you’ve decided in advance where it will live in your home. If your kids have heard you say it once when you are picking up, they’ve heard it a million times: “Everything has its home.” Thinking about an item’s “home” before purchasing it just might cause you to decide that you don’t really need it after all.
- Resist brining things home just because they are free. Every year our family hits the county fair. One stroll through the exhibit area nets an armful of free items. But clutter isn’t freeing: it’s constricting. So these items really aren’t free then, are they? They cost you stress. Don’t hesitate to say no or stop by the trash can on the way to the door.
- Stop the junk mail! Contact the Direct Marketing Association and ask them to remove you from their mailing list. This will keep them from selling your name and address to other companies. Also, don’t fall for sweepstakes gimmicks and drawings. These are designed to secure your address for future advertising. If you don’t fill out the forms, they won’t get your address.