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Simple Changes for 2011

Since this is our first New Year back in the United States after our brief 2.5 years in China, this was definitely a key year for implementing simple changes.  Though I am sure that I could say a lot about many of them, I'll focus on three ways to make simple changes in your life so no one gets overwhelmed!  For us, the three simplest (and yet probably most far-reaching changes) have been buying less, spending more (sometimes), and valuing time over money.

I just started couponing a little over a year ago, so this first change - buying less - has been a little hard for me.  If it's free or cheap, sometimes it's really, really hard not to buy!  I've FINALLY started to learn that even good deals cost something (whether it's gas, tax, time, etc.) and if I can't use it or give it away, then I don't need it...no matter what it is!  I think this is something that all couponers struggle with, but I've started using Mint.com and watching every single dollar I spend, and we really are saving since I haven't been spending $1-5 here and there for things we really don't need.  If you struggle with this too, I encourage you to try it out for a week or two and see how much you can save :)

The second change might sound counterproductive to the first, but it's really not.  In addition to buying things we didn't need, I often found myself NOT buying things that my family would have enjoyed because those things cost more than "the deals".  For example, I might not buy chips for my husband for months just because they weren't on sale.  The $1.50 to $2.00 I might have spent per week on chips would have made my husband happier, I think, and that's why this year we are going to spend a little more.  We aren't going to go crazy, but spending a few dollars here and there for something you ACTUALLY want versus spending fifty cents on things we don't really want is worth it! 

This last change is definitely the most meaningful one.  We've had a lot of opportunities lately for my husband and I to make a lot more money, but we would have had to sacrifice a fair bit of our time together as a family to do it.  Having more money but not having the time to enjoy the blessings that God has given us is not our idea of a meaningful life, so this year we have decided to really evaluate every opportunity and make sure that they aren't counterproductive to true riches.  Some of these "opportunities" are sneaky and they look like something great, but when you take the time to realize what you stand to lose if you take them, passing on the opportunity is the best choice to make.

So, there you have it!  Three simple changes- buying less, spending more (sometimes), and valuing time over money- that have made a pretty big difference in our lives.  What about you?  What have you been doing differently this year that has had a positive impact on your life?  I'd love to hear your stories!   It would be great to have some ideas for next year :)




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Category: 3 comments

3 comments:

LaVonne @ Long Wait said...

Great post! Love it. I know what you mean about buying things just because they are deals. (Those daily deal websites just get me! They are hard to pass up)

We still have HBA items from 2008 because I got a little crazy when things were cheap or free. Couponing can do that to the best of us.

We are now buying quality instead of just going with "free" or "cheap" and we have more time now. Before we had to do lists, and cut coupons. We still do it a little but not to the degree we did when we started. :)

Blessings!

ape2016 said...

I agree with everything you have said. I used to coupon obsessively, but I woke up one day and realized, I was getting a ton of processed foods I normally wouldn't buy and I was spending hours of my time and running all over (wasting gas and polluting the air) to get 'deals'. I wish more people would learn the true value of their family time, instead of whittling it away for a money making opportunity. Maybe then I wouldn't be the only mom on the street home when the kids get off the school bus.

Jinnia said...

Stephanie, those are great changes to make. They do sound counter-intuitive when looking at just the dollar amounts but when you put it as valuing time over money, it makes sense! Sounds like you've had many decisions to make, many blessings to you in the new year!

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