When searching through the Internet for beginning a debt-free journey, it usually will say to make some pretty radical changes in your habits and finances. That’s hard. Especially living in a world that is constantly bombarding you with the newest and greatest things.
Our society is constantly trying to get you to upgrade, getting a bigger house, buy the newest cars, have the newest cell phone. You can’t drive down the street without seeing an advertisement for some new toy being blasted in your face. It’s constant. So, how do you fight back when society, your peers, your family is telling you to have more and do more and questioning why you haven’t upgraded your car, house, phone, etc.
My word of advice is to practice gratefulness for what you do have. The reality is that we have so much in our lives to be grateful for, but our society views the key to being content and happy as having the newest toy on the market. However, when you look at what you do have, there really is so much and eventually, you will shift your mind to being content with that.
Here are some of the steps I took to be more content with the life I have currently and how it made major changes in my budget when I got to being content.
Change your thinking
When you’re thinking about the things you don’t have, stop yourself before getting stuck into that mindset. If you’re thinking about upgrading your cell phone for a newer model, think about the fact that you have a working phone that allows you to communicate with friends and family easily. That’s a luxury that a lot of people just don’t have, easy communication with loved ones.
Think about what the item can do, rather than what it can’t. For example, my car can safely get me from point A to point B, then there is no reason to get a new car. When we shift our thinking from what we don’t have to what we do have, it allows us to be more content with the many things we have.
Write the things you are grateful for every day
At first, take some time every day to write down what you are grateful or thankful for. This practice allows you to truly see what you have in your current life. We sometimes take for granted the amazing things we do have in our lives. This will let you see in writing throughout the days just how much you do have.
We sometimes get too preoccupied with things in our society, but I know for myself I am so grateful that I have good health, that I have friends and family close by, and that I have a warm home. When I started writing down the things I was grateful for every day, I slowly realized that the stuff I have accumulated very rarely were on the list. That’s why it’s important to write it down at first, it’s good to look back and reflect on what you have been grateful for in the previous days and weeks.
Reflect on what you are grateful for
This is when you will actually see what is important to you. Take the time to flip through what you have written in the previous weeks. Chances are you will notice that it wasn’t that you were grateful for driving a brand new car, but that you were grateful you had a safe way to travel. Or, you weren’t grateful for having a brand new phone, but that you could communicate with loved ones easily.
When you reflect on what you are grateful for, it will slowly change how you think about the things you are spending your money on. Once I noticed that I was most grateful for my health, my relationships, my safety, I changed how I was spending my money.
I started shifting where I spent my money to more align with what is important to me, what I value most. By doing this, I found myself so much more content and grateful for the life I live because I was spending money on the activities and things that bring value and joy to my life.
During this time of year, it can be difficult to remember what is most important since the holidays have turned into a time of gift-giving, rather than valuing time with loved ones. I challenge you to re-evaluate your budget and where you are spending your money. Is it going to the things you are most grateful for?
Diana writes about personal finance, debt payoff strategies, and other money-making endeavors on her blog http://www.dianaonadime.com