The problem of too many free samples.

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This is not all of the samples hanging around my bathroom. I don’t know where I have acquired all of these, and I know that some of them have been lingering a long time. Perhaps there is a tiny cosmetics sample factory in my bathroom cupboard? 

I’ve saved plenty waiting for the right opportunity to use them. This will come in handy when we travel next time, to help keep our luggage down. Yeah, right.  Some of those sample packets have been with us to Brisbane and back too many times to count! I don’t really use as much as is in a sample sachet when we travel, or I know I will use more and so just take the bigger one. Or I plain forget. 

So, here’s my advice to myself, and to anyone who is overflowing with samples.  Use them. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Use them so they are gone but not wasted. 

What’s your samples hoard like?

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It only goes so far.

I don’t know if you are like me, but I want it all.

When I say ‘all’, I mean holidays, a paid off mortgage, keep the kids going to the private school we started them at, good coffee whenever and wherever I feel like it, with a gorgeous vintage wardrobe, and all on one income. Or even better, completely self-funded.

But, here’s my reality: money only goes so far. If I have $100, I can’t buy $80 worth of groceries and a $40 dress. I have to choose; buy less groceries, or don’t buy the dress. 

And here’s what is hard: if I want to pay off my mortgage in significantly less than 25 years, then maybe I should stick to only drinking coffee at home. If we want to send our kids to this school, we might need to find a way to earn more money, and that might mean me getting a job that pays regular money. If we want to do a trip to Italy and Canada, then I might need to buy less groceries AND less dresses. 

To have the things you most want, you must sacrifice the things you least want. 

It isn’t always a money thing: it could be time, dreams, opportunities, health.  It is about deciding what is most important to you, and getting rid of the things that aren’t. Some days – and today is one of those for me – those decisions are hard. Some days, it’s easy.  Borrowing a book at the library instead of buying it: easy. Not buying too much chocolate after Easter, even though it’s cheap: reasonably easy.  Skipping the sales rack at my favourite shoe shop: hard, but fortunately not much comes up for me there anyway. Choosing how much insurance I need, with how much excess, because it is so expensive where I live: freaking difficult. Deciding what to do about school and work: worthy of procrastination because it is just too complex. 

Then I read my list, and am thankful that we have a high enough income to be able to make any of those choices!

How about you? Do find it easy to choose what to spend money on and what not to spend money on? Or do you put your head in the sand and hope that somehow the groceries and the dress will magically come to $100?

 

 

 

 

Five reasons to live with less

I made a choice three years ago to actively reduce my clutter.  I had started feeling as though the stuff in my house was beginning to suffocate me.  I started pursuing minimalism, reduced the amount of stuff I own, excluding furniture, by about half.  

Since then, I have chosen to continue pursuing a minimalist lifestyle. Here are five reasons why:

 
1. Because my ‘stuff’ is made of finite resources.    

If climate change is real and man-made (which I happen to believe), the biggest culprit is that we in the West use too much stuff.   I see a problem when coal is dug out of the ground a few hundred kilometres from where I live, shipped to China to power factories making consumer goods to be sent back to Australia, only to languish in the back of a cupboard or end up in landfill.  But more than that, overconsumption in the West cannot continue.  The coal will run out. The oil to power the ships will run out.  The oil to make the plastic will run out.  The phosphorous to make the fertilisers to grow the cotton will run out.  The rare metals that go in your phone will run out.  But if we start slowing down our rate of consumption, then maybe they won’t run out quite so soon. 

 

2. Because ‘stuff’ costs money.

At the moment I’m home raising small children full time, and plan on keeping my focus on my family as they grow older.   I don’t want to feel compelled to return to work to earn money to pay for things we don’t need.   And the money we do have should be going to things we use, not things to fill the house, and to those who are less fortunate than us.

3. Because everyone who has contributed to the production of my ‘stuff’ matters. 

The things that I own didn’t start their life on a shop shelf.  As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbour, which I understand to mean everyone I have a relationship with.  This means my children, and making sure they are able to grow up with the same great living conditions that we have now, and not jeopardising that by selfishly having whatever we want whenever we want it.  It also means the people who produce my stuff.  It’s not really fair that I have cheap consumer goods if the people who have made them are being paid a pittance for their work just so that we can have more.  It’s also not fair if the growers and factory workers are working in appalling conditions just so that I can have more.  Buy less stuff, of higher quality, and pay more to make sure the producers are receiving a fair price.

 
4. Because less stuff means more time for the things I love most. 

Less work to earn more money to buy more things.  Less time keeping a huge house clean and a mountain of possessions tidy and organised.  More time with my family.  More time doing things I enjoy.
 

5. Because I don’t need it all. 

Before, I used to think I needed a lot of things.  Now, I realise that I don’t need half of what I think I do.  There are only 24 hours a day, only 7 days a week.  Only 365 days a year, and only about 80 years to live.  I can’t do everything in that time.

 
 
 
*This post is an edit from one of my now defunct blogs. 
 

A brand new blog

This is Wild Lily.

My brand new blog.

Since I was a teenager, I have wanted to be a writer. I’m in my thirties now, and determined to make it happen. Let’s call this my place to practice writing.

Since before I was a teenager, I have also been a hoarder, and generally an untidy person. In my thirties, I have now embraced minimalism, simplicity and order.  I’ll write a lot about this.

Bookmark me. I’m excited about writing for you.