My philosophy on ‘less’

On my About page, I write that, “… I believe that, with a little imagination and a lot of optimism, anyone can create a lovely home without spending a fortune. Living Rich on Less is not simply about making our dollars stretch farther … Rather, it centers on my quest to edit my life so that I have room for the things I love and, more importantly, the people I love.

At times, this proves a challenging quest, as I do adore pretty, shiny things. But as Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote,

    “The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”

So, when it boils down to it, I guess my idea of “less” includes doing more with less, while also being picky about what I bring into my life. And, if I’m being completely honest, this is not always easy.

I once had a Facebook follower challenge my claim to live rich on less by pointing out that I had so much stuff in my home. And she’s right. My house does have SO MUCH STUFF. It’s overflowing with stuff. Aren’t a lot of homes overflowing with stuff?

It’s funny because, many times, we complain that our biggest homemaking headaches revolve around our need to purge, organize, donate, clean and get our family members to pick up ALL OUR STUFF. Yet we don’t seem to take responsibility for how the stuff made its way into our houses in the first place. It’s as if naughty little trolls visit our homes while we’re away, filling them with junk and leaving a scene that resembles an episode of “Hoarders.”


So what are those of us who are committed to “living rich on less” to do? Well, one thing that works for me is to be extra careful about shopping.

Below are some tips on how we can curb that shopping impulse (and subsequently keep ourselves from being featured in a TV documentary):

  1. Get picky. Before you run to the checkout counter with that cute sweater, stop! Think long and hard. Do I really need it? When (exactly) will I wear it? Is it similar to one I already have in my closet? Will I look absolutely amazing in it? If possible, consider waiting at least 24 hours before you buy it. Chances are, the urge will pass.
  2. Ditch those credit cards. More than a decade ago, my husband and I committed to living free of credit card debt. Getting out from under that weight has been one of our greatest blessings and has led us to make other smart financial decisions as well (thank you, Dave Ramsey).
  3. Stick to your shopping list and shop less frequently. Before you head to the store, make sure that you write on a list of paper things you need to buy and try to stick to the list.
  4. Find another hobby/habit. If shopping has become a regular part of your free-time routine (I was guilty of this before we had kids), try to divert your attention to something else. Exercise, chat with friends, write a book, organize something, start a home improvement project, etc. I think it’s important to recognize that shopping can truly become an addictive, destructive behavior – even an escape route for some people. We have so much more to offer the world than our wallets, wouldn’t you agree?

The truth is, I love to shop. But as my life continues to get richer and fuller with the hobbies and people I love, I’ve discovered I don’t have the time or desire to hit the shopping mall very often anymore. And honestly, I don’t miss it. Neither does our bank account.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

What are your thoughts on ALL OUR STUFF? Got any tips for living rich on less (and with less)? I’d love for you to share them.

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