Shop less, live rich

I recently received some interesting feedback from one of my Facebook followers. In her message, she wrote, “LESS, I am so confused, this is what I want to do, but this house has SO MUCH STUFF – can you explain LESS??”

Hmmm. Well, maybe, but it’s gonna take an entire post to do it. 🙂

On my About page, I write that, “As author/creator of Living Rich on Less, 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, although that plays a part. 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 (this does not pertain simply to objects, by the way). But in all honesty, dear Facebook follower, this is not always easy. You are completely 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, I believe the most important step is to be extra careful about shopping. (Oh, I’ve really made y’all mad now, haven’t I?)

Below are some tips on how to curb the shopping impulse (and subsequently keep yourself from being featured in a TV documentary):

  1. Get picky. Before you run to the checkout counter with that cute sweater, stop; think first. Do you really need it? When (exactly) will wear it? Is it not similar to one you already have in your closet? Will you really look that amazing in it? Consider waiting at least 24 hours before you buy it. Chances are, the urge will pass.
  2. Ditch those credit cards. Years ago, the hubster 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). Pitch that plastic!
  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 not things you want to buy.
  4. Find another hobby/habit. If shopping has become a regular part of your free-time routine, 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 addicting, 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.

I’m linking this up to Women Living Well.

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11 Responses

  1. Sharon Hines says:

    great post, Susan!

  2. sarah says:

    I totally agree that the best way to achieve organization and lack of clutter is simply to stop buying things. Each thing you own has to take up space somewhere. I grew up in a small house with 6 siblings so (thankfully!) I learned this lesson early in life. Also, when you have a limited amount of money to spend, you learn to be picky like you said in #1.
    Now I always ask myself a few questions when I shop: 1) Can I afford it? 2) Do I have a place to put it? 3) Is it useful?/Does it have a function? 4) Do I love it enough to pay the price? If I answer no to any of them, I probably won’t be buying it.

  3. Margaret Varner says:

    I love the quotes!! Writing them down. Love the table setting…LOVE IT..and not hard at all, now to get the chargers and stuff, lol

  4. Michelle says:


  5. Tanya says:

    Susan, I am a new reader, I love your blog! About every five years I purge the items that have piled up and always vow to make a change in my shopping habits. I love your thoughts, and as I homeschool, strive to raise my family for Him, and live intentionally, “stuff” has lost the gleam it once had in my life. Thank you for your blog, your post and I appreciate your honesty, creating over at – Hugs, Tanya 🙂

  6. Jacqueline Allison says:

    Hey big sis, I have always admired your ability to smell a bargain 100 miles away! 🙂 Your perilous pursuits have built you a beautiful home without hemorrhaging your wallet (which you know is a hansome knock off). The example you have lead has truly inspired me to watch what I spend, make the most out of what I already have, and above all, trust God with my finances. Love you.

  7. sandi says:

    this is a great post! i so agree with less shopping. my hubby is a financial planner and he will tell individuals to put one credit card in the freezer in water (after cutting up all the others). when you find something you absolutely need come home and remove the credit card from the freezer. if you still desire it after the ice melts then return and buy it. of course, we know by then the desire to return to the store has worn off. we do have one card that we pay in full monthly, but other than that we are committed to living debt free.

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