March 29, 2012

Why Spend Less?



Back in January I set a goal to spend less.  I’ve wanted to write about the reasons behind that goal ever since I posted it.  But no matter how many times I write and rewrite it in my head, the post ends up being too long, my thoughts too jumbled.

Now that I’ve got three months of spending less under my belt, I’m ready to talk about it.  And I’ve decided to do it in phases, starting with what I call the tipping point – that one moment that pushed me right over the edge from spender to saver.

I was sitting at a Christmas dinner for our church’s women’s organization.  It was a simple affair – soups and salads enjoyed while listening to women share a favorite Christmas memory that had strengthened their belief in the Savior Jesus Christ.

A small, sweet woman from South America stood to speak.  She talked about growing up in poverty and having very little in the way of material gifts to celebrate with at Christmas. She wept when she mentioned seeing other girls in their beautiful holiday dresses and other children playing with new toys, knowing she would have neither of those luxuries.  Instead, her little family would gather together and fashion a Christmas tree out of tinfoil because that was all they could afford.

When she spoke of the tinfoil tree, her face lit up as if it were the most beautiful tree anyone could have.  It was obvious to me that it brought her great joy.  She confirmed my thought by adding that this tree was evidence to her that God and Jesus Christ loved her so much because they would give her, a small child, something so beautiful to bring her happiness at Christmas.

She sat down. Meanwhile I sat in the back of the room, tears streaming down my face, my conscience awash in a guilt that only gluttony and selfishness could provide.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of holiday, I had completely bought into the falsehood that it takes things and stuff to be happy.  I had lists a mile long of things still left to purchase for my children, friends and family – much of it non-essential, and without thought or meaning – but all intended to make Christmas and people happy.

It was during that dinner at my church that my brain and heart knew it was time for a change in the way I viewed money, the things money could buy and whether or not they had ANYTHING to do with my actual happiness.

{image via}


The Queen Vee said...

Great image, I thought at the beginning that you had taken it. I was thinking, how did she do that?

Interesting how your goal to spend less and control your spending instead of your spending controlling you goes so well with the Stake's goals and theme for this year.

I use to like shopping, now I can't stand to do it even when I really do need (need not want) some things.

I'm all about simplifying Christmas and creating one that is memorable not for what we get but for the love/service given and memories created.

TracyS. said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

Tracie said...

More on this please!!! Thank you for sharing the story! I grew up watching my mom wear herself out each holiday trying to have everything ready for our big family and all the surrounding events. I find that I came to view holidays and events in a somewhat harsher light as a result - like a giant to do list of things that don't necessarily create happiness from the top down. Cuz we know if mom ain't happy, no one's happy ;) I've been collecting ideas and thoughts along the way of how to simplify, be organized, and create memories rather than to do / to buy lists. But there's the weekly shopping trips and wish lists that I need to rein in as well. I hope you share more of your thoughts on this journey! Pretty please!!!

Apis Melliflora said...

This is going to be a great series of posts. I've got my note pad out, ready to learn.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

"The Compound Eye of a Dragonfly" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract even more new visitors here.

Aiketa said...

really beautiful story Samantha.

One of my two New's Years resolution was also to spend less. I haven't achieved that resolution yet... Living in Barcelona is expensive (and more then the public transportation is every day more expensive) but I'm happy because I think now I spend money more wisely.

I've decided to spend money on experiences rather than in things. This means I would rather spend my money on a ticket to go to the theatre (when there's a good offer) than on a snack on the cafeteria (it's better to bring some food from home!).

So, on that I am proud of myself!

I hope you all had a great weekend.