Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buy it used!

We buy nearly EVERYTHING used.

Just this past week I went into our local Goodwill store and bought my husband 4 shirts! All were in great condition. The brands were PING (he loves that brand), POLO, and the other was a brand I had never heard of... Peter Miller? I thought that was the name of a weird attorney here in Arkansas. Anyway--then I got me brown pants for work, an adoreable shirt, and I bought my daughter 2 adoreable shirts for fall.

TOTAL BILL: $22.00.

We decided this year for Chrismas we were going to buy everything used. It's easy to do that for my 5 year old. We have nice local consignment shops, Rhea Lana and Duck Duck Goose travel through twice a year and i can ALWAYS rack up on awesome toys. But I had never given the thought about me and my husband doing that.

I wish I could say more but I have an amazingly supportive husband and he always reads my blog. :) Let's just say I went to a certain store and bought my husband an AWESOME Christmas already! Consisting of items that still had TAGS on them. I spent $22.00 (wow-I just realized I spend that amount a lot-weird.) and we had set our goal for $50 for each other. So I still have $28 bucks to spend and already he has more presents (and nicer ones) than I could give him LAST year and I spent well over $150 on him last Christmas. INSANE.

I understand the used thing is weird for a lot of people. And maybe it's not your thing. These are the tips that I can offer for how we have managed to spend a FRACTION of the cost on clothing, toys, and even some household things.

I must confess... I can't do used shoes. I know its weird, but I don't even want my friends to try my shoes on. :) Okay I guess there are a FEW people i'd let do that, but it goes no further than a FEW!

i have managed to always have the cutest clothes for my daughter and myself even when buying used.

So that's our thing... we buy things used. We save so much money and the other part is it makes it a CHALLENGE! It's a challenge to find new, fun things that are USED. It keeps us excited about our journey.

I hope that's a good tip that you at least give a try!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Changing your mind and changing your world

Our journey through minimalism and what that means all started because of a conviction that i felt in my head and heart. I began feeling a "change" in me. Something that was urging me to change.

Living on less, couponing, saving money, spending less, getting rid of the excess--it ALL comes from changing your mind which in turn creats a whole change in your world! Chosing to live this way is not just a mind-set, it's a LIFESTYLE change.

Minimalism is not something that you change in one area. This is a lifestyle, change how you have lived, change your way of thinking, change what you do and say kinda decision.

There are no defined rules of what minimalism is. I have written about that several times before on another blog. Check out those posts HERE and HERE to kinda see where I got started and what I think. :) Okay so as I was saying, there are no "Defined" rules of living a minimalistic lifestyle, but I feel very strongly that it can't be half ass. It has to be all or nothing. It has to be a lifestyle change that benefits you and your family and allows freedom in finances and less stress in your home.

In the end, Step 3 is all about change.

Changing your way of thinking.
you don't HAVE to have those shoes

Changing habits
no more browsing the mall. You foolin' with that word "browsing" anyway?

Changing your hearts
priorities shouldn't begin with tangible things. They should begin with love, our families, our friends, our Savior.

Changing the world one step at a time.
I have a plan to change the world. No seriously... i do. I'll post that later. Don't laugh--I really think I have this one figured out. If you can't change the "World" this year, change your family's world. That would be super.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Planning ahead

I learned the hard way. I didn't want to take the time to prepare a list for anything. I REFUSED lists! And I was proud... then I later realized how silly I had been.



Before you go to the grocery store you MUST be prepared. Have your list ready, the store paper, and your coupons lined up and ready to go.

Before you clothes shopping you MUST have a list of your "inventory". How many khakis do you own? Yep-that's what I thought. PUT THOSE DOWN! :) You HAVE to know what you have. It's all about being prepared.

Christmas is a huge one to be prepared for. You must plan ahead! Christmas cards, gifts, budget, meal planning, decoration list, etc... you MUST be prepared.

Unfortunately I am not cool enough to create these "list" sheets on my own. But I have some blogger friends whom I adore that did that for us!

Check out! You can print out budget sheets, babysitter lists, anything you can think of!! AMAZING site. Please follow them... this site rocks!!!

Click HERE to be magicially transmitted to Christmas lovers heaven!!! This site has printables for EVERYTHING Christmas!! This is a terrific way to stay on top of the game. PLAN AHEAD!

That's what its ALL about!


This is a crucial part of our lifestyle these days...


Hopefully you are already saying no to drugs... now its time to say no to SPENDING MONEY!


Think of a HUGE NO SIGN! The one that means DON'T do something? Think of that everytime you want to shop. NO!

Think about how you have NO money to spend! You can't have extra money to spend if you are saving it! If you are watching every penny then there is NOT anything left over. REMIND YOURSELF OF THAT!

If that doesn't work... think of this...

Think of the whole world banding together to spell out the word NO everytime you consider swiping that card!

Maybe i'm a tad extreme, it wouldn't be the first time I have been told that, but it's effective.

Still on the whole FIRST THINGS FIRST idea... you have to not only cut back what you spend at the store (I say that because that is where a HUGE chunk of people spend their checks. They overspend at Walmart, K-Mart, what have you), you have to STOP shopping. You have to say NO! You have to say NO to spending money. You can't truly save money and learn to live on less unless you are saying NO!

Repeat after me...

NO, No, NO. NO!

Unfortunately, step #1 (spending less at the store) is a lot more fun than this step. *SIGH*

First things first...

We began this journey knowing we had to start moving, but we haven't actually defined where we want to end up. That's not right, huh? But, for now it's where we are.


We are on a journey through something trying to get somewhere. I'm already exhausted. :)

First things first...

We have to cut back. We have to cut back on what we spend. That means groceries, movies, eating out, toys, clothes, trips, EVERYTHING! That's our first step.

I mentioned in the WELCOME post that I began couponing a few months back. That's still going strong. We have a nice little stock pile (That I have VERY little invested in) that will get us by for a while. I am so proud of that little room. It makes me happy everytime I go in there. (FA-REAK...i know) Couponing has allowed us to cut our grocery bill from $400 a month to around $120 at the most.

FROM $400 to $120!! Did you read that? How awesome is that? I know, I know--i'm a freak. I'm just soooo stinkin' proud!

So I started there... still working on it. I'd like to spend less than that, but for now that's where I am.

First things first when you want to live minimally... cut back on what you spend!

Welcome to our world.

Welcome to our world.

We are the Matthews family. We are a diverse family to say the least. Here's some background on US...

I am 27. My husband is 49. My daughter is 5. His kids are 19 and 21. We live in the south. Faith-family-friends-food. That's what we live by.

I work in marketing, my husband owns his own business and my daughter is getting ready to start to kindergarten. (tear)

We had some changes to make in our life and we knew it. About 6 months ago I began couponing. Not EXTREME couponing, but I began any way. I learned how to save us money with each shopping trip. It was very exciting for me! I began following other bloggers that wrote about couponing, saving money, etc and even started a blog of my own.

Let me go back to the first F in our life which is FAITH. I believe that God is in the center of everything we do. All of the choices we have to make in regards to ourselves, jobs, children, spouses, etc ALL need to go through him. I'm not wise on my own. I NEED the help of God to guide me through decisions. I began praying over my finances. I began praying that God would open my eyes to the mistakes I was making and help me see how to fix them. I began feeling very guilty about my spending. I prayed that God would show me how to work through all of this.

A little background---I have ALWAYS loved shopping. It was my cardio as Carrie says on SATC. :) But I have ALWAYS been a bargain shopper. My mother taught me at a very young age that you can get so much more if you wait til it goes on sale. :) And I LIVED by that. Everything i've ever bought (with the exception of VERY few things) has been purchased while it was on sale. That's helped a lot, but it didn't exactly fix any problem. It just allowed me to spend the SAME amount of money as those that shopped regular price, I just had a lot more stuff. STUFF. STUFF--stuff-itis.

I read a book called "THE 100 THING CHALLENGE" and if you haven't read it and are considering living on less or even if you are NOT, read it. It's very good. The first chapter, as I recall, gives a scenario of him walking in his house, tripping over a toy, spilling something on his fancy polo shirt, dropping and cracking an IPAD or IPOD (something fancy like that), knocking over a $1,000 vase, etc. (I made a lot of that up. It's something like that. Very dramatic and talked about expensive stuff.) Anyway, he finally gets in his room goes to pick up a pen and realizes that pen cost like $150 bucks... he looked around the room and felt sick. He was consumed, stressed out and overwhelmed by stuff. So he decided to live on 100 things for a year. That got me thinking about MY stuff. (NO, I do NOT want to only have 100 things. But he did make me realize that a lot of times my "stuff" consumes, overwhelmes and stresses me out.)

My closets are filled to a brim. 2 storage rooms, tons of shoes, toys, hunting gear, golfing stuff, home decor, etc crams my storage buildings!

My hubs---well, he has lots of hobbies. And I don't mean reading books. I mean golfing. Hunting. Things that require LOTS of STUFF. Don't get me wrong-I don't begrudge him for his hobbies or for his stuff. We just don't need more. I am a hunter myself so I know that "gear" is important.

My daughter--has one of EVERYTHING. And two of most things. It's insane. She has so much stuff she doesn't even know WHAT she has. And it's funny... out of all the things she has she will come find me and say "Where's that toy--ya know the one from Chick fil a?" And inside I think yep--the innocence of a child speaks volumes. It IS the little things like the happy meal toy, not the fancy V-tech, X-Box looking thing in her room. It's crazy.

We have more stuff than we know what to do with.

I began feeling convicted, yes, that's where I was in my story before I went off on another tangent. (I do that a lot, get ready and bear with me). I began feeling guilty that I had so much yet felt like I needed more. So what does a person do that feels that way? Give everything away? Sell it? I can't do that... or can I.

So that's where this journey begins. You have a family (in the house) of 3. 3 people that have it all.

This is our journey through sifting through the "STUFF" and learning to find peace on less.

I hope that you will follow along this journey. I plan to laugh, cry, get mad, pout, sulk, and be an emotional roller coaster. I think I do that best.