Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are we entitled?

I've read lots of blogs lately about the Generation Y which happens to be the category that I fall into. We seem to be the generation of lazy, entitled, instant gratification people. Follow me on this. Don't get offended.

Our generation is LAZY because we make more money the generation before us yet work less hard. Think about it. The generation before us worked from sun up til sun down and made less money than WE make. Therefore we come across as lazy, but I think it's quite the opposite. We just have more opportunities than those before us. There are more jobs to chose from then there were before us. And yes, we are lucky in that we do not have to do as much manual labor as the generation before us, but we are NOT lazy. We are just fortunate to not have to work AS hard and make MORE money. That does not make us lazy.

Entitled. Now that part got me to thinking... we DO feel the need to shop more, buy houses younger, and spend more money. To say we are entitled seems to me to be an over statement but I can see some truth in there.

Instant gratitification describes our generation perfectly! WE ARE LIKE THAT! We want something, we buy it. We don't wait years and years to buy a house...we buy one as soon as we get married! My parents never owned a home until they were in their 40's. Now, thats a very rare thing. We want it NOW!

Part of these qualities make us the generation of "Go-getters" which is very admirable! We don't take it laying down. We fight for what we want in life and we are goal oriented. GO US! But... we do have to chill for a moment. I've been guilty of it to so i'm not casting judgment. BUT I will say that this is the reason our generation is in so much DEBT! We feel like we earned the money to spend so let's spend it. And we spend more than we have.

It's very important to ask yourself questions like:

do I need this?
how will this benefit my life?
can I afford it?
What bills are coming due?
What will happen if I DONT buy it now?

These questions pertain to buying shoes, a $2 dollar shirt or a house. We can't just GO GET IT! Even if we have the money to do so, it's so crucial to STOP and think about it.

I don't think i'm lazy or entitled and i'm working on the instant gratification thing. The journey through minimalism and living on less isn't over night, and it's not an "idea"'s a LIFESTYLE. Are you ready to commit?

Friday, August 12, 2011

I save the biggest on...


I've mentioned being prepared, having your list, and KNOWING what is in your closet. That is so important. You aren't saving money if you do NOT need the item. That's why it's so crucial to know EXACTLY what you have.

How many times have you bought something, gotten home and realized that you already had something similar but you had forgotten about it? Yep-it happens to all of us. If you keep a running list of things you have then that won't happen. That allows you to NOT overflow your closets with un-necessary things and allows you to save that money for other things.

Just today I stopped by my favorite consignment shop. I found a rack of items for .25 cents! I got my husband 2 shirts, me 1. I spent .75 on items we need. WOW!

Then inside they were having a huge 50% off sale on certain color tags. I got my daughter 3 pairs of jeans for school, me a pair of never before worn black heels PLUS I got my daughter a pair of tennis shoes that are a half size too big, BUT, she will need them before the school year is out. They looked BRAND spankin' new!

This is how you do it folks...this is how you save BIG and allow your money to be spent elsewhere.

This whole money saving-living on less-minimalistic lifestyle is challenging. But challenges can be fun. You HAVE to make it fun.

I will post more about keeping it fun in the VERY near future!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stretching it all

One thing that gets all of us often is those little things that you constantly have to purchase. The things that you don't necesarily budget for, but it hits you one day that you needed a new one!


cleaning supplies. We forget to budget for these because we always think we have enough.

toothbrushes. Those are supposed to be replaced every few months and that sneaks up on us.

cleaning brushes. You know the handy thing that sits in your sink that you use to pre-wash things that go in the dishwasher? Those get so gross and have to be replaced.

I have a few tips to help with these...

1. Cleaning supplies. You really only need 3 things. Windex, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol will get stains out of ANYTHING! Carpet, clothes, rugs, etc. And its CHEAP. super cheap!!! Vinegar kills germs but won't harm you to breathe it in. you may not like the smell, but its healthy to breathe in and you can use it to clean ANYTHING! Just pour it in a spray bottle and add water.

2. Brushes. Whether for your teeth or your toilet...boil it. Boil them every other week and they will last longer. Promise. I have done this for YEARS!

Another thing I want to challenge you to do is to install a clothes line. That will save on energy, keep your house cooler in these terribly hot summer days, AND your clothes will last longer and smell fresh! I have my supplies laying here on the counter just waiting for the hubs to get home. :) Drying sheets, towels, comforters, clothing... it's going to save energy, keep our house cool and I am so pumped!! I am going to monitor my electricity bill and let you know for sure how much money it saves. I do not plan on hanging up small items (my childs clothes, underwear, hand towels, wash cloths) but the rest will be hanging up to dry (quickly) in this summer sun.

To live on less means to take what you have--and stretch it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why do we over consume?

There are lots of different blogs out there about the consumption of America and the impact of the media on our lives. One of my favorite blogs ever, Becoming Minimalist, had a post just today about ways to escape, and WHY to escape consumerism. He says and I quote, "After all, to live is to consume." Please check out his blog and when you comment tell him who sent you!

***Random thought I need to share.... I quote a LOT of bloggers and I always give them credit. I've never had one have a problem with it, but I like to let them know that I used them in my own posts. So IF you read a blog that I suggest please let that blogger know that I sent you. I don't EVER want a blogger to think I am using them without permission or without the appropriate links to their page.***

The big question here is WHY do we over consume? Sure I could list all of the common reasons:

1. the effects of media, print, tv, commercials, etc.
2. the desire to want more thats within us all
3. "keeping up with the Jones' " 

But I think it goes MUCH deeper than that. Sure, all of those things I listed are very real. If everyone is buying the newest IPOD, it's hard for us not to buy one too. We want to be cool. We want to have what others have. I think thats normal. It's natural to want things. I believe that God made us that way. But WE have to learn how to control it. 

In my opinion, the reason we over consume has to do with the list above, but more than anything I think it's this...


I know that probably sounds so extreme to you but stay with me. I feel strongly that when I am restless on the inside for whatever reason, I tend to over consume. I think the desire to want to go buy something comes from something not being right on the inside. Have you ever had that feeling inside of you that you wanted to go buy something SO bad? You didn't have anything particular in mind but the thought of spending money and walking through the mall made your stomach get in knots? That comes from restlessness. 

When our hearts and heads have priorities straight we don't feel the need to over consume. When we don't get overly stressed out about things then we don't feel the need to get a "high" from shopping. If we can condition ourselves to understand that stress happens, bad days will occur, things DO happen that convince you that you need to shop, your friends WILL have cooler stuff then you.... if we can let ourselves KnOW these things than we can begin the process of curing our restlessness other ways.

I hope I haven't lost you. :) And I hope that this makes sense, and if it doesn't I hope that you will at least CONSIDER listening to what I am saying.

Since I was a youngster I have always had that tid bit of restlessness in me. I always wanted more. Which in SOME areas is a good thing. I always knew I was better than some of the losers i dated, I knew that I deserved better friends, and I knew that I had what it took to "go places." I mean none of that in a self centered way, but it was true. I allowed myself to feel down a lot but somehow I always shook it off and rose above. Dead end jobs would satisfy me for a bit and then i'd feel that urge to FLEE and go onto something better. Some of that is good. It's called being driven... but it ALSO effected me in my shopping habits and financial aspects. I work VERY hard to keep that under wraps. There are days I want to delete all of my blogs and start over with writing about fashion, and the arts, and I want to spend money like its water, shop every day, travel the world and totally (excuse my language) screw this minimalistic-saving money-living on less-thing i've been working on for so long. But I FIGHT that.

When I feel restless and feel that urge to shop, I sit down with my checkbook and budget sheets. I go over what I have spent, how much I have saved, what bills are coming up soon, what things are coming up that I need to save for, and that gives me that same "high" as I call it without me spending a dime. We need reminders of where have been and where we are headed. And that is

To sum it all up... i think we over consume because we are restless on the inside and always want more. i think we as a society, or those few of us that WANT to live with less, have to wake ourselves up and quit sugar coating it. It's not that we needed those shoes, its that we wanted them and couldn't think of anything else. We have to learn to be real with ourselves or we can NEVER get to the root of the problem.

Did any of this make sense? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to know your thoughts.

I love comments--please give me some love, and share this blog with a friend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Letting go of some favs.

As sad as it may sound... one of the steps you have to take if you truly want to live with less is to let go of some of your favs.

Those fancy meals you like to make...the ones that require all the extra ingredients and it ends up being an excellent, but costly have to let those go.

The salon shampoo and conditioner may have to go.

The manicures and pedicures may be a thing of the past.

The cell phone that does it ALL may say bye-bye.

I know I sound like "Debbie downer" right now and i'm not trying to. But to truly live on less money, and live with less things you simply have to get back to the basics.

I plan my meals now by whats on sale at the store and what I can stock up on. In my recent post on The Bargain Hunting Mommy I wrote about finding an awesome deal on hamburger meat. I stocked up. The past few weeks we haven't had much hamburger meat at all because it wasn't on sale. Now we had chicken. :) But no hamburger. I can't buy something that's not on sale to make a meal. But I CAN buy items that ARE on sale and make a great meal out of those.

I've had to let some things has been a favorite of mine since I was but a wee little thing. I never spent much on clothes, but it DOES add up.

This blog, The Minimalistic Matthews, is not meant to go hand in hand with my blog on being a bargain hunting mom, but a LOT of these things do go together. My plan for this blog is to write about HOW to live on less. Less money-yes, but more than that how to just simply enjoy LIFE on less. Without all the fuss. Does that make sense?

Basically it comes down to a MAJOR question. What can you live without?

You have to have a roof over your head, food, beds, a place to sit in your home, a car, clothes...but what about all of the OTHER stuff? What about the junk drawers that literally have nothing but CRAP in there. Can you get rid of that stuff? And the swimsuit drawer(totally guilty here)... I have 11 swimsuits. INSANE.

Minimalism, to me, is about living with less to enjoy life to the fullest. It means getting rid of things in my life that cause me to stress and to NOT enjoy life. It means if the stack of magazines sitting on the shelf make me crazy, then I should chunk them. If I get mad because I can't fit all the towels in the cabinet, I should probably donate a few. If my closet is so full and I only wear HALF the items in there, I should probably have a yard sale.

That's what minimalism is to me. And unfortunately, that DOES require getting rid of some favs...

Classy Christmas

Thanks for the post from Noble Schultz
Just when I started to think that "The Office" had already "jumped the shark" and I missed it, they come out with an episode like "Classy Christmas" that keeps me on board to watch this show via satellite TV that I got after seeing this special offer from satellite 911. The episode revolves around branch manager Michael Scott's self-proclaimed soul mate, Holly, returning to the Scranton branch, but what makes this episode is the subplot involving a snowball fight between Dwight and Jim. I expected Jim to get the better of it in the end, but to my delight that never happens. After watching years of Jim torturing Dwight via pranks, it was nice to see the underdog giving Jim a taste of his own medicine. I know it won't last, but it was a much needed change considering how stale Jim's character has become since the moment he and Pam finally got married. I enjoyed all the inventive ways they had Dwight surprise Jim with a barrage of snowballs: exploding out of snowmen, dressing up as other employees and a fake gift supposedly given to him by his wife. The other funny part is how Erin, the receptionist, doesn't see what is so great about Holly and treats her like the wicked stepmother. I really enjoy the father-daughter dynamic the those two have and it should be a good resource for material in future episodes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Make extra money

I know, I know. That is EVERYONES solution to helping get out of debt and gain wealth. But, well, it's kinda true.

I understand that not everyone can work 60 hours a week, 2 jobs, raise 3 kids, and have some normalcy in their lives... i'm not saying that. I'm just simply saying do some little EXTRA things.

For example... i write sponsored posts. A lot of bloggers have ads on their blogs, write reviews on items, etc. No-it won't make you wealthy. BUT... on average I make about 200 dollars a month. That money can go towards...
* paying down debt
 *saving for a rainy day
 *allowing for a fun filled weekend with the family where you won't have to worry about spending money because the money you are spending was "extra"
*use it to start a stock pile. Get started on stocking up!
*buy birthday presents and cards for your friends for the whole year.

OR... you can do what I'm doing. :)

i am using this months "Extra" money to buy Christmas. True that I have already gotten started, but I can EASILY finish up with this months "Extra" money. I have a few things left to buy and I plan to wrap it up (not literally wrap know what I mean) and be done with it!

Then next month I can use that money to buy a years worth of contacts.

Then next month I can have a crazy grocery store run and really fill my cabinets since the other weeks I only buy necessities.

Then next month I can.... who knows?

See my point... doing little extra things may not seem like much but it allows you to have EXTRA money to do different things with.

What can you do to make extra money? Have you ever thought about it?


we are having a huge one in September. That money is all going to go towards next years vacation spending money. Whatever we make--50 bucks, or 300 is all going towards vacation!!!

It's the little things that you can do that allow you to have some extra dough!!

Give it some thought. Prayerfully think of things that you can do to make extra money!