Since the start of the recession people have been more aware of their spending habits, but for Tammy Strobel, a project manager with an investment management firm, her life began to change even before the recession hit. Tired of living a life filled with material goods that did not bring her or her husband satisfaction, she whittled down her possessions to only 100 items.
Strobel is not the only one giving up her material goods. According to a New York Times story about Strobel, consumers are gravitating more toward experiences than possessions and are opting to use their extra cash on things like spending time with their family, watching movies and playing games.
“I think many of these changes are permanent changes,” said Jennifer Black, president of the retailing research company Jennifer Black & Associates to the Times. “I think people are realizing they don’t need what they had. They’re more interested in creating memories.”
The notion that material goods do not bring happiness is old for me – I’ve heard this since I was a child. And yet, along the way, I have managed to accumulate material goods that I could do without and others like my laptop and cell phone (that I depend on to make a living), that I would not give up.
Like Strobel and her husband, one thing I could easily do away with is debt. After the couple got rid of their possessions they where also able to get rid of their $30,000 debt. Strobel now works less hours and volunteers the rest of the time. Here are some ideas to bring more happiness in your life by creating memories with your family.
- Volunteer – It will not only allow you to spend more time with your family, but you’ll be helping others in need. For family volunteer opportunities check out Idealist, a website that allows you to find an organization to provide your services. Some volunteering may come with perks as free admission to museums, events, classes, and more.
- Whittle down your possessions – Look at every room in your home and do away with anything that hasn’t been used in a while. Donate the any clothes, shoes or electronics to shelters or your local thrift store. Remember to keep your receipt for tax purposes and share with us the items you would not be able to live without.
- Explore the great outdoors – Take a trip with your family and visit a National Park to beat summer boredom or go camping for free.
- Family Night – Whether you decide to cook together or play board games, make it a habit to spend time together by unplugging and connecting with each other. Keep in mind that you can rent books and DVDs at the library to keep family night from going stale.
- Splurge – Spend money only on things that will help you create memories. Check out Bargain Babe’s splurges and share yours with us.
How do you create peace of mind? Does having fewer possessions help?