Stuff!

2013-10-12 04.16.31We lasted THREE (3) weeks on our trip to Europe each of us with only one carry-on suitcase. In the winter. That’s right: a few pair of pants, a few tops, washing every few days and drying over the towel racks, and VOILÀ.

It made me wonder when I returned home: Why do we need SO MUCH STUFF?

I overbuy. We overbuy. I buy when I’m bored, when I’m lonely, when I’m procrastinating. Then, I buy too much. Stuff I DON’T NEED. It’s the American way. Well, no, it’s the “affluent” way that keeps economies rolling and people in debt and working. Newspapers in Europe in early January carried articles bemoaning credit card debt (along with extra pounds) as the left over (maybe hung over, too) “blessings” of the holiday season.

I came home and threw out three pairs of socks that I absolutely hate to wear, but keep in my drawer because I made the mistake of buying them in one of the multi packs that Target and Costco sell. “Heck, I’m getting all these pairs for so little money!” I say to myself. And I end up with a bunch of things I don’t want and feel guilty about so I keep them, stuffed into already over-stuffed drawers and closets. When it’s dark in the morning, I grab a navy blue and black sock and wonder when I get to work, how THAT happened. Or wear navy blue hose with a black skirt. I hate that.

I think Henry Ford had the best idea. Black. Any color you want as long as it’s black. Wouldn’t that simplify our lives? And out of sheer boredom, we wouldn’t go shopping so much. Who needs another black outfit? And then the retail industry would falter, the automobile manufacturers would crash, and the worldwide economy would swoon. For a while. And then, all the brain power that drains into marketing stuff we don’t need would flow into important things like global warming, electric cars, solar energy, public transportation in Los Angeles, and real transporters, like on Star Trek, so we wouldn’t have to endure endless, cramped air travel to far-away places. We could live unencumbered.

Stuff makes me stuffy. It weighs me down. It forces me to pause to organize, dust, and categorize it instead of creating, thinking, writing, reading, and loving.

I’m de-stuffing this year. In fact, I read somewhere, that when you go into a drawer, a closet, or a cabinet to remove TEN THINGS in it and throw them away. I almost lost my wedding ring that way, but sanity prevailed. I get carried away sometimes, but I don’t want to get carried away by my stuff. Please. Don’t bury me with it. I plan to enjoy the other side. Without stuff. Heck. Without clothes at all!

© 2008

Saving Money

Saving Money with Freelance WritersSaving money by spending is my idea of a good time. As in, “Look how much money we saved when I bought that [fill-in-the-blank] on sale.”

Although buying something on sale to justify spending isn’t a good practice, it is the correct attitude if you really needed the item. Same thing goes for businesses. Really. Sometimes you spend money to save it. Like when you buy a machine to do work for you so that you don’t have to do the work yourself. Businesses often buy machinery to save time.  They hire a part time employee or an independent contractor so they don’t have to do the work themselves, but they don’t have to pay for benefits and keep a person busy even if there’s no work to do.  The company sees the benefits of spending money to save money.

Really SAVING MONEY is even harder.  That’s when people and companies simply do not spend it. They put it away in a bank, stuff it in the proverbial mattress. Squirrel it away in a jar or a … hmm…piggy bank or equivalent. It’s delayed gratification that is very hard to do, but the reward can be humongous. As Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.” It’s more than that. It’s really good when the company loses a big customer, or if a person can’t work for a while. If that money is available, it can help avoid a bankruptcy. Or survive an emergency. The money is there, and the credit cards are not challenged to see how much they can pick up, like a heavyweight champion with buckled knees and bulging, vein-popping biceps.

Keeping the goal for the business or for a family always visible is very important. If we are conscious, we’ll hesitate before buying something we don’t need. Taking the money out of everyone’s clutches by having it withdrawn from the checking account automatically is wise for both businesses and individuals. The less liquid it is, the better. Simple savings accounts can even be tempting. Parking the money in a fund of some sort…with penalties if withdrawn, is safer. There should be a very good reason for transferring it back to spend it…an emergency. A REAL EMERGENCY.

People make budgets so they are conscious about what they spend. Businesses make budgets. Disciplined people and profitable businesses stick to them. Spend, yes. But spend wisely. Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” He was a wise guy.

Saving money can be achieved, by the way, by hiring a professional freelance writer. We freelancers save businesses money every day by providing excellent written copy, but not adding benefit loads or overtime costs to the payroll.

Contact us today.

Image by Katie Phillips.