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5 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Stop Buying Unnecessary Stuff

5 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Stop Buying Unnecessary Stuff

Have you ever spent countless hours in stores, shopping or traveling from store to store to find a specific item, only to end up spending way too much money on things you really didn’t need in the first place? Then, you try to hide your purchases or rationalize them to your spouse. Next, you try to return your purchases, learning that some stores only offer store credit which prevented the purpose of the return.

Yes, we have all fallen victim to our own insatiable appetites for things that are really quite unnecessary but at the moment seem like such a necessity. Below are 5 amazing things that will happen when you stop buying unnecessary stuff.

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1. You’ll witness better relationships in your life

There are quite a few things that will contribute to having better relationships in your life. Less stress, fewer arguments, more time to spend with family and friends, will all contribute to better relationships in your life when you stop purchasing unnecessary stuff.

Imagine the thrill of having more date nights with your spouse, more outings with your family and friends, less stress and arguments about debt or bills piling up. Sometimes the best ways to save is to cut back on spending. You may not always have the luxury of overtime, so cutting back on certain expenses can definitely help.

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2. You’ll have more money to save

It is a wonderful feeling to be secure and have a sense of relaxation and relief about your finances. However, having better control over your finances is a process. The goal is to keep your spending habits in control, in order to have more money to save. You may be wondering, why should you save when money is made to spend. Saving money will allow you to reach the goals you want in life and leave room in case emergencies come up unexpectedly. Examples of emergencies may consist of unexpected vehicle repairs, injuries or illnesses that require medical treatment, or a job loss.

3. You’ll have more money to invest

Yes, I indeed said invest! Okay, so you may not be quite ready to invest in stocks, bonds, or even mutual funds; however, you have other investment options such as your education, a business, or real estate (purchase of a townhouse, condo or home). Investing in yourself sometimes can be the best investment you could ever make. Investing in your education doesn’t have to include higher levels of education like Associates degrees, Bachelors, Masters, or PHds so don’t feel bad if you don’t possess this. You can also invest in your education by attending seminars, workshops, reading books, and participating in webinars. Investing in a business could be as simple as turning your hobby into a small business.

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4. You’ll become more appreciative

When you stop buying unnecessary stuff you will learn to become more appreciative for things that don’t require money. Happiness doesn’t revolve around material possessions. There are so many wonderful things in life that are free. What about the beach? Have a family picnic at the beach or your local park. There is plenty of fresh air, as well as room to run around and play games like a scavenger hunt. These activities could really build your family relationship and you don’t have to purchase anything. You could have a list of different things to find, like certain sizes or shapes of seashells or whatever interests you. Then, as a family, you can take a picture with your seashells or items at the beach or park. When you get home you can write your names on the inside of the shell you found and write the date and write “family outing at the beach”. You can save it as a souvenir.

5. You’ll feel better about yourself

When you stop buying unnecessary things you will start to feel better about yourself. You will see life and yourself in a whole new light. You will no longer be chained by the temptation of unnecessary spending. You will feel less stressed because you no longer have to work so hard (double shifts and overtime) to make up for all the things you purchased that you didn’t need. You will no longer have to conceal your poor spending habits and risk jeopardizing your relationships. I have observed so many people borrow from one person to pay another and just end up ruining relationships – as well as ending up with so much debt.

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Conclusion

Our society targets us to spend. It’s just how the economy operates. However, you don’t have to fall victim to buying unnecessary items. Yes, you need a car to commute, but you don’t need an expensive luxury car for that. Yes, you need food to eat, but you don’t need honey buns or caviar to survive. Yes, you need clothes to wear but you don’t need expensive name brand clothing (including purses, ladies) that can cost as much as a car note or down-payment on a house. Some items we think we need are really just items to impress others, which is not important.

Featured photo credit: Family on the Beach/Visit St. Pete/Clearwater via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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