Remember People Not Things This Holiday

Many people who celebrate Christmas (or similar holidays of gift-giving) tend to focus on giving mass quantities or expensive gifts without regard. Man vs. Debt is a blog that focuses on getting rid of material things (and not getting new material goods) and they have a good post up on what you can do this Christmas to give something great to people and not committing acts of blind consumerism.

The plan on what to do is on you.

Courtney and I have decided to severely limit the gifts we buy this year. We won’t be buying for each other (instead we are making huge life changes – trust me – we are spending enough on those “gifts”).

We’ve bought a few small traditional “gifts” for younger family members, but decided that we would make small donations on behalf of any adults in our life. We’ll be browsing to attempt to find charities and non-profits that reflect the values of each family member and rather than buy them golf balls or a candle, we’ll make a small donation.

We are lucky that none of our family really cares about the “stuff”. The donations will be a valued gesture and by customizing each one, we show that we took time to think about and appreciate the personality of each family member.

Read more at Man Vs. Debt.

Be Happy by Working and Spending Less

We first looked at curbing consumerism for better living theme back in 2007 and now the idea is spreading. Now, thanks to the ongoing recession, people are learning that all the stuff they bought didn’t really make them happy so they are getting rid of all their stuff.

When you start buying less you have more disposable income to spend on experiences, and that, my friends, is the key to happiness. What are you going to talk about and remember fondly in ten years, the concert you went to or the new shoes you bought?

Here’s a story about a person who downsized their junk and upsized their fun!

Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing, they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology; Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about $24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.

Keep reading at the New York Times.

Here’s some info on how to stop shopping.

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