With today’s economy the way it is, it is important to recognize that we as Americans need to change the way we live our lives. We need to look at the things we value, and go back to the days where family was the most important and material things were just that…THINGS!

“Things” – I Learned in Childhood

I grew up in a home where I think I was taught the value of things. My mother is a saver, as is my grandma, and my family knows that this is the reason we had what we had. My dad worked hard, and although we had money, my mom would clip coupons, shop for sales and did not frivolously spend. As most things in life, I did not see how truly right she was until now, when I find myself wanting to change my ways and start living my life with those values.

Material “Things” in My Marriage

I can pretty much pinpoint when material “things” really started to become important to me, and that was when I went to college. I went to Hofstra University which was on Long Island. Those that know me well, know I am not a huge fan of Long Island, and I know that there were people from all over that walked that campus, but I know this is where I started learning of name brands, and keeping up with the trends. After college my friends moved back home with their parents while I struggled to pay rent and although I hate to admit it, I was jealous of many of the “things” they were able to buy…Mercedes, designer bags, designer clothes. After my husband finished law school and started making a living I was relieved that he could help with the paying of the bills. I started to shop!

I must admit that I loved it. It was wonderful going out and buying what I wanted (within reason of course), and although I certainly couldn’t afford anything too expensive, it was nice to know I could buy those “things”. We would go out to nice dinners weekly, and live it up at the bars. After our wedding last year we got hit with the realization that we now had to pay for those extravagancies, and that there is more to life that one must save for. We had to start being responsible.

Letting Go of “Things”

I was very responsible after college when I was supporting myself on very little. I have to go back to that way of life. I have to go back to the values I was taught growing up. I am happy to say that I believe my husband is with on me on this venture. I try to make home cooked meals during the week, which saves us a ton, and on the weekends we have tried not to indulge on the expensive dinners. I am now learning that being financially secure is a powerful thing, and that you never know what the economy will bring, so protecting yourself is a must. Soon I want to start a family, and I want to teach my children what my family taught me.

Money and things aren’t everything, and that having parents who are home each night to eat dinner with you, taking family vacations, having  mom go on field trips with me, and my dad coach our sports teams is what I will always remember. What won’t I remember??? The clothes, bags and shoes that I wore along the way. These are the values I want to bring into the future with me, and I think the rest of America needs to start thinking this way too.

What lifestyle changes are you making? Has the economy changed how you live your life? Will this change only last until the stock market starts to rise again? What do you think?