The famous line “People first, then money, then things,” comes from financial guru Suze Orman. I adore Suze- I am watching her show right now on Itunes. Fabulous stuff! While her other advice is great- “people first,” is really something I’ve been focusing on. I’m currently on the 30-Day-No-Shopping Challenge and I realized that time not spent shopping needs to be filled with something else in order to succeed.
Filling your life with people, not things is a way to free up your money for greater opportunity: retirement, starting a business, going on vacation, cutting your work hours and living comfortably…or how about this: not bursting into tears when the credit bill comes each month? That sounds pretty darn good.
Shopping keeps us busy. It also gives us a sense that we’re building something- a more beautiful home, a more savvy wardrobe to spur more confidence, a repertoire of things to make life better, faster, more efficient. But what it all boils down to is people. We want a nicer home to invite friends over and gadgets to entertain them with, a wardrobe that inspires awe and praise from people at work, a birthday gift that shows our appreciation. While things can be useful- it’s a distraction from the sometimes intimidating work of making personal connections with people and building community based on our own personalities and effort.
I recently had some friends over for drinks after hitting up a discount pizza place for their Monday night specials. Honestly, I was embarrassed to have them over- my new apartment was sparsely furnished- we didn’t even have enough chairs for everyone. I found myself fretting over the appearance of my apartment, but of course- as you can imagine, nobody cared. Everyone was just happy I opened my home and we had cheap beer and wine and sat around and talked. They were happy to get together, and in the end, I was happy to have done it. Relying on personal connections and not things can be scary- but often the experience is more genuine.
To ensure the success of my No-Shopping Challenge, I’m filling my life with EVENTS and not stuff. I’m going to knitting meetups and attending health workshops. I walk my dog each day and finally tackle projects that have been nagging at me.
Shopping has been a distraction for far too long. It makes you feel accomplished, productive and successful when you can buy something new- especially when you’ve hunted down a good deal, but the activity of shopping usually distracts from other activity.
What are you using shopping to hide from? How are “things” holding you back from genuine experiences and connections with people? Does debt keep you in a constant state of stress or does shopping hide the fact that you haven’t explored what really makes you happy? Do you feel you don’t have the right “things” to start your goals? (Trust me, having a cute pair of Nikes will not really encourage you to go to the gym).
People first– the money will sort itself out and the the things will matter less and less. You will have exactly what you need.