Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Gone are the days of $5 movie rentals. With Netflix, you can get unlimited access to a number of movies each month for just under $10. What a deal! What a steal! Or is it? Netflix may be costing you a lot more than you think. A few months ago, I was trying to find a certain foreign show on the internet only to discover it was not viewable from my country. Then I remembered Netflix. Sure enough, they had the show. Since our family has never signed up for it, we could get a trial month for free. Perfect! I could watch the show I wanted and then cancel. Except Netflix doesn’t want you to cancel. They are banking on the fact that you won’t cancel once you sample their wares (isn’t that what drug dealers do?) and they are usually right. But they didn’t get me. A couple days after I watched my show, I browsed through the other offerings Netflix has. The reality donned on me. I no longer have to go to a video rental store – the video rental store is right in my house! And therein lies the problem. Here is what I discovered about Netflix, and why it costs more than you think: It’s Too Accessible – There are all kinds of movies I would never rent from a video store, and now I’ve invited them all into my home.  There are genres and topics that go against my faith… and if I sign up for Netflix, I’m paying to have them delivered directly to me (whether I watch them or not)....
Why You Have So Much Stuff (And What To Do About It)

Why You Have So Much Stuff (And What To Do About It)

Okay, I admit it. Most of my blog posts are essentially ‘fluff’. I can write and write about minimalism and how to cut back on your things, but the truth is, unless we get to the heart of the matter, not much will change. Why do we have so much stuff? I’ve thought of a few, real, soul-searching reasons: We’re Covering Pain – Feeling depressed? Go out and buy something. Worrying too much? Watch TV to forget about reality. Like overeating, shopping can cause a momentary high that we use as a way to cope with life. It’s a temporary means of escape. But like a drug, it’s addictive. It only lasts a moment and we’ll always have to go back for more. Finding Willpower is Too Hard – It’s no secret that our society teaches self-indulgence. We know we are bombarded with thousands of images a day taunting us to buy things. We know companies spend millions on finding ways to make their product appeal to us and convince us to buy. And with so much else going on in our lives, it’s easier to just give in and accumulate stuff than it is to work at building the willpower not to. No One Taught Us Differently – In the 1930s, people stretched every item and every dollar. There was no waste and people survived with very little just to make it through the Depression. Many generations have passed since then. Having parents who taught us how to be frugal and wise with our money is a thing of the past. Add in ease of access to credit...
8 Ways Decluttering Reduces Stress

8 Ways Decluttering Reduces Stress

Does the thought of decluttering cause you stress? What if you knew the result would do just the opposite? Here are eight stress-reducing results of decluttering: 1. You’ll Spend Less Time Cleaning – Owning less stuff means you have less stuff to clean up, dust around, put away and organize. This means it will take you less time to clean your home and you’ll have less stress about finding time to get it done. 2. It’s Freeing  – Decluttering your stuff also declutters your mind at the same time. Decluttering causes you to think about what is really important and let go of the unnecessary. This thought pattern can’t help but flow over from being about your stuff, to being about your life and your thoughts. 3. You’ll Have Fewer Choices to Make – Owning less will make it easier to find something to wear, something to read, or something to watch. Even though these are fairly simple decisions, it’s amazing how they can add to daily stress. 4. You’ll Get More Time – Owning less means having less to maintain. Less cleaning (#1), less maintaining, less shopping and less working to pay for it all. This all gives you more time to spend with family, with God, exercising, being outside and enjoying life. 5. You’ll Save Money – The more you have the more you need, and likewise, the less you have the less you need. Three cars means three cars to keep maintained and repaired. Four bedrooms instead of two means extra square footage to clean, fill with furniture, and pay a mortgage (or rent) on. Plus,...
4 Common Myths of Minimalism

4 Common Myths of Minimalism

Since embracing minimalism, I’ve encountered more than one person who believes minimalism is something it’s not.  Today, we’re going to dispel four of those myths. I can’t own anything – Minimalism isn’t about giving away everything and living with one bowl and one outfit (although there are people that do that). It’s more of an individual decision. It’s living with what you need and keeping what you love. It’s breaking a habit of self-entitlement and excessive spending. It’s placing thoughtful value on certain things in your life and removing the excess. Only you can decide how much that entails. Everything will be white – Although I do find that when you search pictures of minimalist décor, you find a surplus of bare white rooms with a few pieces of white furniture, that’s not really what minimalism is. If you like white rooms with white furniture, then yes – that’s what it is for you. But if you like colour and you love your display of antiques, then that’s okay too. It’s personal preference. I can’t buy things – While living simply is bound to curb your spending, it doesn’t mean you can never buy things again. It does, however, cause you to make more thoughtful purchases. There’s enlightenment through deciding what is most important. What do you really need? What do you really like? There’s no big shopping sprees on your credit card where you buy everything because it’s on sale. There are planned purchases that you save for and end up loving because of the consideration behind it. I have found this makes shopping more enjoyable. Minimalism is...
Is Money an Idol in Your Life?

Is Money an Idol in Your Life?

Three years ago, I had it all figured out. I had our family on a strict budget, we were debt free, we never over-spent and every penny was managed. There was no way that money was an idol. It was all under control. But then I asked God to search my heart… What followed was a tumultuous journey. One that led me to places I never thought I needed to go. It started with involvement in a number of conferences on how to be successful as a Christian. I learned many things – how to understand people better, how to focus… and how to make more money. I imagined making great amounts of money to help others around the world. I imagined being rich in spirit and in pocket. I even studied scriptures in Proverbs that backed up what I was learning. And then it all came crashing down. My husband and I made a humiliatingly bad business decision. We went in to debt for it and ended up dragging some dear friends along with us into the same fate. When I look back now, I can see there were all kinds of warning signs – all kinds of nudgings from God not to get involved in this business. Yet my deceived heart spurred me on in the wrong direction and convinced me it was the right decision. What followed was a few months of dire straits. Our family income was pared down to a few measly cheques from  Husband’s main, still-new business. We became forced to rely on God. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed...
3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill That You’ve Never Thought Of

3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill That You’ve Never Thought Of

Living a minimalist lifestyle has helped me to examine the value and need behind every item I buy. Working so hard to declutter my home has made me extra careful with what I bring back into it. Minimalism has also caused me to look back to the ‘old days’ when pioneers used everything and wasted nothing. Through that, I’ve inadvertently found three things that I can either completely cut, or significantly reduce, from my grocery bill. Don’t keep your paper towels in the kitchen – It seems crazy at first, and I found it quite frustrating, but within a few days I no longer felt the need to grab a piece of paper towel for every little thing. I now use dish rags more often, and I have a separate set of ‘clean-up rags’ for larger spills.  I still use the paper towels for ‘pet messes’ and certain other things, but I can’t believe how long the last package I bought has lasted me. Stop buying gift wrap – Whoever invented the idea of Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags was a genius. This past Christmas, I was faced with the reality of it all. Do I really spend money on paper that just gets ripped off and thrown in the garbage? (And isn’t even recyclable)? There are enough gift bags coming into my home that I haven’t had to buy those in years, but then there’s the tissue paper… So this is what I’ve done: At first I started wrapping presents in newspaper. Did I get comments? Of course – but in the end, is the present about...