How much is enough? Our definition of “the basics of life” has shifted quite a bit over the last few decades. As a result of this shift, many things that were considered luxuries at one point are now considered needs. Indeed, how many of us feel as though we are living a sub-standard lifestyle without a microwave or a TV?
In so many cases, we want more, more, more. But does having more stuff really improve your quality of life? There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to be comfortable, enjoying beautiful things, and even purchasing things that you like. However, is your desire to buy these things getting out of control? When you start using up all of your financial resources to buy such things — especially if you have to borrow in order to do so — it might be an indication that you have a problem.
Will You Ever Be Truly Happy with Your Stuff?
Another issue is that, when you stake your happiness on having more things, you can never truly be happy. There’s always a newer gadget, a better TV, or more money to be had. It’s even worse if you decide that you want these things to keep up with others, because you “deserve” them, or to impress friends and family. If you continually seek more things as a way to be happy, only to find yourself just barely making ends meet (or worse, being in debt), it might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate the way you do things.
Changing Your Mindset
If you have a spending habit, and you are ready to change, it is important to consider the issue, and work toward changing your money mindset. Here are some steps that can help you change your relationship with money:
- Evaluate what’s important to you: The first thing you need to do is honestly decide what’s important to you. If spending more quality time with your family is important, a big TV to watch doesn’t really fit your values. Think about what items are most important to you.
- Look at your spending: Next, you need to examine, with brutal honesty, the way you spend your money. Does your spending reflect what’s important to you? If you are having trouble looking at your money with some measure of objectivity, it might help to have another person look at your spending and point out items that strike them as frivolous, or inconsistent with what they know of you and your values.
- Cut back on the things that aren’t important: Make a plan to cut back on the unimportant items in your life. If you are content to enjoy an evening in with your spouse, don’t go out two or three times a week. If setting aside money for the future is an important goal for you, do that before you buy the latest video game.
Looking at your spending in terms of your values, priorities and goals can help you see where you are inconsistent, and help you develop a plan for overcoming bad spending habits. Once you decide that you have enough stuff, and that you want to change, you can start getting your money to work better for you.