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Only spending what you can afford seems like such a no-brainer. So why do so many people spend money they haven’t earned yet to buy STUFF?
What are they thinking as they whip out their credit cards to pay for a meal in a restaurant, a pair of new shoes, or the latest electronic fad?
It seems maintaining a lifestyle we can’t afford is more important than being financially solvent. Whether it is the social pressure to conform, our own sense of entitlement, or a disregard for the potential risk we place ourselves in, when we use credit to buy stuff we’re willingly giving up our financial security.
There are actually people out there who believe that using credit is “normal,” that it’s what they should be doing. After all, their parents did it, their brother’s doing it, so is their best friend. In fact, most of the people they know are doing it.
It’s as if people are afraid to just be. They have to drive the right car, go on an annual cruise, have new leather furniture, watch a high-definition, big-screen television, eat out three or four times a week, drink the best Scotch, or consume designer coffee every day. And they’re willing to exchange hours, days, months, years of peace of mind for the momentary high that comes with the new acquisition.
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Social pressure to conform isn’t in your imagination. It’s real. But if you submit, if you’re willing to live a life of smoke and mirrors, if you want it all right now, then you need to accept that you’re creating a miserable life for yourself. It’s only a matter of time before the piper comes a-knocking and you have to fork over the grocery money!
One way to gain some perspective is to ask yourself (and your partner) what it is you really want in life.
If you only had six months left on this sweet Earth, what would you want to be doing? Would you be shopping for new furniture? Would the kind of car you drive really make a difference? How about the handbag you’re carrying?
I often talk to my kids about how important it is to live a worthwhile life: A life that brings challenge and love, that lets you to share, laugh and be happy.
So, what are the things that make your life worthwhile? And what are you doing to put more of the things that make you happy into your life in 2018?
If you love your life (as opposed to your stuff), relish the time you spend working, look forward to seeing the people you share your space with, and feel as if you’re making a difference, I don’t think the kind of car you drive means much. And a big-screen TV or how often you eat in a fancy restaurant won’t have the same kind of pull.
Make 2018 the year you focus on creating the life you want. Take small steps to achieve your goals. And find a way to laugh while you’re doing it.
I’m willing to bet you won’t miss the STUFF.