I’m tired of spending, and so is NCN from No Credit Needed. He shares my sentiments that we’re pretty happy with what we have, but looking deeper into the feeling, there’s a lot to it. One of NCN’s commenters, Jackie, stated:
However, being over spending is another matter. I still enjoy getting things that won’t be around for long though, like food and trips.
Thinking more about my own situation, I’m not really tired of spending…I’m tired of spending on certain things. In reality, I’ve cut back a lot on computers and electronics, but we’re actually spending more on dining out (but not necessarily going out more often). We’re not foodies, but I don’t really like going to the same place more than once unless I really liked their menu and food.
We moved into our house 5 years ago and we had tons of “must do” items. Over the years, they became “like to do” items and now we’re just used to them and overlook them. Things like the mismatched carpet (pink) and paint (greenish-gray) from the prior owner in the guest bedroom, or the weird layout of our living room furniture. I think that with time, necessities easily become minor annoyances. You never forget them completely, but you find other priorities more pressing in your life such as family, vacations, extra schooling, exercise or your career.
“Stuff” can become oppressive. In our home, we have all this furniture that I no longer want (note that I said “I”, not “we”). Desks (free and purchased), couches, bookshelves, and other random items take up space and, at least to me, become “a place to store or set more stuff”. Unfortunately, my wife is the more emotional of the two of us, and seems to attach herself to this stuff. I wouldn’t call her a hoarder at all, but I’ve learned to be very careful about bringing new stuff into our home, or else we may have an argument when it’s time for it to go.
For instance, we snagged a very sturdy kid’s desk from next to a dumpster about 6 years ago and we have never sat at it to do any work. It was intended to be my wife’s desk as I had my own desk, but she found that she works much better on the couch. So you would think we would have sold off or gave away the desk, right? No, we still have it and it is piled with books and papers. The drawers are jammed with cards from our wedding over 6 years ago (where we keep finding old gifts), but we just continue to ignore it. However, we’re having a neighborhood yard sale in a few weeks, and I made the executive decision that it’s going then, if not before.
Another example is our washing machine. The last owners left it, and I think it’s going on 10 years old soon, but it still runs just fine. The problem is that the knob broke so that we can’t turn the cycle easily or pull it out to start the cycle. But rather than spending hundreds on a new washer (by justifying that it’s old and will die soon or the newer models are so much more efficient, etc.), we just turn the dial with a little elbow grease and our fingertips, and pull the rod out with a set of pliers to start the cycle. The wife complains, but it’s a simple solution to something that only occurs for a few seconds about 3-4 times a week.
But back to the “not wanting to spend” attitude. Part of it is just from maturing, but not everyone has the same experiences to cause this type of maturity. In other words, you can be 31 like me, but have no clue about money and continue to buy the latest gadgets, books, kitchen hardware or whatever as soon as they come out. It has nothing to do with age, but rather it involves learning from mistakes and taking a more cautious approach to your spending. It involves an analysis of your future and how you can get there from your current situation. Will this product or service allow you to live a more productive, relaxed and enriched life, or is it just a fad or thoughtless purchase?
I still struggle with wanting things, such as cars, gadgets and home renovations, but I know now that I can’t have it all. Having it all involves getting into debt, and I don’t ever want to do that again. I got that monkey off my back in 2009 and it feels good. In the example from above of our washing machine, we can use that $400+ towards a trip we’re planning that will give us memories that will last a lifetime. Sure, it would be nice to not hear my wife complain about having trouble working the washing machine, but we both recognize that a new washer is very low on our list of priorities.
So what’s your priority and how have you altered your spending to work towards it? Have you held onto a computer or mp3 player for years and years rather than give in to the “it’s obsolete” argument? Do you find yourself the odd-one-out in your group of friends, family or coworkers when it comes to having the latest, coolest, or nicest of things? How do you cope?