I read articles on MSN.com almost everyday. The one that caught my eye yesterday is "20 fads that we regret" On the list: McMansions, zero down financing, credit card debt, $5 multi-syllabic coffee, granite countertops, Birkin bags, financing plastic surgery, thinking yourself thin (or rich), reality TV, mega SUVs, condos as investment properties, adjustable arm mortgages, flipping houses, and a few others.
I see a common theme with most of these items...it's all about excess..."Bigger is better"
I have to admit, I have only been guilty in indulging in a few of these: $5 coffee, reality tv, and credit card debt. I was a little late to the Starbucks fad. It wasn't until I discovered the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Iced Peppermint Mocha (thank you, Miss Prince) that I really became a fan. I like a few different reality TV shows, and of course my broken down VW inducted me into the credit card debt hall of shame.
I will also admit that I used to really be caught up in materialistic things. Don't get me wrong, I still like to shop and to have things, but it seems like the older I get the cheaper I get. Example...when I was young, I wouldn't even cringe at paying $80 to $100 for a pair of jeans. Now, it is strictly $20 sales at Old Navy.
What drove us to be so obsessed with all of this stuff? I think part of it is because we can actually rationalize it. Our three (very) basic necessities in life are shelter, food, and clothing. So, technically, if anything you buy is part of one of those categories then you NEED it. This is when we get our needs confused with our wants. I need a suit and a pair of heels for work...I want an Armani suit and Jimmy Choo heels...you see the difference? I need a house to live in...I want a huge house equipped with a theater, basketball court, and pool. I need food to survive...I want fresh lobster, fillet Mignon, and $5 per cup coffee.
Personally, I feel the want of "more" has gotten our country in trouble. We have forgotten just how blessed we are. We have stopped enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I have been humbled this year. I was working two jobs in order to have more. In March I was in a car accident and I had to quit my second job and I have been without a car. Thankfully, I am OK and my car loan is paid (due to GAP ins). I was left with no transportation and unfortunately, I am still paying off old debt from another car. I can't really get another car unless I have another job as well...so what to do? I have decided to do without. I am paying off some bills, student loans, etc. and I am going back to school in January. Thankfully, I have a job where I can work from home and when I need to go into the office I take public transportation. I have a few great friends that take me other places when needed. I now have time to visit with friends, organize my house, cook, write, etc. I have slowed down...alot. I sleep more, and I am a much happier person. I am taking some advice from Hebrews (13:5) "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said "never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."