Life+Stuff: True value
Do you really want to buy a house if it means saying goodbye to takeaway Thai? Are you really willing to give up an overseas holiday for a shiny, new car? Is it OK to delay gratification if it means you get a whole bunch of (market) valuable things?
I don’t think so and here begins (yet another) preachy, anti-consumerist post.
I was lucky enough to hear Bryce Courtenay speak when I was about 14 years old. He talked about how Western culture is geared towards ownership and that’s what’s making us miserable. According to BC, owning stuff doesn’t result in a rich life; experiences do.
I was reminded of this again the other day when my Argentinian neighbour, Paolo, explained that, ‘In Argentina, we live for joy. You Aussies, you live to invest.’ He went on to describe how lots of people live at home with their families, go out with their friends every night and work hard enough to afford a good life. Not a single mention of an investment portfolio.
Most people want too much stuff, get too much stuff and then spend too much time worrying about their stuff (or figuring out how to get more more more more more more more).
I spend money on dumb stuff all the time – hey, I own a decorative gold pig – but I am trying to assess the true value of an item before I commit to purchasing.
I ask myself, ‘Will it bring me joy? Will it make me smarter? Will I be a better person because of it? Do I even need it?’.
The answer is usually no to at least one of these questions (and I usually buy it anyway). Still, it’s definitely worth thinking about before you get yourself into crazy amounts of spontaneity-crushing debt or buying another black dress.
Are you a spendthrift or a blackhole for credit? A skinflint or a drunken lush with an Asos addiction? ‘Fess up, yo …