We live in a world that continually seeks to make us dissatisfied with what we currently have and tries to motivate us to buy the latest and the greatest things. As a result, we end up with far more stuff than we really need. Where I live in Australia, many homes have a double garage. The trouble is many people can't fit their two family cars in the garage because of all the stuff they have stored in there. As a result, one of the fastest growing businesses in Australia is the the self-storage industry! People pay money for more space to store all of their things.
I'm as guilty as anyone in getting sucked in by the gravitational pull of materialism. I love new technology and I love books. There is a certain joy in buying a new book even if I haven't read the last few books I bought. Fellow book addicts understand. Those are two of my weaknesses. What about you?
Let's face it, material things always under-perform in bringing us true happiness. Yes, there is a momentary buzz from buying something new or better but before long that feeling fades.
Beware of impulse buying, which refers to unplanned expenditures that we make based on emotion. Some of us get excited at the very sight of the word ‘SALE’, an interest free offer or an offer of ‘2 for the price of 1’. Just because you can afford it does not mean you should buy it. If you buy something on sale, you are not saving, you are spending!
Research indicates that women do this more often than men. But men do it in larger amounts. Come one guys, that extra pair of shoes your wife recently purchased will not bust the budget as much as that new mega-size television you bought for the games room! In fact, when it comes to credit card debt, men owe an average of $450 more than women.
So, when is enough enough? Why don't we all step off the treadmill of endless consumption. Could less actually be more? Is it time to de-clutter, to give stuff away, and to down-size?
On this matter, the wisdom from the sacred text calls to us:
Ecclesiastes 4:6. Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind. NLT
Think about that. Could it be better for you to have less and with it joy and peace than to have more and the debt and accompanying stress that goes with it? I believe so. If your standard of living is creating pressure and anxiety in your life and relationships, why not lower it? Right-size your living expenses to match your income.
It amazing how much stuff we can accumulate through the years. There is something therapeutic about cleaning up, clearing stuff out and simplifying your life. Nicole and I have down-sized a few times in the last year and each time it has felt so good.
Think about it ... do you really need MORE stuff?