Want What You Have, Not What They Have.


One of the most important things you can do to get yourself on solid financial footing is to be happy with what you have. A big cause of debt in this country is the “need” to be like everyone else; the newest car, the newest cellphone, the newest fashion…trying to keep up with everyone else is not only tiresome, but very expensive as well.

You need to start being happy with what you have and not be jealous of what they have.

You have a cellphone that works? Great, you are better off than most people in most other countries. You know what those newer ones do that yours still does? Make calls…

Does your car still start in the morning? Fantastic! Do you know how many people have to wait for the bus to get to work? (Not that I am advocating NOT taking public transportation; in fact, I take it everywhere and think more people should…but at the same time, I still have a car that starts in the morning.)

Are your jeans and t-shirts free of holes? Whoo – hoo! That means you can continue to wear them for a while more and not buy into the “fashion-o-the-moment” that will only be popular for about 3.6 minutes. I am a big fan of buying clothes that do not go out of style; following trends is too expensive and too tiresome. Stick with what works for you and you will be fine!

Do you have a roof over your head? Would you believe that there are millions who don’t? Sure, your house may be small and not up to date, but it’s yours…do you really need a house the size of Paris Hilton’s?

I guess my point is that for everything you DO have, there are people who DON’T have and we should all give that some thought before wanting the best, newest, most shiniest, whatever you want it to be…especially when you cannot afford it in the first place. Spending money that you don’t have, as the case so often is, just to be more like “them” will only lead to financial trouble. Be happy with what you have…you don’t need to be exactly like everyone else.

Like this article? Please consider subscribing to my full feed RSS. Or, if you would prefer, you can subscribe by Email and have new posts sent directly to your inbox by entering your email address in the box below. Your email will only be used to deliver a daily email and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. phantomdata says:

    While I don’t advocate dressing with unnecessarily high-fashion or religiously following trends, I wouldn’t agree that things that things which “never go out of style*” is a good thing. If you are observed as “in style” (as opposed to trendy or out of style), then you are a more valuable network node. With more value attributed to your node, you’re more likely to be connected to other nodes. What do more connections get you? More opportunities to reap social benefits!

    * These tend to be things which the rest of society has already observed /is/ out of style anyway.

  2. david says:

    I am not saying you should be wearing parachute pants in 2007; I am saying that stores like the Gap are selling the exact same clothes that they did when I was in high school…and that was a long time ago. There are plenty of clothes that never go out of style. Suits? Of course…but everyday clothes? Not necessarily..

  3. Matt says:

    I think its more common to try keeping up with the proverbial Joneses than to be greatful for the things that you have. Most people will complain their car is old and ratty before they even acknowledge the fact that they have one and don’t need to trek from point A to B by transit.

  4. Christine says:

    Very excellent points. I personally stick with classic styles, because I can’t justify buying trendy clothing that will be abandoned next year.

    PS: My cell phone is awesome. I can call people, and they can call me! 🙂

  5. Megan says:

    Well said! Although my clothes (all bought second hand) do have holes in them, and I will still wear them because I can’t afford new clothes for the whole family. I will buy new ones for my 3 kids instead so they don’t have to wear clothes that are too small and have holes and stains. Just one of the many choices you have to make when you have kids… My most recent Choice of the Week was get the electricity turned back on, or buy formula for the baby and put gas in the car to get to work? (I chose the electricity… if the fridge doesn’t work, no one eats…) Seriously, if you can afford cell phones and clothes and CDs and other frivolous stuff, why exactly are you complaining? There are people out there who have to choose between eating and paying rent. If all you have to choose between is the blue or red shirt, maybe you should be out helping others instead of in a store buying a shirt.

  6. MikeVx says:

    I tend to operate on the “if it works, keep it” mentality of anything I actually use. Remembering to get rid of old clutter that I don’t use is another question, but I don’t replace that stuff, so it could be worse.

    My clothes divide into office-suitable (I work where I don’t need high-class snappy, computer support often requires crawling under desks and such), grunge-around-the-house level (small holes or tears, but who cares when you are cleaning out the basement or trimming things in the yard) and beyond-salvaging (if it is too perforated to wear while house cleaning, make it into a cleaning rag or toss it, it’s not even donatable).

    I’d like to set age records on a car, but I seem to have an invisible target painted on me for bad drivers. Statistically, the least safe place to be for me is stopped at a red light. So, currently paying on a new used car (new to me, used by someone else) and hoping for no more crunch sessions.

    I have an old cell phone, I’ve actually bought some spares of this same model of of ebay for less than what one new phone would cost. I’m on my first spare because the first phone simply refused to come out of headset mode one day. I just moved the SIM into a spare and went on with my life. Also, buying cheap spares also saves money in that all my accessories are for a particular phone model, and don’t have to be replaced with the phone.

    Let’s see, washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator all in excess of 20 years old. I did have to replace the main air conditioner three years ago, but I’d had it for 18 years and before that my grandparents had it for 30+ years. I think we got their moneys worth out of it.

    Because I take care of my electronics, I still have and use a first-generation DVD player, 8 or 9 years old now. I have an ancient laser printer that continues to print. I buy an $80 toner cartridge every 3 or 4 years. The 9 year old TV still lights up and makes noise.

    I could go on, but I think I’ve illustrated the philosophy of living with what you have.

    Oh, and my computer: Built mostly out of cast-off parts given to me by a friend who “has to” stay top-of-the-line with his systems. The previously-mentioned printer is one of his cast-offs.

  7. ScottMGS says:

    This post reminds me that intentionally cultivating gratitude can be a frugal practice.

  8. david says:

    That is amazing Mike, and it’s great that others get to read this comment as well. While I am getting better on the frugal side of things, you definitely have me beat. But I hope to catch up to you someday, kudos!

    And Scott, right on…that is very important.

  9. […] in most other countries. You know what those newer ones do that yours still does? Make calls. Want What You Have, Not What They Have (@ my two […]