Trying to stick to a budget can sometimes skew the way you see things. Sometimes you realize that money and possessions aren’t everything and that you can be just as happy with less. But sometimes, feeling like you can’t afford something can often cause you to ‘want’ something more than you otherwise would. It’s easy for people to want what they can’t have. When I’m trying to cut back on spending, truth be told, it’s easy for me to feel deprived.
To combat this tendency, I play a little game in my head. I think carefully about the things I really use and really love. There are definitely some clothing items, pieces of furniture and household items that I simply adore. I love them, use them and feel very happy that I bought them. I consider them investment pieces. I get more use and enjoyment out of them than they cost and they were more than worth the purchase price. But here’s the thing. Those items are few and far between. I would say the vast majority of things I have bought do not fall into this category. They just don’t. I might like them, I might use them, but I definitely didn’t need them and I could have been just fine without them.
Then, when I see something new that I ‘want’, I ask “Do I really need that? Would I truly use it, or would it just be another thing sitting in my closet, house, garage, etc. Would I truly be happier after buying it? Or would I later feel just so-so about the purchase?” It isn’t always easy to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the newness and marketing messages of whatever it is. “New” is usually everyone’s favorite color. 🙂 It’s especially difficult when there’s a huge sale (ie: Black Friday coming up). But, I do my best to separate the newness of it and really think about the long term benefit.
And you know what? It really does work. I’ve walked away from purchases and thanked myself later. Many times. For me, I’ve learned that it really is all in your mindset.
On top of all of that, appreciating the special things you do have will help you to be more likely to be selective in what you acquire down the road. You’ll also feel more satisfied with what you already have, instead of feeling like you’re always going without.
This is all summed up so well by one of my favorite quotes on gratitude:
“Be thankful for what you have. You will end up with more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”