my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

November 3, 2010

wants versus needs

we're all friends here, right? then i feel i can admit a dark little secret of mine to you guys. i have money troubles.

yeah i know, maybe it's not a shock to some. and in this economy (how i hate that phrase), it's probably something very common.

honestly, i've always been very bad with money. weirdly, though, i've always gone to opposite extremes. when i was younger, i would never spend money. i would wear out shoes and run around in holey socks instead of going out and buying things i actually needed. then i met my lovely husband and i totally changed. i started spending money like it was on fire, like there was no tomorrow, like it was burning a hole in my pocket. i started spending money i didn't really have.

not that i'm saying it was my hubby's fault, he's not the one that spent the money. it's just that he showed me that it's ok to spend money, that if you have it, you should enjoy it. and enjoy it we did.

and now we are at a point in our lives where i wish we had been a bit more responsible. i suppose i could use the excuse that we were just a couple of crazy kids that didn't know any better, but really i think it was that we didn't give a thought toward the future, it was all about instant gratification with us. which really is a childish way to live.

we're much better now. he taught me about how to have fun with money. and now i'm teaching him the difference between a want and a need. so it's a learning process for the both of us.

it's tricky sometimes, trying to figure out what is a want and what is a need. there are certain things that are easy. like food is a need, but going out to eat is a want. clothes are needs, but designer jeans and fifty pairs of shoes that mostly look the same are wants. electricity is a need, but... well no, electricity is just kind of a need all around. but that doesn't mean we need to leave all the lights on all the time. or the water running. and hand-me-downs work great as play clothes. we can be smart about how we use what we have to get the most out of things. that is something that we need to do.

i guess this whole train of thought is inspired by the fact that christmas is coming, and now i have a chance to ask for things that i wouldn't normally buy for myself. things that i want, but that i've never been able to rationalize enough as a need, so i never got. it's a strange thing for me, to think of things that i want, things that i wish i could have. usually if i see something i'd really like, but realize it's something that i could pretty well do without, i put it out of my mind so that i don't hope and wonder about how to get it. or rather, so i don't feel bad and curse my luck for not having it. now that i get to think about it, even i wonder what i'll come up with for my christmas list.

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