I’ve never really been very materialistic. I find it easy to do without. I find comfort in owning few possessions but am not a minimalist. I prefer to think of myself as a “comfy not much-er”.
We have everything we need, we’re not deprived in any way. I found that there isn’t actually that much that a person needs in life. My most cluttery items are books and DIY Tools but it’s not clutter if you use it all, and I do. The more you own the more you have to tidy and maintain and that is just an annoyance and commitment I can do without.
I get some kind of “consumer guilt” over purchases, feeling awkward because of two reasons, firstly I don’t NEED it, I just want it, and secondly so many people live on less than $5 a day that paying £100 or more for a handbag seems so totally outrageous that it cannot be justified.
I also get stuck in a spiral of comparative purchase value. For example, a fancy but non-designer handbag is equivalent to a weeks groceries, a fancy car is equivalent to three years mortgage payments or a years University tuition, a fancy haircut (or any haircut!) is equivalent to two months sports membership.
My daughter recently quoted Jay-Z (popular media professional) saying “if you can’t pay for it twice, you can’t afford it” which, considering the source was a remarkable insight in my view.
Now, I want a new sofa and chairs, I want a new dining table and chairs, I have a nice handbag so that’s fine but I want nice shoes and a nice hair cut and colour and a nice new set of clothes in the wardrobe, and new devices because ours are a couple of generations old but sill work perfectly. I want, I want, I want!
I keep window shopping for new sofa sets. Nothing really meets the requirements yet. I’m getting betrayal guilt for the eclectic furnishings we have right now because technically there’s nothing wrong with them, they just don’t match and we’re an inclusive household, we don’t throw people or things away because they’re not quite the same as other things!
The armchair we currently use works perfectly fine, it reclines, it is the same armchair I cradled my new baby in when she wouldn’t sleep in the middle of the night, it is the same armchair that one of us sits in so that we can be opposite each other and chat about everything and nothing.
The red chair from Ikea. I bought it during all our house moves, it was my first pretty thing in ages and it is really great for sitting and reading.
I have shoes, I don’t actually like buying shoes in reality because they’re uncomfy beasts, I’d prefer to go through life barefoot! Wouldn’t go down too well in Vendor meetings at the office though, and it is illegal to drive barefoot or in flip flops.
At what point does a person say “I know there are folks who live on very little daily but that isn’t me, it’s ok to buy the thing”? What triggers that internal dialogue? Is there buyers remorse when a bill comes in later on?
I think my current position on consumer purchases isn’t necessarily healthy, part of it might stem from selling everything we owned 5 years ago to pay the bills and for down payments on rental homes. It was a little bit of an extreme circumstance but has pretty much been resolved. We’re not rolling in spare dosh but we live comfortably enough.
Never wanting to move over to the dark side of consumer gluttony I think I might like to dabble in having a couple more nice things, pretty things, simple things, a nice TV cabinet, nice photo frames, nice flooring in the bathroom, nice outfits to choose from for work and play. Recently I bought two very nice mirrors, I waited until the sales and went back to the store 3 times before saying finally yes but now they hang in our house as they should and I am happy that I own them.
Life has changed significantly in the last year and I know my thought processes have lagged somewhat. How much is enough and how much is too much? When is it ok to purchase and not be thinking too much afterwards about the investment in that transaction? How can a person just let it go and enjoy the things they own?