Do you have enough? Many of us look forward to having more. In fact, we look forward so much to having more that we fail to consider what we already have — and whether or not we have enough. Understanding when enough is enough can help you enjoy what you already have, keep you from working too hard for your money, and possibly help you avoid getting into debt.
How Much Do You Need?
One of the first things you have to do is consider how much you actually need. It’s so common for us to take items that used to be luxuries and turn them into needs. TVs, cell phones, cars, a personal room for each child in the family, game consoles, and even a night out once a week have all become “needs.” In fact, in some cases you may think that you need two TVs, or cars, or other items.
Take a look at what you have, and consider whether or not you really need all that stuff. Reconsidering what you actually require can help you save money. After all, if you decide you don’t really need to keep getting stuff, you won’t be spending money on it anymore.
What About Wants?
Of course, many of us prefer to live more than a subsistence lifestyle. My family may not need two cars, but after seven years of making do with one, my husband and I decided that, in a town with poor public transportation options, finally getting that second car could really help us improve our quality of life. And it has been a real help.
The key is trying to figure out what is most important to you when it comes to living the lifestyle you want. People think we’re strange for only having one TV — a 32-inch flat screen TV. So, even though our one TV is “small” by most people’s standards these days, it’s “enough” for us. There is no point in our rushing out to buy a bigger, newer TV just because other people have larger screens. It’s just not important to us. Consider what works best for you, and stop worrying about what other people have.
Finding Contentment in What You Have
You can always find someone who has more of something — and you can always have more yourself. However, will it make you happy to have more? I could take on more jobs to earn more money, but I am pretty content with what I make now. Indeed, now that my husband is done with school and teaching college, I can cut back. Could we amass more wealth? Sure. But why? We have enough as it is.
One of the great things about recognizing when you have enough is that you can move away from working for money. Instead, you can take the time to look for ways to enjoy your life, and take pleasure in the simple things that you already have. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with basing your happiness in acquiring wealth and material things, that sort of outlook makes it difficult to be satisfied with your life. Recognizing when you have enough, and being grateful for that, though, can help you live a rewarding life — even if you don’t make as much as the Joneses.
Photo by jblyberg.
This hit home for me. I thought I desperately needed an iMac and so I went ahead and bought one. 4 months later, I am still paying off some of the money I borrowed to get this computer. You are right. Let us all be contented with what we have and have better discernment of what we truly need and what we just want.
Miranda – I really appreciate this post. So many articles about managing money seem to center around seeing how much you can get – and whoever has the most, wins. Thanks for pointing out that this simply isn’t true. As a newly single mom, in ‘decreased circumstances’, my teenage daughter and I have found that keeping a ‘Grateful Journal’ has been very helpful to us in identifying what is really important to us in our lives. Interestingly enough, very few of the things that we are most thankful for have anything to do with our level of income.