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Friday, January 13, 2012

Jeans vs the Sweater: Finance Friday

Somewhere along the line of the development of the "American Dream" we've somehow conveyed to ourselves that
success = money.
And having money frees us up to consume.
To buy.
To have.
To own.

But I think this is a very dangerous motto to adopt.
Money isn't a guarantee of happiness (ask Bernie Madoff)
nor is it proof you've lived a successful life (Paris Hilton)
or even a long life (Steve Jobs).

In fact, the Good Book tells us "The love of money is the root of all evil" 1 Timothy 6
Don't misread that quote - Money isn't evil...
the love of it is.

The love of money makes people do crazy things.
Like buy stuff they don't need.
(really you need a newer T.V. ??!??)
buy stuff they don't use
(you need more clothes??!?? the twenty shirts you have aren't enough?)
pay for space to house all our unused stuff
(storage units)
and update perfectly functional gadgets and mobile devices
(new iPhone, anyone?)

I recently complained to a friend about a sweater I owned. I said I didn't like it because it was embarrassing how old it was. He challenged me with "So what? It's in perfectly fine condition!". He was right. It was fine. It wasn't terribly outdated. It fit nicely. Why did I feel the need to update it and replace it when it was still perfectly .... cute??

Two days ago I was wearing my favorite jeans;
 a pair of hand-me-downs from a name brand store. I've owned them for at least five years and who knew how long my sister wore them before me. We could be talking about an eight to ten year old pair of jeans. (!! Now that's a relationship !!) They started to get worn thin in a few areas a while back so I put patches on them. (I mean I really loved these jeans!) But this week the denim gave way and they finally ripped out. And not in the cool I'm-a-hip-mom-kinda way. No they ripped O.U.T. and are completely unfixable.

There are still sitting on my banister. I just can't bring myself to throw them away.

Why? Why in my mind is it ok to hold on to one item but be so quick to dismiss another? Because the jeans were name brand and the sweater wasn't? Maybe, but I think the real reason I wanted to keep my jeans was because I had an affection for them.

So that makes me wonder what if we liked what we owned? What if instead of consuming massive amounts of random things we focused on only consuming what we really like? Or enjoy? Or love? Or what we really need?

Would we consume less and thereby ironically end up having more?


Sure in our lives we are in a season where we are forced to consume less because we have less (much less) disposable income but are we less successful? Less happy?
No!
We just have less stuff.
And old television sets.
And uncool phones.

Well after much thought, I've decided I loved those jeans enough that I am going to try and replace them. The exact pair. Here's hoping my $7.99 bid on ebay is a winner!

you see, I've had my own personal struggles with this financial season in my life and I've said a lot about it but here's one thing that will remain through it all: I have learned an important lesson. The advertisers are not correct. The photos in the magazines are inaccurate. I don't need money to be happy or successful. Apparently, all I need is an attitude adjustment

and my favorite pair of jeans.

It's Friday friends.
This is Finance Friday! 








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