Monday, 11 August 2008

Everything Has Its Price

I can have just about anything material that I want, y’know, and so can you. Luxury holidays in far-flung exotic places, a flashy car, designer clothes, expensive furniture… you name it, we can have it.

Let’s say I wanted to live in a bigger house. I could have it if I really wanted to. I could give up the security of living in a housing association, forget any ideas of paying off my credit cards at more than the minimum monthly payments, wave bye-bye to an emergency fund and privately rent a lovely big house that would be the envy of my friends. Or I could take on two or three jobs even though that would make me very ill, but it’d get me a mortgage the size to match the house. I could even go a step further and gather the money through fraudulent means but I’d be risking prison if I were caught.

As much as I’d like a bigger house, the fact is that financial security, a reasonable level of mental health and the ability to sleep well without worrying about the police knocking on my door are all far more important to me. Sure, I could have the house if I really wanted it, but the price would be way too high.

But that’s the thing with ‘wants’. We don’t always stop to think how much those things we want are actually going to cost us - the other things we also want and maybe even actually need, that we won’t be able to have because of that one particular thing, whether it’s an object, a lifestyle or even a friend.

We can have just about anything we want if we want it badly enough but there’s invariably a price to pay and while that price is sometimes acceptable, sometimes the price is WAY too high. I know that the lifestyle I’d been living caused not only my debt problems but my health problems to and, for me, that’s a price that just wasn’t worth it. Neither was it worth the pressure it was putting on me to “keep up”, let alone the damage it was doing to the planet.

Sharon J


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Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Sharon. One of my family members has a debt story much like yours, and now struggles to keep a roof over their head; I worry about them (and try not to, because worrying brings on a whole other set of problems). The family works hard, though, to get out from under, always focusing on loving each other first and putting an emphasis on faith and hope, which carries them through.

I hope things look up for you soon.

There's another way we dig ourselves holes, too, and that's with our emotions. A different family member allowed themselves to feel like a victim---orphaned, financial struggles throughout marriage, spouse committed suicide, second marriage failed, son and family disowned the rest of the family...oh, lordy, the list goes on. For "protection" from the world's "onslaught against" her, she finally just went inside herself and stayed there. Now, she realizes the price she paid for "protection" was way too high: She hid from life. And it all started because of the thoughts she chose to hold on to.

I've found that waking each day thinking "Today's a brand new day" is very load-lightening. It gives me a second (or ten millionth) chance to have a fresh go at it all, again. One day at a time is a much easier chunk to tackle!

Frugal Trenches said...

Absolutely wonderful Sharon and I can think of sadly almost every one I know falls into that trap. They work non stop carry huge mortgages to simply look good. I had a commenter once to my post about why people buy so much to buy "stuff" who said something like "if I only worked 40 hrs a week I'd be so bored, what would I do" - um find hobbies, spend time with your children, relax, garden, walk, read??? I still chuckle about it today!

The recipe is up for you! I used it tonight with my salad and it was oh so yum!

Sharon J said...

Julie. You're so right in what you're saying there. Emotional situations also have a price.

Frugal Trenches. I've known a few workaholics in my time, too. Not because they needed to work in order to keep a roof over their heads but because they were always looking for more stuff, a bigger bank balance etc when they already had more than enough. It's sad really.

Will nip over and grab that recipe. Thanks :)

Catz said...

Very true Sharon! We nearly fell into that trap mainly trying to pay as much as we could to enable the children to take part in their chosen sports while paying a mortgage and having a fairly good life style (holidays etc) I now have cfs and have had to slow right down! I am much happier now I have time to smell the roses!

Sharon J said...

Catz. I think most of us have fallen into 'the trap' at one time or another. I'm just glad I saw what was happening before I'd fallen too far to get out again.

shabby chic said...

A simple life is a good life & its true. I have a mortgage and no debts and thats the way I like it. I We dont have huge incomings and we still have to watch those pennies . I would like to have a little savings for things like if the car go wrong!As have zero in a savings account.
loved your post x

Sharon J said...

Shabby Chic. You're right, a simple life IS a good life.

I try to put a little into my two savings accounts each month (kitchen fund, which receives the most and emergency fund) but my main priority at the moment is getting rid of my debt. Seeing it gradually go down brings me far more contentment than a bigger house, fancy holidays or anything else material ever could.