“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means” Calvin Coolidge
Living within your means… in other words… not spending more than you earn… is important. Many of us don’t live this way. If we did, we wouldn’t have statistics like this. Source: Value Penguin
- Average American Household Debt: $5,700. Average for balance-carrying households: $16,048
- Total Outstanding U.S. Consumer Debt: $3.4 trillion. Total revolving debt: $929 billion
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people, who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves in debt. I grew up in a middle lower income household to a single mother. I know what financial struggle feels like. This isn’t for those people.
I’m talking to those who feel that getting more stuff, a bigger house, more clothes, etc. is not only a good idea, but necessary to feel ok.
I get the appeal of stuff; when we get something new, we feel special. When we are feeling down or our self esteem is low; many of us shop. The problem occurs when we rely on “getting “stuff” to make us feel whole or special. . The truth is that buying stuff will never really make us feel better. The little “boost” we feel from that getting something new fades quickly. Trying to have as nice a car or house or clothes or vacations as our neighbors or celebrities is a path to sadness.
In times of transition, what we used before to give ourselves a little boost, may not work anymore. We may need to eat, drink, shop, smoke, whatever we’ve used… even more. The transition feels overwhelming, we have trouble adjusting, so we do more and then even more.
Building From Within
There are a few things that work for me, work. None are sexy. None cost much. All of them feed my spirit. When I live within my means, when I am disciplined with my money and don’t look for “stuff” to make me feel better, I win.
- A walk in the woods or a visit to water
- Helping someone else
- Sitting quietly
- Listening to music
- Looking at or making art
I hope you have things that help you find peace and feed your sense of well-being. Please share them.
Inspiration for this post goes to Charles Tijou
Image credit: Mary Lynn – Coins