You don’t need what you think you need

photo of log cabin surrounded by plants

Imagine if you will a simple life. You have clothes, food, and housing. You are content.

But then company comes. It’s an old friend or maybe a family member. The Who doesn’t matter. What matters is that they own something you’ve never had. Maybe it’s an appliance, a gadget. Perhaps it’s a piece of jewelry or a piece of fashion. It could even be a new song that they play.

Suddenly, your life isn’t so content anymore. That something new has sparked a desire in you to possess the new thing.

But if you’d never encountered it, you wouldn’t have ever dreamed of wanting it.

That’s the way with so many things in our life. We don’t know that we want it until society shows it to us and tells us that we want it.

And it happens every day. Whether it be friends, family, television, social media, it’s all society trying to program us into living and being and buying and owning what THEY think we should own.

How do we tell the difference? And how do we break the spell?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

8 thoughts on “You don’t need what you think you need”

  1. I’ve managed to cut that way down by stopping to think about the ‘thing’. Do I really need it? Is it just a passing interest? If it’s a thing; will I use it more than once? Do I have a place for it? Questions like this that make me stop and think are what prevent me from at least 75% of my unnecessary spending.

  2. Since I hit 40y, I look at what others have as DEBT. How much DEBT do they have because of the things? I tired of people saying “why don’t you build a new house? We just finished ours and we love it”. “Why are you driving that old car? I’ve had 2 new ones in the time you’ve been driving that one”.

    I retired at 58y. I was debt free before I turned 50. They did not and are not. “Are you old enough to retire?” Our bosses did a 50% match on 401k contributions. Very few did it. FREE $ lost.

    PS: I did buy a new car in Dec 2015 and I wrote a check. It is likely my final vehicle. It just crossed 30k miles and I just crossed age 61! We are however, staying in this house until someone hauls my carcass out 😉

    Things are not nearly as flashy as choices in this life 🙂

    1. Oh that is wonderful! Good for you! I’m in a similar situation but I do have a bit of debt on my car. That said, as little as I drive that may be the last car I have to buy, and it allows me to feel safe driving to work to make money. I gave a lot of thought to that decision because, like you, im averse to debt.

  3. It helped us to live in a small motorhome traveling the USA for several years–not a lot of room in there for excess. When we stopped traveling we realized we still didn’t need much.

    1. Linda, I admire you for traveling in a motor home. I imagine it was fun! And I’ve learned that between owning less and owning more, I’m actually happier with a bit less. It’s definitely easier to clean lol

  4. Quite often “new things” that I thought would fill a need or solve a problem bring with them a new set of problems and often don’t fill the original need or solve the problem.
    A good example, my fridge is old and has some “repaired” door shelves but works so well at keeping food at a good temp, and it often lasts much longer and in better condition than my experience with expensive new refrigerators. So, when I look at it and think how nice it would be to have a shiny new replacement, I remind myself how well it works compared to new versions I have paid lots of money for and am happy to use it until it decides not to work so well. 🙂

    1. Exactly! You buy it, bring it home, then you have to figure out where to put it. It’s rarely as nice as you thought it would be once you bring it home.

      How old is your refrigerator? I know the older ones are far more durable than the stuff they are selling nowadays! I do believe that they design things to fall apart these days.

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