Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Free Is For Me

Most people I know are obsessed with the next big purchase of their lives...a home...a new car...that flat screen TV just in time for the Super Bowl but not me. I've gotten used to doing more with less, being frugal, and accepting handme downs. When I was a kid I had a lot of the things I wanted given to me and like most I got the idea in my head that things equal love. Wrong.

My house was filled with things..too many things and that left a lot less space for the people who lived there. While they were nice things they started to take over our lives in unpleasant ways. I didn't have friends over much and the things that mattered so much at one point started to own my family instead of the other way around.

So there is nothing you can do about your childhood. For better or worse it's over and you can either hang on to old habits or decide for yourself to live your life differently. I did the latter. I worked hard and saved and bought my house just shy of my 24th birthday with my my husband. I drive a used car and have never really thought about buying new..well maybe if my car is having major issues it may cross my mind. We do have that flat screen TV but my husband waited for years for it till we could pay in cash. My husband and I have virtually no credit card debit, excellent credit and could qualify for many credit cards but instead we have two or three tops which rarely get used and then paid off as quickly as possible.

I gratefully accept handme down clothes and toys for my kids who really have no idea what labels are and what the difference is between new and used. I would love to keep it that way for as long as possible...before social pressure and media pressure tells them that it isn't good enough to want what you have but to strive to have all those things others have or those things you should have. I have spent my adult life working at nonprofit organizations and it's truly shaped my perspective. While everyone keeps looking ahead to what's next..what thing will make me happy now, I look to what I already have that others may not. I have a family I love more than anything. I have a roof over my head and my bills are always paid on time, even if I don't always have money for the extras. I am lucky to know what I have. I see all the time the proof that not everyone has what they need let alone what they want.

So I'll keep accepting handme downs, and I love passing things along to family or charities so others can have the things my family needed for a time but doesn't anymore. I enjoy seeing things leave my house when they are no longer useful..a very strange concept I know. Before I go out and buy something I shop my house first and guess what most of the time I find that item I thought I needed to go out and buy. I have found the one constant in my life is that if I always have what I need what I want is exactly the same thing.

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