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Earn more, Buy less

When you get a raise, or more money, what is your first instinct?

For a long time, I believed that whenever I got a raise or a promotion, I had to simultaneously upgrade my clothes, or car...or whatever object in my surrounding.

It was almost like an act of validation to show that I've achieved a higher "status". We want to fit in and thus, feel that if we hold a different work title, that it means it need to also "upgrade" the things around us.

In my journey to living more with less, I've developed a more mindful approach to what I buy. When we blindly follow our desires without assessing the true need behind the purchase, we are actually becoming prisoners of our belongings.

For instance, I've been driving my old 2012 Toyota Corolla for almost 10 years now. The lease and financing plan I had agreed to is VERY affordable, and although it's taken me way too long to pay it off, I'll finally be free of this financial burden by June this year.

Since 2012, I've been lucky enough in life to have gotten raises and promotions. I'd be lying if I said I didn't contemplate getting a car upgrade when those moments happened. Although I could afford it, I'm not sure that it would have brought me a consistent level of joy throughout the years for the price tag. Yet, driving the same old beat up car hasn't prevented me from getting other promotions, or advancing in my professional or social circles. It still serves its ultimate purpose of bringing me from point A to point B.

Had I upgraded to that 4Runner that I've been dreaming of, I'll have paid out 5x more in the last five years. The payments won't go away. Instead I'll have committed myself to an increase expenditure locked in at "x" amount of years. On the flip side, I've been able to invest the extra cash in my retirement funds, other projects (i.e. getting my yoga instructor certificate) or just buying more quality items around the house. What you then decide to invest your money in, is up to you.

What I'm trying to convey, is that it's important for us to make mindful choices of our purchases. Society does not dictate what you need to be happy - you do.

Just because someone you know has the newest Ipad or Iphone, it doesn't mean that you need it too. Next time, before jumping the gun and participating too quickly into mindless consumerism, as yourself WHY you want it. More often than not, it's because we are trying to find common ground with our environment. We want to fit in, and we want to find things that we can relate to. Humans are social creatures, and we will always want to be part of something. However, it's just as important to properly assess how that item will be contributing to YOUR life. After that initial moment of adrenaline rush from making that purchase, what other value is this item bringing to your life. In all honesty, is that price tag worth it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to stop buying things. On the contrary, I believe that objects and things in our surrounding can greatly contribute to how we feel, both as a person and in specific moments. Because they are so significant, it's important to be selective on what we purchase. Whether we realize it or not, our objects and surroundings are very much part of us, until we are willing to let those parts of us go.

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