Food for thought: The Hamster Wheel & You

Yesterday, the world celebrated a relatively new phenomenon: Prime Day. Or, as I like to call it, another excuse to entice people into spending their hard-earned money on things they don’t really need day.

This leads me to a subject that the Honey Bee and I have discussed on various occasions.

Growing up as a child, you understandably want things. That new toy in the market, that cool new remote-controlled car, or that hot new video game that all your friends have. As a child, you can’t really be expected to filter your wants based on whether it is something you really need. As an adult however, you can and that’s what parents are for. That being said, not all adults are able to distinguish their own wants from their needs.

Think about it…how many times have you been to the mall, or been browsing Amazon’s website and you see something that you’ve never seen before and suddenly, you really want it. You want it more than anything, even though you’ve never really ever felt the need for it, until this very moment. What happens next? Consider two scenarios:

WMScenario 1: You give in to your impulses, and spend your hard-earned money on a whim. You receive the article in a few days (or hours) and play with it for a Couple of days. Then you forget about it. The next time you see it is when you’re decluttering your home. You probably don’t even remember buying it and it eventually ends up in the trash.

Scenario 2: You behave like a responsible adult and separate your needs from your wants. You are able to discern that this is not something you have ever wanted before. In a couple of days, or even hours, your life goes back to being the way it was before you saw the article and you probably forget about ever having wanted it.

Note that both scenarios end in the same way: with you not having the article anymore. The only difference is that the first is the more expensive route.

Throughout our lives we spend so much on accumulating useless stuff which maybe give us a few fleeting seconds of “happiness” and then eventually gets thrown away. Imagine instead:

  • spending it on trips & holidays making memories you will relish forever
  • saving it and being able to afford to quit your job and dedicate yourself entirely to doing something that you really love and that really matters to you
  • paying down your debt with it and working your way towards a financially stable and debt-free life

These are just a few examples off the top of my head, but imagine all the possibilities if you save that money, or better yet invest it.

“I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
–Henry David Thoreau

It’s funny but every day I see people complaining about how much and how long they have to work, but I just don’t get it.

People’s expenses increase because they spend on things they don’t necessarily want or need. Consequentially, they have to work harder to support that more expensive lifestyle.
Or vice-versa, lifestyle inflation occurs: People make more money, and then the expenses go up. Nonetheless, the end result is the same: you work harder and longer, make more money, and at the end of it all save less. And, all you have to show for it is a bunch of useless stuff cluttering up your life.

It’s an endless cycle that results in you running faster and faster just trying to keep up. Doesn’t it instead make more sense to simply get off the hamster wheel, or at least slow it down? If you want less, you will spend less. If you spend less, you will need less and consequently won’t waste your whole life exhausted from running after some senseless and irrational goal.

HW

Instead, you can be richer (in every sense of the word) and have more free time to spend doing the things you love and with the people who matter to you.

“The less you want, the richer you are. The more you need in order to be happy, the more miserable you’ll be.”
–Yanni

Think about it. Henry D. Thoreau and Yanni certainly did.

 

 

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