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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why I Wish I Had "Nicer" Things But I Don't...

I live in a fairly affluent area of Atlanta. I am not necessarily surrounded by millionaires, at least not immediately, but it is definitely a middle to upper middle income area. Since I have traveled extensively throughout this city and have gotten to see some of the not so nice areas, I can tell the difference.

Where I live the real estate is more expensive, the houses are bigger, people drive nicer cars, children go to more, nicer and more expensive activities and overall people have “nicer” things. In other words the normalcy of having “nicer” things is contagious and rampant.

I associate with many people that as far as I can tell like to spend more and have more than I do. They use their money in ways I don’t. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I wish I had more “nicer” things like they do.

I wish I had a nicer TV, nicer clothing, a better car, that I ate out more, that I had the full satellite or cable TV package (or any TV service at all), that my children had as many toys/gadgets/video games as theirs do or that my kids had an Iphone (each) like so many other kids do.

I wish my furniture was nicer or that I spent more every time that I go to the mall. That I could go shopping and not look at price tags so much or that I would buy something at first sight instead of shopping around at least five times until I found the lowest possible price for something. Like the other day at Best Buy, I was looking at a phone case that cost $40. It took me 30 seconds on my phone to find it online for $19 yet the girl right next to me just picked it up and took it to the cash register…

But I don’t spend our money this way. My wife and I have chosen to give up the “nicer” things in order to have what those “nicer" things will not allow us to have; a debt free life, wealth and the goal of achieving financial independence.

At least that’s the way we look at it...But I tell you it’s not easy….

I would love to drive a newer car, have better clothing, nicer furniture, buy my kids more stuff, eat out more, go to the movies and so on. I even wonder what some of the people around me might say about our spending habits and our lack of “nicer” things.

Although we could have many of those “nicer” things if we chose to, I also wonder what would those “nicer” things do for us.

Even if we had the money and could spend it that way, would we?...

We prefer to go hiking rather than shopping. I like riding my bike more than watching TV. Our kids prefer play dates and the park to video games and TV and they still find that playing with friends is better than texting them. 

We LOVE the fact that both of our cars are paid off. And we really, really, really love NOT having a mortgage!

So as tempting as it is to question our spending habits when we see all the “nicer” things we don’t have, the reality is that it’s a trade. We have traded things for experiences and freedom and at the end of the day we really are not missing out on much for not having more things. Instead I look at what we have achieved so far and it seems to me that our choices are right for us. 

I wonder if they are also right for you?

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