Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | April 29, 2010

Within My Means

Today I stumbled on this quote: “There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.” by Calvin Coolidge. It struck me as being so very sensible and yet so seemingly distance from how most people I know operate … including myself.

While I don’t want to be in poverty consciousness, always fearing the end of my financial resources I also don’t want to live in an excess state of mind. There must be somewhere in between that is as sensible as this quote. Maybe it is sufficiency … a word that comes up often amongst my Wild Boar Leadership Tribe. Webster’s (my favourite dictionary) describes sufficient as “to meet one’s needs”. The word need might be the key here since I’ve come to realize that even when we think our needs are met there is an enormous tidal wave of marketing that would suggest otherwise. Annie Leonard’s lovely little film “The Story of Stuff” got me thinking a few years ago. Since then, I am frequently uncomfortable with my spending habits – which by most standards are pretty minimal. At least until last week.

I found myself deciding I needed a new blender. I rarely use the one I have because it’s attached to a large, heavy unit that does a lot of things I’ve never done (grinding meat, mixing dough etc.) Knowing a friend had asked if I had a blender for his visit I thought I better upgrade. Of course there were literally dozens of options. After much comparison I settled on a sleek model for about $80.00. Driving home I couldn’t help but wonder why I’d bought it. I certainly didn’t need to spend that much on something I use once or twice a year. I might … repeat, might … use it more if it was more convenient. But to spend $80.00 on something I didn’t really need left me feeling defeated.

As soon as I got home I taped the bill to the box and will return it on my next trip to the city. I simply don’t need it. I can offer up the one I have or borrow one for the four days my friend is visiting. I don’t need something else to store, maintain, clean, move around and generally take up space. And the money? I’ll save it for something I really need and not something I think I should have.

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