Below is a guest post from LAL from LivingAlmostLarge and LAL Musings. I’ll let her introduce herself: “I’m a twenty-something DINK, living in the northeast searching for financial freedom. I hope to one day live large and be financially free, but it’ll only happen one step at a time. I admit to not being the most frugal or smartest financial blogger, but I think I’m giving a real perspective on the challenges faced by many other young adults. So please stop on by. I have a couple of giveaways going on including a 1 year subscription to Money Magazine if you subscribe to my RSS or Email feeds.”
This week I read this post called “Materialism breeds unhappiness, ” by Embrace Living. The writer suggests that as a society we use material possessions to value ourselves. Thus it breeds discontent and unhappiness because we are constantly wanting the newest fashions, etc.
She says that there is something within that is wrong with you that causes you to want material possessions. That we have to investigate what it is, work on it, and become happier. I guess she’s preaching the idiom “Money can’t buy happiness.”
Honestly do I think that? Well let me say this, money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly make you feel better. And anyone who says money can’t buy happiness hasn’t been poor. I am not knocking this chick, I don’t even read her blog. But BTDT [Editor’s note: is it a sign that I’m old that it took me three minutes to realize that this is “been there, done that”?] about being poor and HELL NO I’m not going back.
I believe money buys me freedom and peace of mind. It allows me the freedom to choose where I live, how I live, and what I buy. I honestly like having new clothes that fit instead of used hand-me downs. I like having better wine than $2 chuck. I like eating fresh fruits and veggies instead of canned. I enjoy playing my Nintendo Wii and having two dogs. Luxuries all of it. My DH definitely lusts after an iPhone or iTouch. Will it make him happy? Yes. Will he want something more? Doubtful, he’s been lusting after the iphone since it came out and still hasn’t gotten one. Think of it as delayed gratification
Are we materialistic? I guess so. Are we unhappy? Not really. Do we desire to earn more money? HELL YES. But I have very specific goals in mind. I want to be independently well off enough to quit my job if I hate it at the drop of a hat. I want to be able to pay for my children’s college, and maybe even a home down payment or wedding. I want to be able to drive a car without worry that it’ll break down all the time. I want to be able to provide for my parents (and in-laws) in case they need financial support.
So yes I’m materialistic. I’m also realistic. Money may not buy happiness, but it sure helps. Being poor doesn’t mean you are any happy. One could argue you are even more unhappy because you struggle to get out your circumstances. That you would love to new clothes, fresh food, etc.
So maybe over materialism breeds unhappiness. People who just spend for the sake of spending. People who are thousands of dollars in debt and need to go to debtor’s anonymous. Or perhaps those rich people who can spend money like water and never run out. Then perhaps materialism breeds unhappiness.
But to me it’s not materialism that breeds unhappiness. It’s the person themselves. It’s not about material goods. You can have no material goods and be unhappy. Happiness is from within and wanting material goods doesn’t make you a bad person.
Thanks to Lazy Man for allowing me to do this guest post. Please stop by my blog, I enjoy tons of feedback.