Backpacking through South America taught me a lot about what I can and can’t do without. Any fellow traveller would agree – when you are humping a huge backpack around for months at a time, you get pretty darn picky, pretty darn quickly, about what goes in.
Suddenly, hair product – beyond shampoo and conditioner – are no longer necessities. Wearing the same clothes day in and day out is actually preferable to buying more thus adding anymore weight to your back . Souvenirs are only selected (if at all!) based on weight and size – postcards anyone?
And then you realise you have been travelling, surviving and thriving with 15kgs of worldly possessions for months on end. Coupled with a typical travelling budget (aka – not friggin much) it turns out that you don’t actually need much stuff to be happy.
When I got home, I was broke. Making what money I DID have last until I was once again employed, saw me sacrificing the ‘I Wants’ to make sure I had enough for the real ‘I Needs’ (yes, coffee is a real I Need but I had to even sacrifice those daily cups of goodness in the end 😉
And, I got through it. I was down to my last $20 in the bank when the Big Man Upstairs smiled on me and got me a great job.
So, by the time I commenced my Debt Breakup plan, I had some training and experience in getting by without all the extra frills and toppings we often consider Needs. Living in a world so unbelievably focused on consumerism and ‘achieving’ status through the accumulation of possessions, it’s no wonder the line between a Need and a Want has become so blurred.
A generation growing up with the ‘need it now’ mentality puts every new product touted as the next latest and greatest – into the Need category. Only to find, a few months later, something even MORE awesome has taken it’s place. Better rush out and buy (charge!) that too.
What an exhausting and expensive merry-go-round to be on.
Now, even though I have the cash to buy these things, I’m still trying to live that ‘leaner’ life and direct that extra cash towards my debt.
More than that, I have the knowledge that letting these things go for the time being won’t kill me. My possessions don’t own or define me. I can take a personal stand against the onslaught of marketing slapping consumers in the face every day. I can say no thanks Apple, my life is just fine without the iPhone 5000045.
And there is quite a lovely freedom in that.