Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday Musings

I'm not very materialistic. I realized that many years ago. That's one reason I'm able to get through life on a fairly low income. Money has never really motivated me (oh sure, I'd like more money, but I don't need more money), and I've never been very good at managing it. Just ask my now ex-wife. She loved to shop, buying new toys all the time. I hate to shop, and only buy something when I need it. She "needed" a new car every 2 years. I drove my old cars until repairing them was no longer an option (the last 4 vehicles I owned all went to at least 300k miles before I gave up on them). Currently, I live car-free because I don't need a car. It's a choice I've made, primarily for environmental reasons, but also for economic ones. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends offered to give me a truck absolutely for free. I turned it down. I don't need it, and I don't want to spend my money on gas, insurance, etc.
I don't own (or want) an iPod, HDTV, or state-of-the-art computer. When I'm buying clothing (which I hate to do), I look for functionality rather than style. Then I wear it until it becomes worn out. The same for appliances. I've been using the same coffee maker for 14 years, and since it still works I don't have any urge to replace it.
The only exception I make is for river gear. There's a whole lot of "stuff" that I desire in river equipment. But I make due with old gear, and only buy what I can afford. If I won the lottery (which is highly unlikely since I don't play the lottery-otherwise known as a tax on people who don't understand statistics), there's a boat and a ton of accessories I'd love to own.
And I would love to travel more.
What bring this all to mind is the current economic turmoil. While I don't pretend to know what's going to happen in the future, all the signs I see look bad. The falling dollar, crumbling housing market, federal deficit, and generally weak infrastructure just aren't sustainable. Something has to give, and a lot of people are going to get hurt. I know many people who have accumulated debts in the pursuit of more "stuff", and their anxiety is palpable. There's a sense of being on the brink, waiting for the fall.
Which brings me to a simple point. If our economy tanks, I'm in a better position to weather it than a lot of people. I don't have much to lose, and a lot of experience getting by on next to nothing.


Demeur said...

How's the lyrics go: "Freedom is another word for nothin left to lose" Yep in this country we spend too much money on things we really don't need. Funny thing is when the big crash comes you won't be hurt at all from what I see.

Mauigirl said...

As Kimo's Hawaii Rules say, "There are 2 ways to be rich - make more or desire less." The Desire Less option sure is easier to attain for most of us!

Anonymous said...

You're so right about uncertainty. You have done the right thing by not pursuing accumulation of stuff as a hobby.

When I think of the people I know who shop for a hobby, I have to wonder how they will not only cope with not having money to live on, but how will they learn to live again without shopping. The withdrawals!