Enough Stuff

by Stephen Mills on March 3, 2012

Because it happens over time, I don’t think we really realize how much stuff we collect.  Most people would buy more stuff if they had more money.  We dream of the stuff we would buy and how happy it would make us.  The only problem is people with more stuff aren’t happier.  Over my adult life I have accumulated a lot of nice stuff but to be honest I don’t think it has made me any happier.  I’m pretty sure the 30 years of stress making the money to accumulate it has contributed to a lot of unhappiness at times.

If you go into debt, and most Americans do, in order to buy stuff then you essentially are a slave to your stuff.  It owns you.  Your stuff has a mortgage on your life.

You also have to manage your stuff once you have it.  You have to organize it, store it, maintain it, dispose of it, etc.  If we see a new version of something we already have we feel an almost irresistible urge to get it even though the version we have is performing its function adequately.   In the 21st century the latest and greatest comes out so frequently it makes your head spin.  This is by design.  People who sell us this stuff know the most advanced scientific techniques to stoke our urges to “upgrade”.

A year ago I bought a very nice new car that replaced my perfectly nice existing car. I like my new car, but I also liked my previous car. Objectively it is more luxurious than my old car, but on a day to day basis that makes no difference. It only really matters when I think about it. I’m no happier, but I spent a lot of money getting no happier.  Does that make any sense?  I think we are suffering from a collective illness.

People go into debt to buy bigger homes to hold more stuff that puts them further in debt. It’s an endless cycle.  We enslave ourselves to our stuff.  I don’t really know what to do about it.  I’m guilty of it but I’m getting better.  Spending some time reflecting on it (like writing this article) helps when I have the urge to get something new.  We’ve enslaved ourselves with the help of advertising and the media, but we can also choose to set ourselves free.  Maybe you have enough stuff.  It’s worth considering anyway.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Fionna March 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I stopped watching TV and reading all the advertising flyers that come in the mail. That way I have no idea of what great deals I am missing. That is my downfall. The Scots in me can’t resist a bargain.

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John D. Buerger, CFP® March 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

How True. I like your realization that with the car you spent a lot of money to become no happier. Here is a simple rule of money we (all of us, me too) often forget: “Once a dollar is spent … it can’t be spent on something else.” So ask yourself with each purchase, “Is having this (stuff) really important to me? Or would I rather have something else that is more important to me?”

As you realized in writing this post, Stephen – simply being conscious of your spending decisions helps to make better ones.

We just released a cool new tool to help people be more conscious of where the money is going. The Cash Flow Hydrant™ is not a budget tool (budgets don’t work for most people). Instead, it is a way to save money without a sacrifice in your quality of life.
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wimmera March 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I hate any budget.
At the present I am sure that I will not go near any shop for a long time.
I am making my home spartan,10 bags are gone to the Op-shop.
Every week I will clean my home till becomes nice,clean,lots od clear spaces.
I do not need any more of bargains(enough stuff)

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Rose37 March 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

Advertising/ media bring a huge help to all of us, but it doesn’t mean that we need put in our minds that it serves only as our basis to choose the right for us…
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Ruthy March 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I think this should serve as a lesson to every person and I hope you can continue to provide more information to us…Thank you!
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Cley March 6, 2012 at 12:34 am

There’s nothing more you can wish with different advertise products which you can consider your budget to brought all of it, I love shopping with my debt card because I know there’s no commitment at all when I am using this type…
Cley´s last [type] ..1300 number

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Brian March 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

It’s so important for all of us to realize that more stuff doesn’t guarantee more happiness. In fact it, as you mentioned, can be a formula for misery. Also, every piece of stuff in our collection requires a small amount of constant energy output that we may not even be aware of. Another great reason to simplify. Thanks for a timely post.

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Queenie20 March 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm

This is really the best idea.. I will definitely consider it! :) Thanks for sharing.
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Everest March 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

The more we collect and buy some stuff the more garbage we are collecting at home. That’s my problem right now, I don’t know how to dispose all the unnecessary things at home. It’s a mess!
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Sean March 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

George Carlin – A place for my stuff

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Heather March 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

Great Job. I wish you can continue. Thank you for sharing.
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Karyn18 March 12, 2012 at 8:27 am

Sometimes it is useful to read some mails from your mail box, especially when it is about great deals for shopping or giving away free discount coupons.
Thanks for this blog post.
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Cley March 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Sad to say but this is so true. There really are some people that are enslaving themselves for material things. To the point that they are buying that for their wants only, not a need..
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Thrixxie March 13, 2012 at 2:49 am

This can give realizations to the people reading it…Thanks a lot!
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Kelsey87 March 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I like your realization and i hope that this will serve as a lesson to every person. Thanks for sharing this to us and i’m looking forward to read more from you.
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Yronele March 14, 2012 at 1:04 am

People are not really aware with this one..Anyway, thanks for the information here…
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Cheziannhe March 14, 2012 at 7:30 am

We people are used to buying a lot of things that we really don’t need at all and whe the times comes, we don’t like using it anymore, we just dispose and leave them behind…
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alanc230 March 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

You are absolutely right about stuff. We have more than enough. My family and I try to get rid of/give away/recycle as much as possible, but I swear the stuff that’s put away in the basement multiplies overnight when we’re not down there. It’s an ongoing struggle.
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Nancy37 March 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for sharing with us this great information’s… Hope you can share with us…
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Ronifelle March 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I am really happy that you have this kind of post because this can help a lot of people realize some things in life..
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Nicole March 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks for shearing this …this is nice idea to trap the rats……
great job..
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Minard March 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

I am sure a lot of people can relate to this kind of post…
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Dawn0977 March 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

Don’t what’s on me, but I love to buy some stuffs even I don’t really need it at all. I was thinking it for future use. Actually, our garage are full of junk right now.
Dawn0977´s last [type] ..Happy New Year To All Of You And Hope You Like The Aquarium Fish Photos Here …

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Derrick March 20, 2012 at 1:09 am

Brilliant Article! I have scaled the stuff thing down so low I am now weird. Weird and in peace. But it’s not for everybody.

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Beatriz March 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

I love shopping and I am using debt card as my essential booth for having fun, there’s nothing to worried because there’s no obligation when using it at a time.. Securing about financing habit is truly good…
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Bianca March 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I am a shopper addict and I had a problem with my stuffs.. Thanks to this post.. finally my problem solved..
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Rachelle April 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

time passes by so quickly everyday and its not hard to believe ‘time is money’… This is perhaps why sometimes people start falling into the trap of showing very literally their possessions to the world to signify statuses. will definitely remember not to become enslaved of the unnecessary things!

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Mia Glover June 19, 2012 at 4:20 am

It is really nice to buy stuff most especially if there is a lot of budget. However, it is better to spend money on the important things only.
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Eva Haley June 21, 2012 at 8:35 am

Getting the stuff you want gives really joy to your heart. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, you can find free stuff on different websites.
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Diana Stanshop August 16, 2012 at 12:03 am

I purchased stuff only that is important to me. I am sort of minimalist person so I want to collect important stuff only.
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Julian May 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm

The little monsters causing havoc are Asian Ladybird
(Ladybug) beetles (Harmonia axyridis) and they can be
quite nasty. Spending two hours while every horrible thought you’ve ever
had in your life is paraded before you is humbling.

It is an addiction to the idea of marriage and it prevents building a real relationship with a
man.
Julian´s last [type] ..Julian

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