It’s hard not to envy other people’s homes. At least it is for me. I couldn’t care less about fancy cars, designer clothing, or country club memberships, but if someone has a fantastic house, perfectly decorated in my kind of style, with pieces I’ve drooled over in magazines, then I may need to give myself a little mommy timeout while I get over myself.
When others have more than we do, and that thing they have costs money that we don’t have, it’s hard not to fixate on the fact that what we have as…well, less. Less of something good. Less than they do.
This is when it is so important to have a philosophy behind your spending habits. For me, “saving money” never counted as a legitimate philosophy. It felt too self-centered and empty, lacking any focus or higher cause. It’s also too tied to career success, indicating that you should ideally need your philosophy less and less as time goes on, rather than engaging in a lifelong pursuit of its perfection.
This is why the green movement and the current economy are so complimentary…one hand washes the other. Green living gives a higher cause to habits that otherwise could be viewed as nothing more than “doing without,” and the lack of disposable income curbs our appetite for thoughtless waste and consumption.
Now is the time for us to spread the message of Wastelessness…while people are looking for ways to feel better about not having a lot of money. The dots to be connected between our spending habits and our impact on the Earth have never been closer together.
As long as I keep my philosophy in mind, I can see my possessions, or lack thereof, in the light of their true beauty. My garage-sale finds are beacons of sustainability, not cheap imitations of my neighbor’s new designer pieces. My home’s smaller square footage clearly translates into a smaller carbon footprint. Every worn piece of furniture still gracing my living room is an empty space in a landfill.
In this light, my home and my style are so much more. Just as the dieter doesn’t feel down on herself because she didn’t eat the huge piece of chocolate cake, I do not feel less of anything.
I wouldn’t feel this great if I was just doing it for a higher number in my bank account.