Society and the media constantly feed us messages about how we should get ahead so we can upgrade our lives. Although we should have ambition, a purpose, and be productive members of society, we should resist the urge to upgrade with every raise, promotion or new job.
Let me explain:
By always living up to our means, we keep ourselves in a cycle of living paycheque to paycheque. If we are in debt, we stay there. If we hate our jobs but have too many bills to pay, we are stuck there.
Stop automatically upgrading your life. Usually, we have the money spent before we even get it. (If you have debt, you know this is certainly true. It always has a place to go!)
Try to be happy where you are. If you feel that ‘life is good’ and you’re happy with what you have, don’t update simply because you feel that it’s expected.
Think in terms of needs, not wants. Do you really need a bigger home? A newer car? New appliances? The latest macbook or iPhone? There will always be something new and shiny to spend your money on. Make sure that your spending matches your priorities. For example, if you never have money to travel, but always have the latest gadgets, you may need to revise your spending habits.
If you don’t upgrade or buy new, what could you do with that money? Could you travel? Take classes? Pay off your credit card? Imagine the peace of mind you would have knowing that you were debt free or had a travel fund that could take you anywhere.
We need to start questioning the choices we are making. Don’t upgrade. Instead, increase your options, education or savings. My bet is that you’ll be happier with money in the bank than you will be with an extra 100 square feet, a slightly faster computer or a new car that’s already worth 30% less than you paid for it. Try it and see.