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An old friend of mine and I recently had a discussion about Americans and their penchant for things.  My friend is European and had plenty to say about just how bad us Gringos are for having and wanting so much.

But is this such a bad thing?  Sure there are people who can never say enough is enough and there are people who can never be happy nor matter how many Mercedes they have stuffed into their 5 car garage.  However, does that mean that the right path to being good is having little or no material things?  Is it okay to have one Coach bag and a few pairs of nice shoes and still think Green?

I think so.  I also think we are who we are and if nice things and a decent car is what you crave and assuming you can afford it, why not?

I seem to attract people who think very differently from me.  Several years ago I splurged and bought an outfit that cost a few hundred dollars.  This isn’t something I do on a regular basis or even on an irregular basis, but once every couple of years I like to invest in something nice.  Well a friend of mine threw a fit when she overheard what I had paid for the outfit and made a point of saying she did all of her shopping at Good Will and had never spent more than $10 on anything.

So does this make her a better person?  

I do agree with my European friend that Americans tend to crave nice things because they feel they need _these things.  What happens is that they buy more and more thinking that just one more thing or just a slightly bigger house is all will take to make them happy.  This is wrong.  It's wrong because it creates a pattern for financial destruction and ultimate unhappiness.  This doesn't mean that one has to go to the opposite extreme, but it also doesn't mean that we have to shun everything that is new and shiny.

The important thing is to live within your means and to realize that stuff won’t bring happiness or joy, but will give you momentary pleasure.

So if you can afford a pair of designer shoes, a luxury car or a bigger house and it’s something you just can’t live without:  go for it.  Just remember that the thrill won’t last and that real happiness comes from within.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Stephanie wrote Feb 29, 2008
    • I completely agree with you.

      I think that every individual must realize that happiness can not be bought and must be found within.

      But I also believe that if you want something, and if you can afford it, then by all means go for it!

      We only live life once- so if you want that pair of shoes, whether they or $100 or $900, and you can afford it, then go for it! I personally love to get dressed everyday, and feel that I can express myself through what I wear. I do love to shop, and mix and match to play around.

      But always keep in mind that materials are not whats important in life...its the people in our lives, and the relationships we build.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alexandra Boyd wrote Feb 29, 2008
    • I definately agree with you too! You work hard for your money and you deserve to reward yourself accordingly. Don’t let people like your friend get to you. Live and enjoy your life.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janey07 wrote Mar 8, 2009
    • I think that given these tough economic times it is important to cut back.  I think there are ways to cut back without total deprivation.  Personally, I find that by not taking care of my appearance I am depriving myself.  I am in a business where how I look matters.  Well I wrote this in another blog and the women just jumped all over me.  These are women who have never had a manicure in their and think that women like me are wasteful.  Shame on them for being so judgemental.



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