According to nerdwallet.com in 2016, “Today, the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,061.” That is a staggering picture of people spending money they do not have. Let’s take a minute to look at why we are spending money that we don’t have?
1. The Belief That More Money and Things Is Better
The ads tell us that so it must be true! There’s not any doubt about it. Here’s an ad for a car that plainly says, “You can buy happiness.” If it’s in the paper, it’s got to be true, right? We believe in Life, Liberty, and the Purchase of happiness. It’s American.
The fact is, things can bring happiness. Money can bring us happiness. The problem is, it’s temporary. It’s just for a while. Things do make you happy. If you get a gift, you’re happy about it. But it doesn’t last and after a while the thrill goes away and the excitement fades and boredom sets in because things never change and people change.
2. Telling Yourself That More Makes Me Important
This is the idea that’s promoted that if I’ve got money, then I must be important. The misconception is, I am what I own, that my valuables determine my value, that if I have little then I must be worth little. So since I want to be liked and respected and looked up to, I must continually keep on getting more and more and more. I’ve got to keep up with the Jones’. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’ — they just refinanced.
If I have more things, I’ll be more happy. The fact is, we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like! That does not make since. Having more things will make me happy — for a while. But it doesn’t last.
Having more things does not make me more important. It’s amazing what people will pay for a status symbol. Some people will pay $50 more for a shirt because it’s got a little thing up in the corner. It’s still made out of cotton. You pay $50 more for that little horse.
3. You Feel More Secure When You Have More
“If I could just achieve financial independence…” Have you heard that one? As if that’s the goal of life. The fact is, the more you have, the more insecure you can be because the more you have to worry about. The more you have, the more time and energy it takes to maintain it. The more you have, the more insurance you have to pay to insure it.
The less you have, the less you have to worry about. You don’t have to pay insurance on it and you don’t have to take care of the upkeep and maintenance.
If you own anything, if you have something that God told you to give away and you couldn’t give it away — “I could never let go of that!” — you don’t own it. It owns you. We tend to become possessed by our possessions. The thing about things is that things often transform us.