Interested in starting a dialogue about personal finances and how best to educate ourselves to achieve financial independence.

Why Can't We Have Nice Things?

Why Can't We Have Nice Things?

We're committed to financial independence. We've said goodbye to materialism, and the tyranny of expensive coffee! But wait, why can't we have nice things?

Out-of-control spending

I’ll confess, I love nice things; especially clothes. And, for a while, I was out of control.

It started innocently enough. I wanted to redo my wardrobe for work. Then, clothing made its way into my regular budget. Slowly, it took more and more budget-share.

At first, I wasn’t interested in high dollar items. I just wanted to replace my wardrobe with respectable business attire, to make a positive impression at work. I stocked my closet full of suits, dress shirts, slacks, and ties.

After a while, I began to take an interest in, not only the clothes themselves, but how the clothes were made. I started to recognize quality fabrics and construction. Of course, this led to more expensive clothing.

Giving to get more

As a natural minimalist, I didn’t need a bigger closet for these new expensive clothes. The old ones, most of which I purchased less than a year prior, simply made their way to Goodwill.

I was buying newer and better while performing a social service. Right?

It did not stop there. My taste in finer things grew to exceed my ability to afford them. I became obsessed with high fashion. I was shopping in New York, Paris, and Scandinavia.

Quality over quantity

I knew it was an addiction, but for a long time, I couldn’t stop. To this day, I refuse to think about my total spend. But, if I’m completely honest, I still like nice things. Is that so bad?

I don’t believe owning nice things is intrinsically bad.

Logically, craftsmanship and quality materials should matter. Fast fashion is no better for the environment, than it is on your budget. For example, paying a bit more for a lifetime warranty might make good sense.

If you’re going to put some distance between you and materialism, then I’m going to argue that it makes sense to purchase investment items when they’re needed. Plus, if you’re like me, doing the research can be fun.

Diminishing returns

But, there is a point of diminishing returns. A $40 — $100 t-shirt may sound extreme to some, but a $400 t-shirt should sound ridiculous to everyone.

If you find yourself falling victim to addictive behaviors, go back to your budget. Change the conversation. Try setting some fantastic savings goals for yourself, ones that you can get excited about.

Get excited about your goals!

Being excited about your goals is the best way I have found to reinforce good behavior. It’s all about focus. Remember, that your future self wants to be successful too.

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