I used the word "redefining" instead of defining in my title on purpose. I'm not so sure I need to define what a want versus a need is. However, I do need to REDEFINE in my brain what a want is and what a need is. The entire point of this No Spend Month of September is to be more concious about what we are spending our money on and why we are spending it. When I get the urge to update my already updated kitchen...I try to ask myself why am I desiring this? Am I bored? Lonely? Or, am I just not content with being content? Honestly, after I ask those 3 questions...I usually have my answer. I can't help but think of the world around us and compare my life to theirs. Here's a simple quote that I found after some internet research. This data was from 2 years ago. It got me thinking....
Over three billion people — more than half the world population as of 2010 — live on less than $2.50 US Dollars (USD) a day. More than 80% of the population lives on less than $10 USD per day. To put that in perspective, the average American spends about $7 USD a day on entertainment alone, and more than twice that on transportation.
Whoa! Did you read that right? Read it again...and again...and again...until it really truly sinks in. See, what I have learned is that I have the amazing priviledge of living in a very wealthy country. Even in this ugly economy, which by the way we have certainly felt the pressure of when my hubby lost his job in 2008, we are still amongst the richest people.
So, what do we do with all that extra money? Well, if you are anything like me...we give some away, but then we spend it on ourselves, our homes, our cars, our kids, our pets, our family. And you know what, that's not all bad. Actually it's a good thing to take care of ourselves, our family and all that we've been blessed with. It's a blessing to have our needs met and to take good care of those blessings.
BUT, C'MON PEOPLE!
You and I both know that we spend way more on our wants than our needs. I am sure we all go through times when we pull our purse strings just a little tighter. You know, we don't eat out 3 times a week, just once. We decide to make our Starbucks at home with our fancy Keurig instead of walking into a Starbucks and purchasing a Tall Vanilla Roobis Tea Latte with 2 extra squirts of Vanilla Syrup. What? I never said I was innocent from this want versus need thing! I am the guiltiest! But, just so you know...that is my favorite drink there. Just sayin...
So, with the above quote still resonating in my head. I am obligated to get myself in check. It's so easy to compare myself to my neighbors. And if I do that, well we are doing pretty darn good. BUT, of course, we aren't rich by any means, You know...we get by... we have enough to pay for my cell phone, the cable and the internet. We can run to Target and buy some new shoes if our kid's shoes are looking a little tired out. I can run out to dinner with my girlfriends and spend $15 on a meal. My boys can play their sports and my girls can get pretty new hair clips. But, don't get the wrong picture here...we really aren't rich.
Hopefully, you are catching on to my sarcasm here. One thing I have recently been blindsided with is just HOW rich I truly am. Has my husband worked hard? You bet he has! Have we "sacrificed" in some ways to get where we are? Heck ya we have! But, the truth is anything and everything we have has little to do with us. We had zero control over where we were born (here in the USA). We had zero control over who our parents would be and how they would raise us. We had zero control over the privileges and opportunities we were blessed with. Anything we have is a gift from God. A GIFT...not something we earned and certainly not anything we can take credit for. It is a gift. I am guilty of not viewing these privileges as gifts, but rather as things we have earned. But, the truth is...I would have nothing if it weren't for God's hand providing it for me. And I just can not shake the thought that I can do more for those who need it.
You know the saying...Blessed to be a Blessing?
That applies to me.
P.S For a fun look into just how rich you are...try this fun tool.