“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” — Donald Horban
I love this quote by Donald Horban. What he is saying is that to have a peaceful life we must lower our expectations a bit from what society and the marketplace screams at us that should be the norm. In my work as a financial mentor, I see the need to scale down wants in many families across the nation. The idea of spending less money than we have has been gone from our society for a long time, but we must relearn this principle or we will never get off the financial treadmill.
I have mentioned in prior posts on this blog that in order to scale down wants, you will need to prepare a spending plan. To create a spending plan, it is imperative that you review how you spent your income for the last 12 months and then divide by 12 to get a monthly average. Once that’s done you are in a place to examine your own spending habits, values, and priorities and decide what must be done to balance your expenses with available income. Without a history of how you have spent money in the past, you will never be able to get your wants and needs sorted out to any reasonable solution.
Through this spending plan you will be able to recognize spending patterns, and then something truly amazing happens. Suddenly you become humble and teachable. Revisiting the basics over and over again will help you see how over time, it becomes easy to want more and more until wants become necessities. Pretty soon spouses, children and even self wants more and more until you are out of money and there are no reserves for emergencies.
Why not want more? Aren’t we the richest nation in the entire history of the world? Haven’t we always been able to have more and more? Look at what we have accomplished: A man on the moon, the Internet, people living longer by 25 years, and so forth. But there is always a limit to what we can have because the supply of money is not infinite, even if our wants are. You must know what that limit is and stay within it through a spending plan in order to be at peace with yourself.
To heal this disease of constant want, take a good hard look at how you have spent money over the last 12 months and then begin prioritizing how you will spend it differently over the next 12. Your spending priorities must balance with available income. As you begin to understand better what you have left to spend in each spending category, at the time of purchase, you will begin to make better spending decisions that are emotionally controlled.