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I have been tormented by this question for years. Growing up, I was told over and over that money doesn’t grow on trees… how many of us haven’t heard this from our parents.

Now that I am older, I see the trends and the “conditioning” of our belief system. We like to compare ourselves to others who usually have more than we do; we copy behaviors that we think are good for us, or rather our image. We have an internal need to belong, to seem successful, and to blend with the high and mighty of this world. Most of us like to feel inadequate and feel sorry for ourselves because our thought patterns derive from a place of need. But if we truly think this through, we create needs because we think that STUFF will make us happy and successful. So, we embark in this trip of no return and the psychological effect of swiping a credit card which doesn’t make us actually reach into our pockets and take cash out. So a lot of people think that since a machine swiped a transaction, we are good until…well until we get the bill next month. On we go to the next store and we do the same. Follow the pattern?

Not everyone falls in this category (some people have to get into debt for health, business, and education reasons). I am not talking about that, but about the majority of us who do, if we want to be honest with ourselves. Our teenagers have credit cards; they roam the malls because they were “conditioned” to become consumers. Even the economies of the world see the trends and measure the success of an economy by the consumer spending.

Needless to say that it is very difficult to start thinking in painfully true needs versus wants! Of course we need an extra pair of shoes, or do we? We need the brand new cell phone, or do we?

Let’s put our lives into perspective here for a moment. We actually need air to breathe, good health, a roof over our heads, a job, and food to survive. Those are true needs. We want the better car, tons of clothes, manicures, haircuts, movies, cell phones, shoes, clothes, gadgets, and the list goes on. This makes us happy for a brief moment, but then the yearning for something better and newer emerges again and again.

I will ask all of us to reflect a little and to think: We all know that we are here for a “limited” time. Nobody is immortal. When we depart from this earth, how much STUFF do you think we will take with us? Harsh question I know. But it keeps it all in perspective. So next time you feel the need to spend, think how much better it will be next month, when you owe no money to any credit card, but are still alive, well, and happy.