In my early twenties I was obsessed with diamonds. My obsession became even worse when Logan and I talked about getting married. I spent hours looking through jewelry catalogs and even made secret trips to the mall trying to find the perfect engagement ring.
Logan ended up buying me a beautiful solitaire diamond engagement ring, but I still lusted after a three stone anniversary diamond set. I had a recently married friend who had a similar set and I got it in my head that I had to have this particular ring. I thought a different wedding set and bigger diamond would make me a whole lot happier. But that wasn't the case because upgrading the ring caused a lot of tension in our relationship.
We couldn't afford the ring, so we charged it on our credit card and that's where the source of contention came in; such a huge purchase increased our debt, kept me in a job I wasn’t happy with, and made Logan feel like he couldn’t afford to buy me the happiness he felt I deserved.
Now, when I look at my wedding set I don't think about our amazing wedding day and our strong marriage. I think about how caught up in materialism I was at the time.
So how can you avoid the mistakes I've made in the past?
1. Ask yourself why.
Buying items you can't afford will lead you into a hole of debt. And speaking from experience, that's not a lot of fun.
But the larger question is: why do we feel like we need these things? The tendency to buy more stuff has to do with cultural conditioning. Many Americans don't think they aren't affected by advertising, but research has shown that we are deeply affected by advertising. On average, we're exposed to over 3,000 ads everyday. No wonder we're constantly shopping for happiness.
So, before you purchase any product, ask yourself why. Why do you want it? Do you really need it? How will the product enhance your life? Is it congruent with your ideals? And will it bring you additional joy and happiness?
2. Will your purchase restrict your freedom?
If you have to charge something on your credit card is it really worth the cost? Think about the interest that will accrue on your credit card and the additional time you'll have to spend at the office to pay for a particular product.
And what will you have to give up to get your desired product? For instance, the $5,000 we spent on my wedding set was a one-fourth of my income at the time. And that money chould have helped us pay off my student loan debt more quickly or it could have been stashed away in our savings account.
3. Be content with what you have.
"The desire to remember who we are is extremely strong; we feel an insatiable desire to search. And search we do. We look high and low; we look to family and friends, jobs, sex, and drugs, and college degrees; we look for money, prestige, and physical beauty." ~Darren Main
And this type of searching only works for so long.
Upon reflection, my desire to have the perfect wedding set symbolized my search for happiness. I wasn't content in the present moment, but always searching for happiness either in the past or the future. Reflecting on the past and thinking about the future isn't a bad thing, but it's important to remember where you are right now. If you're constantly living in the future or the past, you won't find contentment, happiness, and love right now.
What do you think?
Since, I don't wear my wedding set anymore I want to sell the ring and either donate the money Living Yoga or save the cash. So, what do you think? Should I donate the money or save it?