A friend of ours has a shirt that on the front reads, “The answer to poverty is not wealth.” And on the back it states, “The answer to poverty is enough.”
This shirt prompted a discussion based on the question, “How much is enough?” Some stated that it was simple to determine when you have enough – it’s when all your needs are met.
I don’t think that it’s that simple. How do you know when your needs are met? What is the line? Is it the same for everyone? Do you need a college education? Do you need a soft bed? Do you need two cars? Do you need a couch? Do you need to own a home? Do you need a computer? Do you need more than two changes of clothes? Western society says that all of those things are not just needs, but rights that every person has. We have a right to higher education. We have a right to furniture. We have a right to home ownership. We have a right to several changes of clothes, yet many people never have the opportunity for any of these things and they still survive. So is it truly a need?
I understand that this isn’t an easy question to answer. I need work clothes to keep my job. I need a car to get to my job and I need my job to be able to eat. So maybe I do need more than two changes of clothes, but how many changes of clothes is enough? When do I pass from having enough clothes to having an excessive amount of clothes? How new do my clothes have to be? How much should I pay for them?
This is a constant struggle for me. I hate shopping because I stand in the store debating if I need this item or not. The closest thing I have to an answer is to live simply. To own only what I use and make do with what I have. It’s not easy and I really WANT a new digital camera… but I am not sure I need one.
I would like to hear from you. Have you come across something that you found you could live without? Have you cut back on anything because you had to wanted to and found that it really worked out? Have you cut something that you realized was a mistake (like heat or car insurance)? Please leave a comment and let us know what works or doesn’t work for you.