The other day, a friend of mine was so excited. She was smiling from ear to ear and had announced that she just purchased a new car. I could see the new car outside. It was bright and shiny and of course, new. I overhead someone say, “Congratulations! You deserve it!”
You deserve it. We hear that so much today. You deserve a new car. You deserve to go on a big vacation. You work hard. You deserve some new living room furniture. You deserve to go out to eat. You deserve that candy bar.
Do you deserve it? Do you deserve to experience a great depreciation in your car as soon as you take it off the car lot? Do you deserve five to eight years of car payments? Do you deserve to be so wrapped up in debt that you can’t afford an emergency? Do you deserve the bondage of debt?
We are quick to rationalize our indulgences. Rationalizing bad behaviors leads to regret and sometimes worse behaviors.
Instead of telling ourselves that we deserve it, we should ask ourselves if we have earned it.
It wasn’t long ago that I was driving a $1,000 mini van. I drove it for about a year. My husband piddled with it here and there to keep it working ok. The slider door didn’t work well, it was a little rusty, and it wasn’t very attractive. I saw people driving around with new vans and cars. It would have been nice to have a new mini van — one that had that new car smell, that didn’t have rust, didn’t make a squeaking noise, and one that the slider door worked properly. Sometimes I would feel a little embarrassed about my van, but then I had to remind myself that I didn’t have a payment. It is really financially freeing not to have a car payment. While driving our old mini van we were able to save up a little and now we have a $4,000 mini van. It’s not new and I’m ok with that. I don’t deserve a new mini van until I have earned the cash to pay for it. Honestly, if I had that kind of cash, I probably wouldn’t spend it on a car anyway.
I find peace in being content. There is not a constant drive to keep up with someone else. There is no guilt or regret from purchasing something I can’t afford.
Of course, I have made my own financial mistakes along the way. But they are mistakes — mistakes I have learned from. If you are currently living with financial mistakes, I hope that you will take baby steps to correcting those mistakes. Let’s change our entitlement attitude of “I deserve it” to one of “I have earned it”.
image credit: seanandlauren