I have lived in a third-world country and seen poverty first-hand and have lived in some of the nicest neighborhoods in the country. I feel so blessed to have had both experiences and it helps me to remember what "need" really is when I am feeling like I need something I really don't.
A high school teacher used to say there are three basic human needs that need to be met and as long as they are met, you can deal with the other stuff. People need food and water, basic clean living conditions and to feel safe, secure and loved in their environments.
When I am convinced I am needing a new wardrobe or ridiculously priced pair of shoes, I remind myself that while I may want them, I definitely don't need them. I am not going to die without them and if I don't buy them, I will often forget they even existed within days or weeks.
Anyway, this past week I have really been feeling frustrated with how long it seems to pay off debts and save money and worried about how to keep up with rising costs of all the staples.
Then I was reading my Good Housekeeping magazine this morning and came across an article I loved. The author, Firoozeh Dumas was talking about how her family began donating gifts for their kids birthdays instead of throwing lavish parties when she realized the nany she was hiring had a two-year-old son back in her own country and was just trying to make a better life for him. Later she recounts how they had saved a certain number of frequent flier miles in hopes to go to Paris, but a family member needed them so they decided their trip could wait and gave them to the family member instead.
"A few months later, we received a letter from the IRS reminding us we owed a thousand dollars due to the value of the miles. As my husband wrote the check grumbling about "not being able to afford winning," the realization struck me: If someone in my family gets sick, he can go to the doctor. We live in a house that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have the "burden" of trying to lose weight becuase we have access to so much good food. More important, I can hug my children whenever I want. What else is there to win?"
It's always good to put each situation in perspecitive.