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Project 365: Day 24 – Money

Money.  We all want it, we all feel we need it and we can never seem to get enough of it.  Ask most people if they could use more money and if they are being honest with you they will answer yes.  We use money to pay the rent or mortgage.  We use money to buy necessities like food, water, electricity.  We buy cars and spend money to customize them with fancy shiny wheels and tires, bone jarringly loud stereos to wake the dead.  We use money to buy things we thinkwe need like cellphones, iPods, music, videos, computers, games. 

Our lives revolve around the pursuit of money.  The world seems to run on money.  People lie and cheat rob and kill for it.  Some will even sell their bodies for it.  Money seems to always be on our mind.  We love money.

But at what cost comes this love of money?  Can money have a cost? 

This has been on my mind a lot recently.  I think about it this way.  I need money to pay for the roof over my head, to feed and clothe my family, to pay for the electricity that keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Like many families we would love to have a bigger house maybe a 2 story house with 4 bedrooms, a family room, two car garage, nice fenced backyard with mature trees; a car with more room that can handle the winter snows.  A big TV with surround sound system would look and sound really good in our living room.  It could be so much more enjoyable to play our Wii sports on a 52″ LCD TV than on our 27″ CRT.

The thing is all these things come at a cost more than just the money it costs to buy them.  The cost is in your time.  Unless you’ve won the lottery most people need to work to afford these things.  And work requires time and effort an that is time you don’t have to spend with your family and enjoy all of these luxury items.  Sure a big house is nice but what is the point if you spend all your time at work paying it off?  How much is your time really worth?

We live in a very materialistic society.  Just watch TV for 15 minutes and chances are you will be inundated with commercials from companies trying to sell you something.  Think about how you feel when friends or family get some new electronic device like an iPhone.  Do you feel like you need to get one too?  Do you feel envious?  I’ll be the first to admit that I often feel that way.

I am starting to awaken though to the true cost of materialism and consumerism.  The cost of being away from my wife and kids.  The cost of being strapped with debt that weighs on you day after day and keeps you further away from realizing your dreams.  I don’t want my dreams to stay dreams.  I want them to become reality.  I want to live them.  I can’t do that if I am shackled to money.

Granted we all need money to some extent.  The world lives on money.  However, we don’t have to continuously fall victim to the excesses of money.  Live financially smart and live well.  We can free up our time and invest it in the things that really matter, time with our family and friends, and living out our dreams and passions.  We can do this by getting out from under the yoke of money.

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