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Do Your Things Own You?

Do you have things like a bicycle, jetski, or swimming pool that sit unused? Is it that you don't have time to use them because you have to work so much just to pay for them? Sometimes it seems like all the things we own somehow own us.

The bad news is that it's often true. We have to arrange our lives around our things. You get a new truck that can go anywhere, but you're too busy working to go there. Someone is out fishing while you are putting in overtime to pay for your fishing boat. You use your large-screen television a lot, but does it sufficiently reduce the debt-stress that came with it?

Break The Chains!

The good news is that there's a better way. Actually, there are three better ways. First, know what you really value. Second, use cash instead of debt. Third, learn how to look at costs and benefits.

Will you really enjoy that $2,000 mountain bicycle enough? Maybe. This isn't about right or wrong desires. It's a question of truly seeing your own values. Think back to things you've bought but not used, or not used enough. What truly enjoyable things could you do with that money if you had it now? You've got to be self aware and honest.

Cash is king. The price may seem the same, but put those things on a credit card and, with interest, you'll pay a lot more. Cash means you have to save and wait a little for things, but you can buy more and have less stress. Credit cards provide the illusion of a richer life. Escaping debt gives you the reality.

Finally, learn to understand costs and benefits. A friend once came to the realization, using pen and paper, that his jetski cost him $300 for every hour he used it the first year. Loan interest, gas, insurance, depreciation, repairs, licenses - these things add up. And he thought it was too expensive to pay $100 per day to rent one! Consider the real costs of things, and look for a cheaper way, or at least make an honest decision that it's worth $300 per hour to you.

Your things should be making your life better. If they aren't, you need to start looking at them differently. Don't let your things own you. Change your approach.

Steve Gillman writes on many topics including brainpower, weight loss, meditation, habits of mind, creative problem solving, generating luck and anything related to self improvement. Learn more and get free e-courses at


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