week #7 do I really need it?

bagsThis week I have been reorganising and ‘uncluttering’ our flat. I’m surprised that many of the objects I have been getting rid of were only bought one or two years ago. At the time they seemed like such a worthwhile purchase but now they are being discarded; some can be resold but most will be given to charity or just thrown away. I had a realisation that I must spend a fair amount of money on things that are ultimately unnecessary but probably seemed like a good deal at the time.

As I considered how I was surrounded by all these things which are so temporary, it dawned on me that I could be investing in something far more worthwhile. What if I changed my buying habits? If I stop to ask myself ‘Do I really need it?’ before I make a purchase, perhaps I will end up with far less stuff to ‘rehome’ during my next clear-out. As well as that, I am then in a position where I can invest in something more beneficial that will impact someone other than me.

A fantastic ‘investment’ opportunity is sponsoring children in third-world countries. In poorer parts of the world, education – something we take so for granted – is a privilege out of the reach of many children. Some walk for miles and miles to attend classes and often this is on an empty stomach. Yet, I can provide one of these children, who are so keen to learn, with an education. All it takes is redistributing a few Pounds that I would likely have spent on something random; an item that probably won’t change my life. But those funds might just change someone else’s. Organisations such as Compassion do amazing work in this area. You are able to write letters to the child you sponsor and you are also provided with regular letters from them as well as updates on their family situation, church activities and achievements at school.  The joy of receiving a letter like that far outweighs the temporary pleasure I might get from an outfit that I will wear a few times and decide I don’t like it, a fondue set that has never been taken out of the box or books that were on sale but never really interested me.

So, from now on I am going to be far more conscious of my spending habits. Before I make any purchases, I am going to ask myself, ‘Do I really need it?’ I get so caught up with wanting the latest gadgets or fashionable clothes when, ultimately, it is meaningless. All these things divert my attention from the reality of the desperate need that is prevalent in the world.  And once I’m free from the clutter I am able to see what is really important. The world’s poor need my attention more than the sale rack does.

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