piles of clutter
Coronation Street,  Social issues

Being a slave to your things

Recently, Coronation Street has revisited Cathy Matthews’ hoarding issues. They came back to light when Cathy moved in with her friends; Yasmeen Nazir and Elaine Jones. This isn’t the first time that Cathy has experienced an issue like this, as it is Roy that explains to Yasmeen that Cathy has been here before.

Hoarding is a complicated issue, but how can the average person break the connection between how you feel and things?

Taking a look at your belongings

Do you have things like a bicycle, a Jacuzzi, or an exercise bike that’s just sat there, 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 car 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 and stress that came with it?

Breaking the chains

The good news is that there’s a better way. Firstly, you need to determine what you really value and what makes you happy. Secondly, you need to use cash instead of debt. Thirdly, you need to learn how to look at cost and benefit.

Will you really enjoy that £2,000 mountain bicycle enough? Maybe. This isn’t about right or wrongs. 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 realisation, using pen and paper, that his jetski cost him £300 for every hour he used it the first year. Loan interest, petrol, insurance, depreciation, repairs, licenses. It all adds up. And he thought it was too expensive to pay £100 per day to rent one! Consider the real costs of thing, 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.

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