I buddy of mine wrote about Optimizing for the Maximum. In short we buy a huge house because we occasionally have the whole family over. But really it’s a few days a year, and the rest of the time we just have a huge item to maintain.

Bob’s article made me think of this post on Escaping Consumerism and this great article on spending fuelling the economy to the detriment of saving.

We buy things like huge houses to show off how successful we are (even when we barely make the payments) and the government (speaking for Canadians) makes it super attractive to spend rather than save.

We’re getting helped along on a culture of debt and that is not a good thing for us as individuals. As I said just last week, going from very little debt (a car payment) to $0 debt has made a huge change in our quality of life. I can only imagine how poor our quality of life would be if we purchase a huge house with all the money the bank would have given us. We made a smart move when we didn’t spend tho extra $70k that the mortgage person tried to tell us was a steal.

They weren’t wrong, it was a steal but the bank would have been stealing our house when we didn’t make the payments.

Again I really recommend The Total Money Makeover (affiliate) it’s changed our lives in a year.

3 responses to “Maximum Consumerism”

  1. Bob Avatar

    Great follow-up. The culture around us (speaking from the USA here) really does invite us to spend so much more than we make. I know I’ve fallen into it and now am trying to dig myself out.

    One added benefit of not purchasing the largest of everything is that it somewhat forces you to be content with what you have and grateful for the stuff that you DO have access to. It is always easiest to long for something more, something bigger, something better. Harder is to be content with what you have, or content with even less.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      The culture is very similar in Canada, after I wrote this we talked to 3 other local families that are barely holding off bankruptcy because they spent all they could on a home. It’s now this big possession that ‘makes’ them successful and they are having a hard time letting go.

      Sure I’d love my own dedicated office instead of sharing a the bedroom, but I’d rather spend appropriately.

      1. Bob Avatar

        Right now my office doubles as a play room and a guest bedroom … and isn’t really a bedroom, more a room in the basement. Ideal? No. Do I need a better office? Nope.

        I like my little, strange, office. Lots of character in the faux-wood paneling.