A couple of weeks ago, I shared some thoughts with you from Courtney Carver’s book “Soulful Simplicity.” In this book, she also talks about common myths of ownership. These are things we mistakenly believe that lead us to buy things that we don’t need. When we do, we often waste money, end up in debt, and trap ourselves in lives we don’t want. So, by dismantling these myths, we empower ourselves to live with more financial freedom.
3 Myths of Ownership
These are the three myths of ownership that she highlights in the book (in her chapter on eliminating debt and clutter).
1. Aspirational Ownership
Carver explains that this is when you buy something because you believe that by owning it you’ll become (or at least seem) a way that you want to be (or think that you “should” be.) She cites many examples, such as “If I own the best face cream, I will look young.”
First of all, that’s not true. You waste money on face cream and still don’t look as young as you’d like. But more than that, there’s obviously an underlying issue there that you’re not addressing. Why do you want to look young? You’re trying to buy things to fill a want that you can’t fill with stuff.
This myth gets me in these ways:
- I bought a fancy tripod with an aspiration to get higher social media numbers.
- Embarrassingly, I often waste food because I buy “healthy food” I think I should eat even though I know I don’t love it.
- I buy a ridiculous number of notebooks and calendars. Partly, I do enjoy them. Partly, I aspire to be a more organized, on top of it, stick to a calendar person.
- Although I don’t spend much on any one pair, I do own a ridiculous number of heels. I barely ever wear heels. But I want to be someone who wears heels. I aspire to be more professional, grown-up, sexy, and fun.
- Ditto on corsets.
- I own two really fancy vacuums (for one tiny apartment!) because I aspire to be someone who cleans more often and more thoroughly.
- I own lots of board games because I aspire to be someone who invites people over for game nights.
These are a few examples of how aspirational ownership leads me to own things I’m not using. What a waste of money!
2. Pain-Avoidance Ownership
This is when you buy things to avoid your emotions. Carver notes that people buy things to avoid boredom and guilt, as well as to procrastinate dealing with things by enjoying the distraction of shopping.
I don’t fall victim to this myth of ownership too often. When I do, though, it’s usually late at night, when I have insomnia, and I’m “bored” but don’t have the energy to do much. That’s when I’ll start putting things in my online shopping carts. That’s also when I’ll start hitting “buy” on things I’ve saved in my online shopping carts during past times just like this. I’m definitely trying to avoid the discomfort of those hours by passing the time this way.
3. Just-in-Case Ownership
Oy. When I first started reading this section, I thought, “that doesn’t apply to me.” Honestly, I always get on my mother’s case because she owns so many things for some undetermined future time when she might need or use those things or someone else she knows might need or use those things. I kind of pride myself on using things or getting rid of them.
And yet, as I read, I realized I actually do this a lot more than I thought.
This myth gets me in these ways:
- I keep hanging on to the aforementioned heels and corsets “just in case” I go somewhere where I want to wear them.
- Although I try not to, I sometimes hang on to clothes that don’t fit anymore “just in case” I lose weight soon.
- I have four swimsuits. This is in spite of the fact that I use a swimsuit maybe once per year.
- I have a ridiculous amount of craft stuff in case I ever decide to use it. This one might be more aspirational than just in case though. I have a little bit of trouble distinguishing the two categories.
Which myth of ownership gets you the most? Can we stop buying into these myths and avoid wasting our money?
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Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer who loves to live a balanced life. She appreciates a good work-life balance. She enjoys balance in her relationships and has worked hard to learn how to balance her finances to allow for a balanced life overall. Although she’s only blonde some of the time, she’s always striving for total balance. She’s excited to share what she’s learned with you and to discover more together along the way.