Focus more on ?bare necessities?, less on luxuries, columnist says

Hannah McDermet

Hannah McdermetDeviant Ink Slinger

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities; forget about your worries and your strife.”

The words of the lovable bear, Baloo, from Disney’s The Jungle Book have echoed in the ears of millions of people since the movie’s release in 1967. However, how many of them actually listen to what Baloo is really saying? I’m afraid his valuable advice falls on deaf ears.

Living with only the possessions one needs is an incredibly foreign concept in capitalist America. From a young age, Americans are taught about capitalism and the good it does for consumers. After all, greater competition makes for lower prices of goods and it also promotes a free market, which makes it easy for people to enter or exit the market at any time.

Despite the great things it has to offer, capitalism also creates an unrelenting sense of greed. The amount of products and services available make people want more and more stuff. And that’s all it is &- stuff.

The truth is, material things really don’t mean anything at all, at least not on an emotional level. They will never fill a void or make you a better person. Sure, shopping will scratch the occasional emotional itch you have to go out and blow money, but it will never solve long term problems and will only lead to larger problems like debt.

An increasing obsession with material goods is plaguing the nation. We are constantly bombarded with advertising telling us that we “need” that designer bag and “can’t live without” a new pair of Nike shoes. No wonder the average American household has more than $16,000 in credit card debt. It’s like Americans never know when to stop spending.

I know what you are thinking. It may be hypocritical for me to preach against the owning of “stuff.” I, myself, own plenty of luxuries including a computer, flat screen television and a cell phone. I am not completely against owning luxuries as long as the owner puts those luxuries to good use.

I know plenty of people who buy random things, use those things once and then forget about them or throw them away (remember that crock pot you bought last winter?). They continue to spend their money on these items while they complain about rising taxes, increasing tuition rates and inflation. Enough is enough!

Americans need to pay more attention to the amount of goods they buy. Try to buy more necessities and fewer luxuries. Keep the money you save for a college fund, a vacation or you may even choose to donate it to someone who really needs it.

So it turns out, our good friend Baloo knew something after all. The reality is, when you budget yourself you get a lot in return. So the next time you really want that new video game or a designer handbag, just remember the words of that big, lovable bear.

“I mean the bear necessities; that’s why a bear can rest at ease; the simple bare necessities of life!”

Hannah McDermet is a senior journalism major at SDSU. Contact Hannah at [email protected].

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