Friday, 3 October 2014

Over the Top - What do we really need, anyway?

Someone I know made an offer on a house in Toronto. Now this was a pretty large house in a good area, but it needed major updating, and there was knob-and-tube wiring and asbestos that would have to be dealt with, which are not inexpensive things. It had potential but it wasn't absolutely amazing, or even unique. Well, she didn't get the house. It had multiple buyers interested in it, and eventually went for $400,000 OVER the asking price. My jaw hit the floor when she told me.

I knew Toronto was expensive, but that is just plain ridiculous. Beyond the fact that someone could afford that, there's the fact that someone would be willing to pay that. I mean, I adore looking at real estate, and I have seen many, many houses I would love to buy. But even if I were fantastically rich, there's no way I'd sink that much money into my home. Even in my most dramatic daydreams, I'm nowhere near that end of the scale. When it comes right down to it, it's a shelter, with walls and a roof and drywall and hopefully heat and water. You need somewhere to sleep and eat and stay dry and warm. Really, you don't need much more than that. Our ancestors raised bundles of children in small, modest homes.  Some lived in soddies, some in log cabins. I've seen Italian women churn out fantastic, amazing meals, course after course, on a hotplate in a kitchen not much larger than an Easy-Bake oven. What percentage of our income are we willing to spend on just this one basic need?

There are so many other places to put our funds, so many other causes, and so many people around us who are in need. It doesn't hurt to check our priorities once in a while and justify our financial decisions to ourselves if to no one else. I would rather live in one of those Tiny homes with my belongings in a cardboard box than to live somewhere over-big and over-priced, or to spend that kind of money just for the sake of saying I live in that location. Nowadays you just can't justify extravagant living, not when you're thinking on a global scale.

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