The Stress of Having a Supersized Lifestyle

by David Ning · 16 comments

All through life, we were taught to believe that bigger is better. More, more, more our teachers would say; higher, higher, and higher, our parents cheered.

When we grew up, we carried this mentality as the way of life. We stretched to buy the biggest house, we worked long hours to advance our career as much as possible and we did everything we could to grow our money. We were hypnotized that the “better”option is always what is best for us.

A couple of days ago, Emma and I were trying to decide on a place to eat. We thought about the sushi place across the street, the korean barbeque on the other side of town and the McDonald’s close by.

In the end, we went to McDonalds and had a very satisfying experience. For a little over $8, we had 3 sandwiches, 2 fries, 2 sundaes and drinks.

If we went to the sushi place, we might end up being “sort of” full with a $60 bill.

Supersized Fries or the Supersized House?

When we were looking at houses a year ago, we saw many that have almost no furniture inside. These are not cheap houses mind you. These are houses that were being listed for $600,000 dollars with no furniture. Apparently, many home owners wanted the bigger house but couldn’t afford to even put furniture inside their home. They must’ve always picked the sushi place and forget that you can supersized your McDonald’s happy meal as well.

Fallacy of Chasing Your Dreams

Who doesn’t want that bigger house or be a (multi)millionaire but what is the true cost of your pursuit? Are you actually living life while you work ten hours a day and commute for another two? The sad thing is that once you reach those goals, you will make new ones and there you go chasing it again. Like my old boss always says “it’s never enough”.

Live Your Life

There’s really one piece of advice. Know what is enough and live your life because you deserve it. The dollar menu ain’t so bad.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas February 27, 2009 at 8:19 am

Cute and insightful post. Living below one’s means usually means one can have a richer life (more free time, more money in savings, less stress). Bigger or more is definitely not always better.

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Neal Frankle February 27, 2009 at 8:39 am

A good one David.

I was reading another blog this morning which asked what would you do if this was the last day of your life. A simple yet all-important question.

I know that if I ask myself that question, the “super size ” junk in my life just fades in importance.

Thanks again.

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Moneymonk February 27, 2009 at 9:19 am

We always want to be a step above what we can handle, our eyes get bigger than our income

less is more but most have to experience the failure to actually believe it

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Michael Kwan February 27, 2009 at 11:44 am

How did you get so much food at McDonald’s for eight dollars? Even if you ordered from the dollar menu, that’s nine items (assuming you each had a drink). Also, you are paying with your health by eating at the golden arches. Sushi would have been much better for you, but it would have hurt your wallet a lot more, that’s for sure. One of the biggest reasons (no pun intended) for the obesity problem in America is that unhealthy food, like McDonald’s, is much less expensive than healthier food, like sushi.

I can appreciate the sentiment of this post, because I agree that you need to cut back on the right expenses and live below your means. We live in a very consumer-centric society where everyone always wants more. We need to learn to appreciate what we already have. Ambition is one thing. Excess is another altogether.

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marci February 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Simpler, smaller, less maintenance, less clutter, less upkeep equals less stress. That’s how it works for me :) I only need “enough”… and I guess it is up to each of us to define that line between enough and too much.

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UH2L February 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Great post. I always say that “we become slaves to our greed”. It makes us have to work harder to get the things we want. Another great quote comes from singer Mae Moore. She says in one of her songs, “All the things I don’t have set me free.”

These are words to live by.

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MoneyNing February 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Michael and Others wondering: We used coupons that gave us free sandwiches for buying drinks so it worked out great.

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Manshu February 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm

While I completely agree with the message of this post, human nature dictates that people will not remember it a few months and be back to their original ways.

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marci February 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Two weeks ago our area got McD’s flyers offering lots of buy one get one free meals – so Big and Tastys, Fish, or Big Macs with large fries and pop were $6.98 for the two meals – I guess that’s why I thought your price was normal – as I only eat there with coupons to start with – unless it is a dollar burger once in a great while.

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Greg February 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

Living life without being content is the biggest reason so many people are struggling in the current economic situation. Not knowing when to say no causes people to always buy the bigger one.

When I have to go out for lunch my first choice is almost always McDonalds: 2 McChicken sandwiches from the dollar menu with a cup of ice water…$2.18.

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Fine-Tuned Finances February 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Right now I don’t even own my own bed (I use an air-mattress) or any furniture that matter. I do happen to move every 6-12 months because of schooling and whatnot.

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Scott @ The Passive Dad February 28, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Right now with our kids so young they think getting pizza is like having steak and lobster. I love it when they are thrilled to get pizza as it’s a real treat. We have a friend who shared a story about his 16 year old daughter that’s been asking for an iphone for months and expects to go out and eat several times a week. I told him to have the “Job” conversation with her :)

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Chris February 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

The time weighting of clutter struck me several years ago when we caravaned around Australia over a 4 month period. We spent 10=15 minutes a day on “house duties” and then we had all this time to do so many other more enjoyable things. You do have to save and be wise preparing for the future, but an over emphasis upon having large savings for retirement, when it can all evaporate due to a financial collapse, also means you need to make sure that you don’t make all your life decisions based around the large “hoped for” retirement income, which may never come.

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PerfectMOney March 1, 2009 at 4:05 am

Like what my teacher says,we live trough our parents and neighbor who respect bigger is better,we live for Other.try to satisfied other.,try to get there respect and positioning.however at the other side place deep down our hearth we know there is a Hollow from getting many things.deep here we know,we need only “us”orself”our own respect that it is time to say thank you cause that is what means of satisfactions.the truly satisfaction one

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Jenny March 7, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Many of those expensive houses that you were looking at may not have been empty because people couldn’t afford furniture. When selling houses many realtors and others advise you to keep a minimum of stuff in there to make the house look bigger and easier for buyers to imagine their own stuff in it. Many people rent a storage unit or move most items into the basement or elsewhere when trying to sell a house.

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MoneyNing March 7, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Jenny: That’s understandable and probably true in most markets but trust me, they were empty. It’s hard to justify that they did it on purpose when there is only one Ikea $4.99 chair in the living room as something done to aesthetically please the buyers on a $1 million dollar house has only dirt in the front lawn.

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