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29 Jul 2014

On Contentment and Possessions and Airbnb

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by Jesse Mecham

So I have what you call “the travel bug”. I love it. I don’t see it as extravagant or indulgent because it’s a huge value of mine since it has changed me so much by adding such value to my life and the life of my family. But let me tell ya…I’m not staying at fancy resorts, either.

We’ve been doing the Airbnb* thing, and I have to tell you…it’s changing me.

Airbnb is a website that allows you find people that are renting out all sorts of spaces – extra rooms, entire homes, and unique accommodations from glamping to castles. You can then safely book through Airbnb, allowing you also to vet the owners.

The other side to Airbnb is that you can list your own space on there, which is what we’ve done. So when we book our house out for a week, we go on a vacation to a place that is cheaper than our house. See what we did there? Simple math. 😉

This, however, is not for everyone. If you want to stay somewhere that is totally predictable and simple and not have to interact with others, then this is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to live like a local, meet interesting people, and have unique experiences, then try it!

But the mind game that it’s playing on me is phenomenal in a good way. I’m learning things like contentment and relying on my skills and wits and not my stuff while staying at places that are cheaper than my house.

And a funny thing happened yesterday. The sweet girl that’s staying at my house with her family was kind enough to friend me on Instagram to help with trust and whatnot. So yesterday I saw two pictures. The first was of everyone in my pool. And the second was of her and her 5 year old nephew laying on my couch. I’ll be honest. It was weird. That was MY stuff. MY couch. MY throw pillow. MY pool. MY water.

It made me want to never rent my house out again. Then the interesting awakening happened. It’s just stuff.

I’m fortunate enough to have a house to rent out for a decent rate. I’m fortunate enough to have a good decorating eye so that my house looks pretty good, if I do say so. And my husband is so fortunate to have a flexible job so that we can spend a week on an organic gogi berry farm in New Mexico for a week. It’s just stuff.

Why do we have such a hard time sharing? Why is acquisition more important to us than community and generosity? (You could argue that true generosity doesn’t charge, but I digress.)

So why am I sharing all of this on a budgeting blog? I think it’s all linked, truly. Budgeting becomes so much easier when you don’t have an attachment to stuff. Your options are wide open when you’re not a slave to things. Contentment and goals are achievable. 

Whether you’re just starting out and facing the harsh reality of needing to cut some categories in order for everything to balance, or you’ve been YNABing for five years like me and want to find greater contentment and make long-term goals, it’s much easier when you’re not attached to stuff.

*Airbnb is not paying me for this. I just really like it. 😉

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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