One of my favorite things to do every spring is to go to the big RV show held at the convention center. I love to look at all the new RV’s and drool over million dollar coaches that only a lottery win will ever make affordable for me. As much as I enjoy it, though, I’ve noticed a problem. After the show is over and I’m back home clutching all the glossy brochures, I feel bad. I look out the window at my seventeen year old (yes, that’s 17 years old) motor home and sigh. As much as I enjoy that camper and as well cared for as it is, she’s no longer the new kid on the block. Her gloss is gone, her decor and features are dated, and she’s got a lot of miles behind her. She can’t compete with the new, shiny, souped up RV’s that I saw at the show.
This vague sense of “wanting more” lasts for a couple of weeks and eventually passes, but that time is a dangerous one for me. I’ll admit to cruising websites, looking at the models, and playing with prices. While I don’t think I’d ever act rashly, it gets tempting after the show to say, “You know, we could afford something new(er). What about going and talking to a dealer?” From there it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to negotiating prices and trading in the old for the new.
I get this way if I go to the Parade of Homes or a home expo, too. Seeing all those brand new homes, fully decorated and sporting all the latest trends can give me the feeling that my house isn’t that great. And heaven help me if I find myself wandering a new car lot while I help a friend pick out a new vehicle. My almost twenty year old car can’t hope to compete with that new car smell. I’ve learned over time to avoid these types of events as much as possible, but sometimes I still find myself in the midst of some showplace or other, wishing for more.
While I can’t completely kill of the “wanting more” feeling — it is human after all to want more — I’ve learned to deal with it in a few ways by reminding myself of what I already have. When the wanting gets to be too much, I have the following conversations with myself.
What I have meets my needs
My camper might be old, but it’s the right size for us and has all the amenities we need. The newer models are certainly nice and swanky, but we don’t need one. Many of them wouldn’t suit our style of living, either. I remind myself that what we have is what we need and that it works well for us.
What I have is functional
I know that everything in my camper works. From the engine to the appliances, it all runs and is problem free. Many new things come with kinks that have to be worked out. Even if they’re under warranty, it still means trips back and forth to the dealer and “downtime” where I cannot use the unit. My unit works and is ready to go when I am.
What I have is paid for
This is most important. I owe nothing on my camper. Until I can (or am willing to) pay cash for another one, this one is perfect. I don’t want to take on payments for something that is purely an indulgent purchase.
What I have is way more than many people have
Many people at the RV shows don’t even have a camper. They’re just there to dream. I’m able to do the things they’re dreaming about, so that makes me very fortunate, indeed. To want more is foolish.
Use the shows for inspiration, not depression
When I see something I really like in an RV, I ask myself if it’s something I can replicate in mine. Maybe I can recreate the upholstery or redo the flooring. Maybe an add-on kit is available so I can put that feature in my unit. I don’t have to have a whole new unit; I can jazz up what I have with a little labor.
I know how to repair what I have
Having had that camper for so long, I know all of the systems inside and out. I can fix almost anything that goes wrong with it. Since it was built in the days before everything became computerized, I can fix it relatively inexpensively. The same can’t be said for a newer model where everything is computerized and unfamiliar.
Sure, the day will come when I’ll have to go to an RV show to seriously look at something new. Mine will one day become more expensive to fix than to replace. By then I will know exactly what I want and how much I’m willing to pay. It won’t be a spontaneous purchase made because I’m in love with something prettier.
Of course the best solution is to just avoid these types of events. However, in the case of the RV show, it is also something that is fun for me. I don’t want to give it up. In order to keep my fun from leading to spending, I practice these tactics to keep the wanting under control. If you love going to things like home, car, or boat shows for fun, don’t let them make you feel inferior and don’t let your spending get out of control.
(Photo courtesy of daubiwan)