I don't really know how this started.
I remember when I was 13-14 years old.
I was trading in Magic the Gathering. This is a trading card game very popular during that time.
At this time, I had desire. I wanted more. I took allowance advances to buy more cards. I was trying to get better cards to build my deck. The craze went off when I went into Junior College (17 years old) and the school was further than the place where I used to do my trading.
I started playing cos everyone was playing. It was the in thing to do. It was cool. It provided a social circle and it was fun. It was also fun when I won matches.
The cards came in common, uncommon or rares.
The useful rare cards would cost a lot. Useless rare cards won't be worth much.
Useful uncommon cards would also cost quite a bit. Unless uncommon cards won't be worth very much.
Useful common cards would be worth maybe SGD0.50-SGD1. Useless common cards are pretty much worthless.
I'm not sure how it started but there came a phase when I stopped using rare cards to play. I would collect rare cards when I got them and keep them in good condition in my folder for resale. I would then build decks using common or uncommon cards. I didn't even use useful uncommon cards as those could be sold for quite good amounts. The thing was, I could still win using these decks. It's probably not good enough for tournaments (which I don't attend), but it was good enough for casual play. I would win some, lose some, and have a lot of fun along the way. I was using useless uncommon cards in innovative combinations with common cards to build good fun decks. This was all the more fun when I could win against players who had spent a lot of money building their decks.
This was when I realized that I could play the game differently from everyone. That a little bit of thinking or innovation would allow me to be as good as an average person and still be utilizing less resources.
Fast forward to now.
I now live a very enriching life.
I have a house, car, furniture, etc.
Utility wise, I am able to live the same or even better than others who have spent more to get the same stuff.
I always look at things from a utility point of view.
Does this product perform the deed which I buy it for? Can I get something cheaper which performs the same function at a lower cost?
I have a phone. It tells me the time. I don't need a Rolex.
I have a car. It gets me from place to place. I don't need a BMW.
I would not have a car if my wife was not working in an inaccessible area.
I have a Philips 40" TV. I don't need a Samsung 50" TV. Seriously, the cost is double but the utility is not double. I don't get double the pleasure using a 50" TV.
Somewhere in between playing card games and now, I learnt that I didn't need very much. You can always get something for good value. To provide the same utility and enrich your life at a lower cost. This resulted in me having very little wants in life. Almost no material desire. I still like my car. It's expensive but it provides a different utility. But I'm willing to not own it if my wife changes job. But when I think about watches, or branded accessories, or the latest gadgets, I feel nothing for them. Sure if someone wants to give me a free Rolex, I'm happy to take it. But personally, I have no real interest to buy anything, as long as what I have currently still fulfills it's purpose.
There was once a few years back, I bought a memory foam pillow. It was SGD20.
My existing cotton pillow was losing volume and I was having neck pain after sleeping. I thought that I needed additional support so I looked around and decided to get this memory foam pillow. The experience was shocking. This was essentially a want. I could just buy a new cotton pillow which was more fluffy. Anyway, after I paid for it, I felt this swell of emotion. Basically, I had almost never given in to my wants. And this time I bought something which had a higher price than the utility value which I assigned to it. I was almost about to tear up. It was a strange feeling.
Anyways, besides my car, my other sin is, relatively expensive food. Typically SGD30 per pax on weekends, with good value. Anything more expensive and I wouldn't feel happy eating as I would experience the emotional cost of overspending. Unless it's some special occasion such as birthdays and such. But even so, I would look for good value and the cost should be around SGD70 per pax.
What I use
Car - COE car. Expense is SGD1200 per month including depreciation, parking, insurance, everything.
Phone - hand me down XiaoMi phone from my wife, camera lens cracked. It serves its purpose for Whatsapp, calls, Facebook, intenet.
Running shoes - SAF running shoes
TV - 40" Philips TV
Table - SGD49 IKEA table
Home clothes - SAF PT kit
Working clothes - G2000
Going out clothes - whatever T-shirts people bought for me for gifts
Belt - SGD20 belt using friction to hold into place. No holes. I find the hole type of belts spoil easily as the pin will typically tear the holes and ruin the leather.
Working shoes - SGD20 leather shoes, typically lasts 6 months if worn daily. The place that sells at Rochor center this has closed down. I have yet to need to buy a replacement.
I don't even know what else there is to list down. Cos if I don't have something I can't compare against what other people use. And really, I don't have much.
But I'm happy. Cos I create my own happiness. Not from the stuff which I have or how others view me, but rather by being happy with what ever I already have.
Having low desires also add to my happiness as I don't have the feeling of want and disappointment when I don't have it. As long as the utility of the item I have already serves its purpose, I don't feel the need to upgrade to the latest or better product.
That being said, having desires might not be a bad thing. Desires may help to drive a person to work harder and earn more to obtain the stuff he wants. So it can also be used as a driving force.
But just a point to note, what's next? Typically, the person will keep working and obtain the goal, then he will get used to the new item then set another goal and keep having even more desires.
Nothing wrong with this. Just personally I don't think that I would be happy chasing things for the bulk of my life. Some folks like it some folks don't. I just don't. But as mentioned, having desires/wants could be good or bad depending on how you view it.