Guest contribution by Lalitha
Inner battle of desire, conditioned logic, and hard reality
I hail from a simple ‘middle class’ South Indian family. I was always taught the importance of valuing money and spending it wisely. Throughout my childhood and up until my marriage, I was provided with very good quality products, especially clothes. When I came to Germany right after my marriage, a lot of things dawned on me. Running a household had never been my job and I had to manage our finances somehow. Most of the clothes and kitchen utensils were brought from India, as regarding finances it was a hard phase.
Slowly, after almost 2 years, I became financially stronger and moved to a beautiful city called Aachen. I happened to live in the city centre and often saw a lot of shops with all branded products on display. I always wondered why they were so overpriced. I remember buying a pair of jeans for 5€ in a super sale and a new winter jacket for literally 4€. I loved wearing them and every time someone would ask me where I got the jacket from, the first thing I would say was that it had only cost me 4 euros. I mention this just to give you an idea of how far removed I was from branded products.
However, deep down there was always this desire to own or wear something branded. But my conditioned, logical brain would always ask me why? Why would I want to spend ten times as much on a product that could be bought for much less price and of good quality? I could afford it, yet I was very reluctant. I just could not break open my mental ties and go the the market to swipe my card carefree. I realized; it is not about having enough money.
The joy of breaking open my mental ties
Gradually, our finances in general as a family, further got better and my desire grew stronger for buying some branded products. I started to read about why branded products are more expensive. It was very interesting to know how much detail and design is involved and how these products are curated for a specific market. I always loved to do my own research on anything new to me.
I now had the financial freedom to buy some of the branded products I had been eyeing. First on the list was the Fjällräven Kånken bag. Each time I put the bag in the shopping cart and thought about whether it was really worth buying. I had to work on my beliefs about money and finances and it took some work. Finally, I got the bag for my 30th birthday.
Honestly, it felt liberating from the inside to have bought something expensive. I wore an extra wide smile whenever I carried the bag. It also made me realize how amazing, branded products really are. After that, I bought a few more branded products – wallet, sweater, personal care products, kitchenware, shoes, perfume, etc., some of which were pre-loved!
My transformed relationship with money
It is not that I only buy branded products these days. I only buy things when I need them, and I am also a big fan of pre-loved products. It is not that I want to upgrade my lifestyle to only expensive things, it is that I want to appreciate these few branded products and feel a sense of joy in owning and using them, a state of mind to be okay with spending 100-200€ on a single product occasionally, to learn to enjoy my life now and do a few things that my heart has always wanted! Over the years, I love the way my relationship with money, pre-loved products and brand products has transformed for good. I love how living in Germany has changed my perception on many important things and helped me to discover myself better!
I am Lalitha, a freshly minted graduate in Germany. My newfound love is writing these days. I love reading books and I am very passionate about cooking and baking. Music and coffee help me navigate tough days. I like hiking and cycling. I live in Aachen and I am truly in love with my life.