I have experienced both sides of materialism… my mother’s first priority was music, and as an “emancipated woman”, she did not clean, cook, or care for children. We used to get our clothes from the 3rd-World collection bins in the street, or handed down from relatives. I don’t remember minding too much, except that my cousins always used to have nice toys and I didn’t.
When my sister and I moved to my aunt’s after our mom’s death, the first thing our aunt did for us was go out to get us an entire new wardrobe… all our old clothes went and for the first time, we looked well-kept. She used to give us lavish gifts at Christmas, and always ensured that all children (us and her own) got an equal amount of money spent on them. So, financially, she was very giving. But living there was hell, for other reasons – psychological terror – yet we did have all we needed.
Now, I find that I tend to be rather stingy with money most of the time, wanting to save up (because it gives me a feeling of safety to have a little money for “a rainy day”). I don’t go into debt, and God willing, I never will – that’s been drilled into me from the youngest of ages and I believe it’s good advice. Buying a home is one thing, that’s an investment, but going into credit card debt or things like that, I would not do that.
I did say, “most of the time” I’m stingy. What’s difficult for me is the little things, which add up. I will think endlessly about buying an expensive thing, procrastinate forever, and shop around, while at the same time wasting money on cheap non-essentials that I really don’t NEED. I’ve got to learn to be “faithful with the little”.
Am I attached to money? Well, I get a lot of security out of knowing I have a little (and little is a very relevant word here) reserve. Money is freedom, in many ways. But I also know that the most important security I have is in my relationship with God, no matter what happens or what I have or don’t have… but that’s almost more of a head knowledge than subconscious. Down there, I still do trust in money.