Needs vs Wants: What the Coronavirus Crisis is Teaching Me

Italy is on complete lockdown for the first time in its history.

What this entails is that all bars, all restaurants, all fast-food restaurants and many other non-essential businesses are closed.

Even if you were willing to pay 100€ for a cup of espresso you won’t find any bar open and if you were willing to pay 1000€ for a pizza you won’t find any pizzeria open.

For the first time in decades I have been forced to bring my coffee thermos from home and give up my habit of going to a bar up to 3 or 4 times a day to order an espresso, because there is nowhere to go.

This situation is causing me to reflect a little bit on how much money I could actually have saved up if, when I was younger, I had adopted the habit of bringing my own coffee to work, instead of always going to a bar and splashing unnecessary money.

Going to a bar 3 or 4 times a day means (here in Italy) spending 3-4€ a day, which multiplied by 7 days per week, 30 days per month and 365 days per year means a lot of money, money that I have been unconsciously spending on non-essentials.

Had I conquered this habit 25 years ago, or, better yet, had I never started this habit, I would, by now, have a lot more money in the bank.

This Coronavirus thing is making it plainly obvious that consistently spending money on non-essentials is absolutely foolish and it also making it obvious that we don’t really need to go to a bar or a restaurant to be happy.

My wife and I are having an amazing time together despite the fact that we are unable to go anywhere for a date.

From now on I will always bring my coffee thermos to work and my wife and I are considering the possibility of cutting back rather drastically on our habit of eating out.

12 years from now I should be able to retire (provided that there will still be such thing as a pension check in Italy): if I really manage to ditch this bad habit of spending money on unnecessary cups of espresso for good I should be able to have good extra money in my bank account…..hopefully.

A passage of the New Testament written by Paul of Tarsus says that we should be content with having nourishment and clothing (and a house I guess)….it seems like he was right. There is a lot of stuff we don’t really need…

My coffee thermos is proving to be a very useful tool