The average Finnish man requires 260 products and services to lead a ‘reasonable’ life, according to a new study from the National Consumer Research Centre. The body surveyed people on what items they thought were essential to their daily lives and asked them to estimate a minimum budget for living.
Not counting housing or transport expenses, EUR 576-578 was found to be the minimum monthly budget for a single person under 45, dropping down to EUR 495-499 a month for someone over 65. EUR 957 was revealed to be the bare essentials for a couple, while a couple with children would require at least EUR 1,497, according to the research. A single man under 45 was found to need an average of 260 items in his arsenal, including a mobile phone and a computer.
One of the researchers, Anna-Riitta Lehtinen, said that while variations among different types of households were not found to be that great, nearly all those surveyed considered telecommunications a necessary expense. “A cell phone and a computer are essential in today’s society,” noted Lehtinen.
The study also revealed that having contact with other people was also seen as indispensable, and having the basic means to move around and meet people socially was thought to be important. The results of the probe will be made available to debt counsellors in order to help people better manage their budgets.
Finland’s WWF (World Wildlife Fund) programme coordinator, Sampsa Kiianmaa, recently cut down to just 100 possessions in an experiment aimed at discovering how much stuff a person really needs.
“I started by listing what is important to me and what I rarely use. Items I rarely use can be borrowed or purchased if I need them and then re-sold, so they don’t take up space,” explained Kiianmaa.
Kiianmaa said his experiment taught him that the need for belongings is not always healthy. “We compare ourselves to others and if someone else has more possessions, we feel that we are not as successful as they are. This leads to a need to compete,” added Kiianmaa.