Are you suffering from the effects of consumerism?
We have all felt pressured to participate in and buy things we don’t need or even want.
Whether that be the latest mobile game (aka. Pokemon Go), a shoe that proved too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary groceries.
It’s easy to be tempted when you live in a society where more is more.
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To combat these urges, remember how excess shopping and consumerism can poorly impact our lives.
Common effects of consumerism
Bringing in excess possessions creates less room for the things you actually do use and enjoy.
By living simply and only with things you need, you are allowing yourself to live more freely.
Minimizing your possessions can, in turn, maximize your life.
As a teenager, my room was generally chaotic, as most teenagers’ rooms are.
Finding what I needed for my day was a daily struggle, and I hated the feelings it created.
With patience and maturity, I developed systems and habits to tame my once-chaotic space.
The problem, however, was that as a teenager, any jobs I had provided me with a purely disposable income.
I bought way more clothes and accessories than I needed and, thus, had no room for anything.
As an adult, I think hard about my purchases now.
It’s pretty infrequent that I cannot locate something I am looking for.
Having constant running thoughts clouds our judgment and gets in the way of our clarity.
Excess possessions pose the same potential for damage.
If you are always surrounded by excess stuff in your home, you likely feel uncomfortable in your own space.
Paring down our items allows our home to serve its true purpose, to feel safe and at ease in our own space.
Excessive consumerism drains your bank account and creates feelings of guilt
Personally, I save an average of $50-$100 per week by making meals at home.
Constantly ordering takeout or going out to dinner also loses value when it’s a daily thing rather than an occasional splurge.
The same goes for buying clothes we don’t really need.
You end up being saddled with the guilt that you bought something and never wore it.
Too much stuff also causes fights and discord among couples with a shared budget and living space.
Family members all want their own space, and excess stuff gets in the way of a calm household environment.
You may also have trouble leaving the house on time because you can never find everything you need to walk out of the door in a timely manner.
This leads to discord and an uneasy beginning to an outing or trip.
Money and how we spend it is also a common argument between spouses.
Why add fuel to the fire by buying your 100th pair of shoes when you only really use 15 pairs?
When making a purchase, contemplate whether it will benefit or detract from the goals you and your family have set together.
Excessive consumerism depreciates the value of your new and existing items.
Your possessions start to lose meaning because you may begin to not truly value anything.
You may have a compulsive feeling and need to replace anything you already own with something new simply because you have deluded yourself into thinking this is “better” than something you already own.
Take care of your current possessions, and you’ll appreciate them more.
Possessions, as opposed to experiences, bring people less joy.
Birthdays and holidays bring a lot of pressure to get someone the perfect gift.
Challenge the habit of buying a new toy every time you see your niece by offering to do something sentimental instead.
For example, offer to babysit for the day and allow the new parents some alone time.
Take someone to dinner or cook them a meal, go to a concert or play, or even go on a road trip.
The memories you make and the time spent together on these outings will outlast nearly any use a gadget or trinket can provide.
Need some help getting rid of those lingering effects of consumerism?
Here are some steps you can take to combat excessive consumerism:
Write down something you’d like to buy and wait 30 days.
Then, revisit the list, and if you still need it, feel free to buy it.
This waiting period can provide a valuable perspective on the purchase and identify if it’s a want or need.
It can also provide you adequate time to save for the purchase if necessary.
Pause and investigate the motives for the purchase.
Did you just have a bad day and felt the need to cover up the emotions with a shopping spree?
Is that shirt really that great, or are you brainwashed into buying it because it’s on sale?
By thinking through why you’re purchasing something, you can understand your own over-consuming patterns.
Think through where the item will live in your home.
Don’t allow yourself to purchase it if you know it won’t fit.
A good rule of thumb is to try and imagine where an item will end up before bringing it to your home.
Can you visualize it living somewhere?
Do you see it sitting perfectly on your desk?
If not, you may have to settle for falling in love with it in the store.
It’s also vital to set a realistic budget for yourself before going shopping.
Set an alarm via your bank account to alert you when you get close to this spending limit to remind you not to overspend.
Use the 1/1 rule!
Every time you purchase something, try and donate or let go of something that no longer serves a purpose to you.
What are some other ways you try to control your shopping and over-consumption habits to benefit your happiness?
Let us know your thoughts about the effects of consumerism in the comment section below.
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