With advertising bombarding our senses everywhere we go, it’s very hard to not be tempted to buy the newest gadget or gear on the market. While buying things is a part of life, a balance must be implemented or things can get out of control. Here are 10 reasons to put the plastic back in your pocket.
1) Less Stress
Chasing the lure of the next great purchase, that one thing that will finally make you happy, can get addictive. Unfortunately, no matter how happy you are when you buy something, that feeling fades. The bills, however, don’t. Most families are burdened with too much credit card debt because they decided that having that next greatest thing was more important than saving or staying out of debt. The stress caused by excessive consumerism and financial turbulence is showcased in statistics for divorce, suicide, and healthcare costs.
2) Less Stuff
About two years ago, I left a very lucrative job, sold our house, car, and all of our stuff, and moved to another country to join my husband who had been living overseas due to a career advancement opportunity. It was very difficult selling everything that I had used to create my comfortable cushy life. I was emotionally attached to all of my stuff, however, once I let it go, an unexplainable calm came over me. It was like all my things had been weighing me down, and suddenly I was free to breathe again. When you have a lot of possessions, you have to take care of them, organize them, maintain them, and manage them. I have moved many times, and lugging all of my junk around was exhausting. Now, I can go anywhere, do anything, and not have any extra weight holding me down. I have never been a minimalist before, but after being forced to experience it due to life circumstances, I will continue to embrace it in my life.
3) Less Strife
Money problems, often caused by excessive consumerism, are one of the main things listed by couples as cause for breaking up. Not only does money stress cause couples relationship conflict, it trickles down to the children. Overworked parents, often feeling guilty for spending so much time at work, spoil their kids. Young, impressionable minds learn that what you have and can afford is more important than character, and they then cause their parents additional headaches by manipulating them into buying them more clothes, electronics, and cars to stay up with the latest trends. Parents spend longer hours at their jobs to pay for a lifestyle that they don’t even have time to enjoy. This causes resentment and leads to more strife in the family.
4) Less Sick
When people are addicted to spending, they can easily become unhealthy both mentally and physically. The pressure to perform at work to pay for an excessive lifestyle can translate to multiple ailments from too much stress, not enough sleep, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise. People also cope with the stress by excessive drinking, smoking, and other risky behaviors. These lifestyle choices are all indirectly caused by the pressure to make more money to fill the insatiable need to spend more and pay off debt from previous purchases.
5) Less Show
No one walks around with their financial health on their forehead, so we don’t often get credit from others for being responsible. Instead, we are judged by what we wear, where we live, what we drive, what we have. This creates the temptation to go into debt to impress others as a high roller with a show of success. Even if it is just a facade, for many people it’s worth going into debt to gain this perceived level of respect. Unfortunately, if you can’t create an income to match your spending, this is a game that can only go on for so long before the house of cards crumbles. The friends that were gained because they loved your success are often gone when you are no longer able to feed the lifestyle. It’s better to be real and surround yourself with people who want to be around you for more sustainable reasons than a flashy show.
6) More Time
If you aren’t working insane hours to pay off excessive consumerism, you have more time to spend on your family, invest in your health, and live life to the fullest. We are all given 24 hours in a day. I personally don’t want to spend a large portion of time working a second job to pay for a boat that I don’t have time to enjoy. I would rather travel, invest in relationships, and help others through volunteer work and supporting charities.
7) More Health
Your health is your greatest wealth. Without the stress of excessive spending, you can create a more rewarding lifestyle. Taking care of yourself well takes time and effort, two things people often can’t muster when trying to keep up with the family next door. For some people, buying things becomes an addictive behavior that can spiral out of control. Letting go of this need for greed is a healthy part of discovering that you are enough without the stuff.
8) More Money
When you spend less, you automatically save more. While you may look less showy on the outside, your net worth is increasing. This can create additional compounding success as you invest more money into areas that can multiply it further like retirement accounts, investment trading, idea creation, or real estate endeavors. When you go into debt, not only do you lose the money from the initial purchase, you also spend more that the original price on interest. If your spending causes stress that impacts your health, the dollars continue to drain out on doctor visits, medication, and counselors. When you overspend, you may appear rich, but are actually very poor. When you curb this need to buy everything in favor of longer-term investment goals, you eventually find the wealth you were trying to project all along.
9) More Love
When you learn to depend less on things and more on yourself, you discover that you are more than enough. You become real and learn to love yourself, which shows more depth of character than those who have to dazzle with doodads. You also place more priority on people than on things. This confidence is attractive to others. While you may draw a shallow following by flashy living, it’s a demanding crowd that will only last as long as the cash keeps coming. If you abandon this concept for more sustainable relationships, you will know you are loved for who you are and not what you give. You will also have more time to invest in people because you aren’t paying for things. You can take time to volunteer, donate to charities, take your spouse on a picnic, or play with your kids. This is a much more rewarding way to live, and you will find you are loved by many more just for choosing this path.
10) More Freedom
When you drop your need to impress and accumulate meaningless junk, you find you have so much more time and energy to pursue life. Things really don’t matter in the end. At the end of your life, all of your toys won’t matter anyway. They will just be something your children have to sort through and get rid of at an estate sale. Loving people and pursuing your passions bring deeper contentment. Excessive spending can cage you in with debt, other’s expectations, and stress. You may find you are working for a life you don’t even get to enjoy. But, you can open that door and walk away from the iron bars any time you decide that life is about living, not spending.
Trust me, quitting excessive consumerism is something that would make your life simpler and happier.
If you’re interested in simplifying your life, this is a great starter’s guide: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life TodayFeatured photo credit: Barcode on forehead via Shutterstock