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10 Reasons to Quit Excessive Consumerism

10 Reasons to Quit Excessive Consumerism

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

More by this author

Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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