The infatuation with “things” in the US always amazes me. I have never been a materialistic person. I value experiences more than things. The money I earn goes towards social activities, weekend trips, and things “to do” rather than new clothes, furniture, or electronics. Six reasons to stop consumerism in your life and begin spending your time and money will be sure to make you think twice about your new designer purse.
- 1. Things make life easier, but extra things cause stress
Having things such as a washer and dryer or a reliable vehicle helps relieve you of spending time on things you have to do and decreases stress. I’m not saying to get rid of those things that help save time or stress. But, having things in excess only causes more stress. When your closet is packed to the rim of stuff, you all of a sudden have too small of a closet. When your husband is playing video games at night instead of mowing the lawn; it is time to decide the Xbox is not a necessity and it is only causing you stress with how he is spending his time. Deciding to get rid of extra things also relieves you of the stress of handling those things.
- 2. Shopping becomes an easier process
Shopping only for things that are needed reduces your need to shop. I only go shopping when I need to. When I do go shopping, I have a list of things that I am looking for. This list that I bring with me includes things that I wrote down over the past week (or months, depending what types of items are on the list) so that the things on the list are truly needed, rather than things to buy on a whim. I go shopping when I have the time, and take my time to ensure the purchases are a good value. The dreadful shopping experience many have encountered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday makes me wonder how badly people actually need the things they buy. Shopping when stores are emptier and shelves are properly stocked is a much more relaxed process, which I prefer.
- 3. Owning less creates more freedom
As you own more material items, you must spend more time attending to those items (cleaning and maintaining). Owning less will gain you freedom on your weekends or evenings to do things you enjoy.
- 4. Moving is much easier
Moving to a new house or apartment is something you don’t think much about until it’s time to move. Packing and unpacking many things is a terrible experience, but it must be done when you move into a new home. I’ve been lucky enough to move six times in the past six years. Many times, stuff doesn’t even come out of the box between dwellings. These are the types of things that I ask myself if I really need to carry them from place to place, just to take up closet space at each place. If you minimize the number of things you own, moving will become less work.
- 5. You have more money (or time) to spend on more important things
Because you will not be buying as many items once you are in the mindset that less is more, you will be able to change where you spend your money. When you spend your money on valuable experiences, happiness is accrued. Money demands our attention for everything we do in our lives. We only work to earn money. We slave away to earn money to buy things. Money will not be leaving our economic system, so why not take advantage of the money you do have and use it to enhance your life.
- 6. Or you can simply live on less money
Instead of spending your extra money on things of value, you will have the opportunity gain value from your time by spending less time earning money. If you spend less money, you maybe can cut back the hours you are working to spend quality time with loved ones.
I find it quite ridiculous the amount of possessions Americans own that yields them zero value, when they had to pay for their “stuff” with money they earned by slaving away at their jobs. There is a huge market for sports equipment and athletic wear, but yet many people are overweight and do not spend time actually playing sports. The entire market of pet supplies — toys, outfits, and treats — is unneeded, but people still place high value on these items just for an animal. You can choose to control your life by valuing experiences, or you can become a slave to money to purchase those material items with a much smaller value.