It's Hard Not to Buy Stuff
As you pursue financial independence, you may start to realize how difficult it is to stop buying things. Even if you don’t necessarily need an item, it can be extremely difficult to simply not buy the item. After all, it promises to make your life better in some way, so how could you possibly resist the urge to purchase it?
At least, that’s what our consumeristic culture would like you to think. Let’s explore the pressures of consumerism and how they can impact your journey to financial independence.
Our consumerist culture
The consumeristic culture we live in encourages an increasing acquisition of goods, whether or not we actually need them. There seems to be a constant pressure in society to buy the latest and greatest. For example, you might feel the pressure to upgrade your cell phone or car to the newest model every year. The pressure to purchase the newer item can be a constant, even if your current items are functioning properly.
Not only are you expected to accumulate these new items, but you will also be judged by society on your ownership of these goods. For example, society tends to dictate that if you drive the newest car or live in the biggest home filled with all of the latest gadgets, then you are successful. However, if you drive an older car and live in a modest home without an overwhelming amount of things, then society at large might not see you as successful.
The constant pressure from society to buy more things to can push the best of us to stretch our budget too far. Although it is easy to see how this logic is flawed, it can be difficult to break the cycle of consumerism.
How to break the consumerist model
It can be difficult to make a choice that marks you as different. If you choose to reject the consumerist culture, then you will definitely stand out. Whether you drive an older car or live in a modest size home, society will likely not applaud you for these decisions. If you don’t like to stand out, then making a change from your consumer habits can be a challenge.
In order to break the cycle, you need to determine what you value. If you aren’t sure what you value the most, create a list of what you enjoy most about your life. What do you want to continue in your future? What could you live without? Take the time to distill your own values from the messages of consumerism to find what you value most.
If you are seeking financial freedom, then you might find that you value your time as opposed to more things. That might lead you to start cutting back on your purchases that don’t bring you enough value. For example, cutting out the seemingly constant flow of Amazon packages to your door might start you down a path to a more intentional life in line with your values. Once you start to be more intentional with your spending, you might also cut out the big 5 expenses.
As you continue to align your spending with your values, you will likely find more room in your budget. You can save this money for a downpayment to fund your first house hack or investment property. Essentially, you’ll be able to start buying your financial freedom if that is what you choose to value.
The bottom line
It might not be easy to break the consumerist model, but it is 100% worth it. Once you align your spending with your values, you’ll be able to start living your best life. When you know that you are spending money intentionally based on your values, you won’t be forced to live the life that consumerism forces on you.
The intentionality of value-based spending can allow you to focus on your goal of financial independence. Where will you invest your newfound savings?