The answer is simple, friends. If you don’t want to spend so much money, stop spending so much money.
The best way to keep more money in your savings account is by reducing your materialism. We all fall on the scale of materialistic values and aspire to have a multimillion dollar mansion with two sports cars in the driveway, but is blowing your money on stuff really the way to achieve happiness?
Researchers from Psychology Today say it’s a big, fat “no.” Because of a little psychological term called “hedonic adaptation,” we’ve learned that stuff does in fact NOT make us content.
Sure, it makes us happy when we first buy it. The rush of an expensive new purse is thrilling, but after three months, it’s just another purse hanging in your closet. We fall prey to the “hedonic treadmill” of trying to keep up with the Jonses (or in more recent days, the Kardashians).
Here are a few ways to save money and lower your materialism:
1. Recognize when you lust after somebody else’s stuff:
Are you enamored with your co-workers new purse? Are you DYING to take a vacation like your friend from college just took to Tahiti?
If you want to be happier (and save some serious dough), never compare another person’s outsides to your insides. Just because that co-worker has a gorgeous home and two cars doesn’t guarantee they are happy. People rarely post about their mental health issues on Facebook, so don’t be tricked into believing the lies social media has us believe.
Instead, pay attention to each time you lust after another’s life. Acknowledge pop culture makes us yearn for materialism, take a deep breathe, congratulate them if necessary, and move on.
2. Don’t allow yourself to make impulse buys:
When you are dying to buy a fancy piece of jewelry, or you really want a chocolate bar on the grocery store line, ask yourself a simple question. Will I still value this and will it still make me happy six months from now?
Chances are that purse, chocolate bar, or other impulse buy will not make you happy 6 months down the road.
Again, take a deep breathe, recognize that we are exposed to 5,000 branding messages a day, and none of these advertisements show us true happiness.
3. When you do buy something, ask yourself how much you need it:
I like to believe I’ve done a fairly decent job of reducing my materialism, lately. I used to be pulled in every direction by girls that dressed better than me and media telling me how to act. However, after taking a step back and elevating my awareness, I’ve become a much happier person (my paycheck goes farther too).
I still buy clothes and shoes, and I certainly indulge in my materialistic values on occasion. However, before buying something, I try to think about how badly I need it. If I really want a pair of durable shoes to last a long time, I will allow myself to buy it. However, I do not subject myself to mindless spending of money I don’t have to blow.
4. Spend money on experiences rather than things:
I try to live my life with the purpose of collecting experiences. Every new activity I participate in, I catalog in my mental book of life. By the time I’m on my deathbed, I hope that book is bursting at the seams.
If you are going to spend money, try to spend it on a memory, especially one with somebody you have a strong connection with. Psychologists say memories will bring you more happiness than material items. Jumping out of a plane will have a longer lasting effect than buying new furniture.
By that same note, a variety of experiences will also go farther than the same experience repeated multiple times. That means getting blackout drunk every weekend (even if it’s with people you love), may not bring you as much happiness as varied experiences and day trips once a month.
5. Practice gratitude:
Make a list of all the things you have in your life that you are grateful for. I’m talking about the major things, like your brand new Ford Focus, to the minor things, like living in a country where free speech is demanded.
Currently, there are 4 million displaced refugees fleeing their home country because they fear for their lives. Be grateful that you have a bed to sleep in every night and a job to go to each morning. If you make a list of all the good things in your life, you’ll stop yearning for more and focus on what you already have.
Your wallet will be grateful too.
[Featured Image Credit: PF Mag]