Who doesn’t love shopping? Although it might not seem like it, the craze for shopping often turns into an addiction that can cripple you throughout your life. The consumer mindset pushes you to keep accumulating more and more till you drop and it has turned the whole world into a frenzied supply machine that caters to the ever-increasing demands at the cost of everything else. Materialistic urges have given rise to corporations and regimes that employ slave labor so that you can have whatever you desire, whenever you desire. Is this how humans were meant to live?
First, comes a costly college education. That’s a huge debt to begin your life with. After you get a job, you want a house. And not just a small one but one that’s a bit bigger than what you really need. Then, the latest model vehicle. Of course, who can forget the endless purchases of clothes, accessories, electronics, food, and decor? You keep buying and buying until the very end. Even the casket for the funeral has to be mahogany. Your body is getting ready to decompose and you still need it to be laid inside mahogany? It doesn’t need to be this way.
Recognizing the enemy
Desire is the root of all evil” is a quote often attributed to Buddha Shakyamuni (Gautama Buddha). Desire takes on many forms like an emptiness within (that needs to be satiated), a sudden impulse, greed, and so on. Next time, when you have an overwhelming desire to purchase something, learn to recognize this impulse. Identifying it is the first part of overcoming the problem.
Once you identify the weakness, you will see that it’s only that — a weakness, a momentary flaw in your system. Think about why you want to make the purchase, and if you can do without the specific product, at least for the time being. More often than not, you don’t really need it. The desire will only last for a brief period of time. After it has passed, you will feel a sense of relief, and even some pride.
There are a few things you can do to curb your passion for accumulation. Start by deciding to make purchases only in cash. Counting the bills and handing them to the cashier makes you realize the cost of the purchase much more than using a credit card. You will be more prudent with the dispensing of cash. And you will come to enjoy the security of the bundle in your pocket or purse.
Next, open a savings account or a money market account. Having one of these accounts will force you to save more. This is important. Set aside a certain percentage, 10 percent is good, to save every time you get your pay. Make this a habit. Just imagine that you only earn 90 percent of your pay. This is money you will not use for unnecessary expenditures.
Finally, live in a place where you have less room for storage. This helps restrain you because you no longer have a place to put your new purchases. A smaller closet will make you think twice about buying that extra pair of jeans. Where are you going to put it? Also, carry a single bag when going out for shopping. Make a list and buy only the things on the list.
There are many things you don’t learn in school. One major aspect of living is the ability to be content. Not many people learn this during their lifetimes. But for those who do, they experience a keen sense of well-being. If you learn to be satisfied with life, then there aren’t many things that will bother you, material goods included. You will not suffocate yourself for the sale rush. You don’t care about the new lawnmower the neighbor got at a discount. You are happy with your phone’s current capabilities. No more fear of missing out.
Practice and acquire this skill, and see the beauty that is already existing in your life. You can now enjoy the smaller pleasures like going for a hike, gardening, spending time with family, reading a book, and watching the rest of the world rush about their mad existence.