Pinyo over at Moolanomy has started a meme that appears to be making the rounds of the PF blogosphere. He asks “If you coud give one advice, tip, or story related to money, what would you share?” I’ve been tagged by Goldnsilver at My Financial Blog to answer, so here goes:“Resist consumerism”
The American corporate capitalist economy has brought the people of America to dizzying heights of personal wealth. Even some of the “poorest” people in America own cars, televisions and have access to an amazing array of foodstuffs and consumer electronics. I think one of the first battles that anyone has to fight on the road to financial freedom is resisting the nonstop assault of advertising and ‘stuff envy’ that can wipe out your checking account.
The iPhone and the plasma TV. $200 Nike sneakers. Gigantic SUVs for people living in urban areas. Houses with two rooms for each member of the family. Rosemary Thyme Luxury Handsoap. You could go on and on, but they are all unnecessary luxuries. Most of the people in the world would be happy to have A phone, sneaker, a car, a house, soap. In the West we are being bombarded with commercials teaching us to envy those who have slightly more than us. Fashion teaches us that clothes are worthless after a season. All of this behavior is the enemy of frugality, and the cause of debt and a lack of financial freedom.
I have tried to start resisting consumerism. I wanted an iPhone, but I am sticking with my 3-year-old free Samsung phone. I wanted a new car badly a few years ago. I am certainly no saint – I fall prey to consumerism all the time. I bought a Moleskine notebook when a $0.69 pocket spiral would have done. I buy new clothes for work, and I like my DVD rentals. But every time you resist the urge to purchase something you don’t really need to be happy – which is pretty much everything above your basic needs – you are bringing yourself one step closer to financial freedrom which is, I think, the goal of most of us who float around in the pf blogosphere. Not to mention you’re helping the environment – reduce, reuse, recycle.
So that’s my MOMA. I’ll head north of the border and tag Four Pillars and look forward to the Canadian take on it.