Wednesday , February 28 2024
In today's world of limited resources where less can be more, you can assert yourself as smart, fit, and environmentally aware without overspending on expensive brands. You can actually say more about yourself and achieve a better quality of life, free from clutter and credit card debt, by spending less and saving more.

Say More by Spending Less

Why Buy?

Spending and savings are opposites sides of the coin. By spending less, you can save more.

We spend to buy the things we need: food, clothes, shelter, transportation, education, and communications. But most of us spend far beyond life’s basic necessities. We buy everything under the sun, whether we need it or not. We even buy things we don’t want.

We spend for five basic reasons:

•  Need. We buy the things we need to live.

•  Want. We buy the thing we want.

•  Recreation. We shop to pass time with our friends and have fun.

•  Therapy. We shop to relieve stress.

•  Status. We buy to impress others and to bolster our self-esteem by associating with cool lifestyle brands.

When you shop for recreation, therapy, or esteem building, it’s easy to overspend.  Though you may really like to shop, mounting credit card anxiety can easily overwhelm the fleeting pleasure derived from your latest purchase. (Do you even remember what you bought?)

Cheap Retail Therapy

News Flash: You’d don’t have to spend a lot of money to realize the recreational and therapeutic benefits of a trip to the mall. The rewards can be inexpensive or even free. You can socialize with friends over a cup of coffee and satisfy your shopping urge without emptying your wallet. As a matter of fact, you’ll derive more pleasure from several small splurges than buying a fancy espresso machine or home entertainment center. Due to something psychologists call “hedonic adaptation,” no matter how good they make you feel at first, you’ll stop appreciating them over time. As you grow accustomed to having them in your home, they’ll fade into the background and you’ll drift back to where you started emotionally.

The best way to extend the shopping high is to buy a few inexpensive tchotchkes every now and then. Buying a $12 T-shirt will trigger the same shopping high as a $600 pashmina shawl without the anxiety producing side effects of mounting credit card debt. And next week you’ll be able to extend the pleasure, without breaking the bank, with another $10 or $15 splurge.

If you’re shopping for status, it will be harder to break your big spending habits. You could buy a pair of sunglasses at the drugstore, but you really want the Ray-Bans which cost five times more. Although the drugstore glasses will shade your eyes from the sun, you’re emotionally driven to pay more for the status brand.

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club, from author Chuck Phalanuick

Saving more by spending lessWhile posh, plush products continue to please the senses, less can be more in an overcrowded world of limited resources and climate change. Today, as we transition from conspicuous to conscientious consumption, from wasteful to sustainable lifestyles, from living large to living smart, reusable shopping bags are the new status symbol of an intentional lifestyle and brown bag lunches are back in style.

The good news is you can assert yourself as smart, fit, and environmentally aware without overspending on expensive brands. You can actually say more about yourself and achieve a better quality of life, free from credit card debt, by spending less and saving more. Reducing your financial stress, you’ll enjoy better physical and fiscal health.

About Steve Lome

Steve Lome and Dave Kramer are the guys behind "The $500 Cup of Coffee, a Lifestyle Approach to Financial Independence, Especially for Millennials and the People Who Love Them". We are not professional financial advisors, but we have lots of money experience. As a mortgage broker, Dave reviewed the personal financial statements of thousands of customers. As a developer of affordable housing, Steve learned it was easier to build a house than a mortgage-ready customer, because so many of his prospects were wearing or driving their wealth. They both realized that no matter how little or how much people make, most do a lousy job of managing their personal finances. Dave first conceived of “The $500 Cup of Coffee” as a way to help his clients save their money. Working with Steve, he re-imagined it as a roadmap to financial independence that almost anyone can follow. The final result is a well-balanced blend of Dave’s straight forward thinking and Steve’s expansive worldview that encourages a commonsense, relatively low pain approach to wealth accumulation, emphasizing conscious consumerism, steady saving and regular investing.