You are here to learn about minimalism but we live in a consumer society. What does that mean?
Living in a world of mindless consumerism means that all my friends are talking about what they bought on Black Friday and they want to hang out at Target.
Does that sound familiar? How does living in a consumer society affect your life? How can you combat consumerism with minimalism? In the battle of minimalism vs. consumerism which is better for you?
What is Consumerism?
Consumerism is a system under which the increasing consumption of goods and services is considered always desirable.
That means that, at whatever cost, we must continue to buy and consume more and more. If we stop buying that is considered to be failure. That’s why we are always being told we need more and can never feel content.
Materialism and consumerism are promoted because they are great for the economy. At least the kind of economy we are used to.
How Does Materialism and Consumerism Affect You?
The big question is, does materialism and consumerism make you happy? Does the constant cycle of buying more and more really contribute to your life?
In truth, consumerism tends to leave us broke and stressed out. Our houses are cluttered with stuff we thought we needed but never use.
We spend more time getting, taking care of, and then disposing of things than we spend enjoying life.
And that’s not even the worst part.
Because we are taught that our self-worth should be tied to how much we can acquire we are constantly striving to “keep up with the Joneses”. Then, because we feel that life is just one big competition we lose our joy.
We can never feel content with what we already have when we always feel like we need more to fulfill ourselves.
That leads to a constant state of feeling hungry for more and angry that it’s always out of our reach. And guess what? No one likes to be hangry.
How Does Consumerism Affect the World?
While consumerism drives economic growth and promotes innovation it comes at a cost.
Our constant need for more must be fed. As demand increases so does production.
That means more forests are cut down to build more factories that produce more waste and pollutants. Even more pollutants and tons of waste are created in packaging and shipping these items to us.
Resources like water, electricity, and money that are desperately needed in developing nations are instead diverted to making products.
Most of these products are destined to become clutter and then end up in landfills or the ocean.
Minimalism Vs. Consumerism -Why Does It Matter?
By now it should be clear that the consumer society we live in has us in a vicious cycle of desire and dissatisfaction. That’s why it’s so important to address the issue of minimalism vs. consumerism.
We need to to become more intentional about shopping and what we bring into our homes.
So how can we fight the culture that surrounds us? How can we reduce our consumption of products we don’t need? With so much pressure towards materialism how can we personally win the battle of minimalism vs. consumerism?
Let’s find out!
Minimalism Vs. Consumerism -Remember Your Goals
There are a lot of little steps you must take to avoid buying more junk than you need but the most important steps start in your mind. Getting the minimalist mindset is the key to success!
Stop and think about who you are as a person and what you want out of your life. We are always told that we can do and have everything. Do you really want to do and have EVERYTHING?
Or do you have a dream? What do you want your life to look like?
Set goals for yourself and don’t buy things that do not take you directly towards your goals.
Remember, anything else could very well weigh you down. The path of mindless consumerism will distract you from the goals and dreams you really want to achieve! The minimalist lifestyle will put you right on track!
Appreciation & Contentment For the Minimalist Mindset
In the battle of minimalism vs. consumerism there is the essential question. Do you have enough to make you happy?
Odds are you already have a lot of stuff!
If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, clean water, clothes to wear, and some kind of electronic device to read this on you are doing better than a lot of people all over the world.
But you have more than your needs. You have a lot of your wants too. And when it comes down to it nothing you own really makes your life meaningful. People do that. You have friends and family and memories and love.
Stop and appreciate what you have. Cultivate contentment for the wonderful things in your life!
Next time you find yourself “hangry” for more check in with yourself and see all that surrounds you already. You probably have something that can fill the need you are having.
Something you already own can probably do the job that needs done and someone you love can probably help you do it.
When you cultivate appreciation and contentment with what you already have you won’t feel the need to jump back into the hamster wheel of consumerism.
Minimalism Vs. Consumerism = Experiences Vs. Stuff
A lot of times we hop on Amazon or drop by Target because we are bored. We are feeling a lack and we want to fill it with something new. Something new will perk up our minds.
But the thing is when you buy something new, it’s only exciting for a little while and then you need something else to perk you up again. It’s more like a drug addiction than any actual fulfillment.
On the other hand, have you ever taken a really good trip and talked about it for years?
One time me, my husband, and my brother and sister-in-law hiked down the Grand Canyon to Havasupai Falls! It was a challenge I was afraid of and conquered! We still talk about it all the time.
That trip and many other memorable trips and karaoke parties and adventures prove that spending your money on experiences is so much more satisfying and fulfilling than anything you can EVER buy at a store.
When you are bored, don’t look for something to buy, look for an experience.
There are small experiences like a cup of coffee with a friend, a walk through the park, or a family movie night that can fill all the empty you are filling.
There are big experiences like a trip or a goal achieved that can make you grow as a person.
One of the best things I’ve learned from minimalism is how to refocus my time and money on experiences.
Don’t miss out! In the battle of minimalism vs. materialism the minimalist mindset that seeks experiences will ALWAYS come out the winner!
Love More Than Mindless Consumerism
When you are fighting the battle of minimalism vs. consumerism you are doing something countercultural. Everyone around us loves to shop and minimalism is going to be very difficult for you if you love to shop.
If you can’t tell by now, shopping is what you are trying to avoid. How are you going to quit this addictive habit that you use for stress relief, emotional succor, and more?
By replacing it with something better!
You know the phrase; “When one door closes, another one opens.”? Well, the door to the mall just closed and the door to your greatest passion just opened.
Think about it, there is something that you love to do. There is something out there that lights you up. You are hiding a skill that the whole world needs! You might even be hiding it from yourself. Maybe you haven’t taken the time to find out because you’ve been shopping.
Now is the time to find it. Is it music? Art? Dance? Sport? What did you love to do as a child?
Go back in your mind and find the thing that makes you happy and try doing that. If that doesn’t work try something new. Don’t let your life pass you by without finding it.
Minimalism Vs. Consumerism and Advertising
I’ll be honest with you. The fight against consumerism isn’t going to be easy. As well as you fight it within yourself external influences will always be pushing you to buy more, more, and MORE!
That’s because when it comes to minimalism vs. consumerism, consumerism makes a lot more money!
Did you know the average person is exposed to somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 ads a day? A lot of those ads we can’t even try to avoid. They are everywhere! But here are some ways you can limit how many ads you see and are tempted by.
- Limit social media. All platforms will show you more ads if you are caught up on the real stuff from your real life family and friends.
- Unsubscribe from e-mails from stores. (Esp. the stores you love because they are the most tempting and persistent.)
- Watch TV through subscription services like Netflix. (You probably already do that anyway.)
- Put store mailers directly in the recycle bin. You don’t need anything, even if it’s on sale.
Promote The Minimalist Mindset by Changing The Conversation
Do you know what makes avoiding consumerism even harder than ads? Your coworkers and friends and even your family!
How do they make it hard to avoid consumerism? Well they don’t have the minimalist mindset yet so they talk stuff all the time.
They talk about the newest thing they got and the things they want and things their friends got. And all of those things are amazing and made their lives so much better (because after all, they spent money on them).
It may be a challenge but try not to fall for it. You have the ability to talk about experiences instead of things, ideas instead of purchases, and the things you have learned instead of the things you want to buy.
Don’t brag or be pushy. Just gently take the conversation to a more meaningful place! You will help yourself and your friends too!
Be Happier With Minimalism Than You Ever Were With Consumerism
When you pursue minimalism, you are pursuing contentment and appreciation for what you already have. You are learning that more isn’t always a good thing.
Simplify your life so that you find yourself, the things that really matter, and the people that give your life color.
Instead of spending money and getting junk, spend your attention, time, and love on building a beautiful life.
When you do that you will win the battle of minimalism vs. consumerism! I promise that having the minimalist mindset and rejecting mindless consumerism will make you sooo much happier than buying stuff ever could.
So how do you combat consumerism? Please share your great tips in the comments!
But How Do I Start Minimalism?
There is really no reason not to start enjoying simple living! Now is the time to try the minimalist lifestyle! Learn why minimalism is good for your mental health and relationships, how it can transform your finances, so you can start having more energy and time for the things that matter!
But what if simplifying your life sounds like an overwhelming task?
If you want to simplify your life but the big bad word MINIMALISM scares you let me help! I wrote Doable Simplicity (Minimalism For Normal People) to help you get the inspiration you need to simplify your life and then take solid steps that make simple living doable for you!