A consumer society is one where a greater number of goods are bought or sold. When consumers (the people of the country) are able to enjoy enhanced purchasing power, the economy growth is higher; implying that the companies are now turning over huge profits and smiling all the way to the bank.
But what does consumerism mean to the average person? Do we benefit from it or should we be more wary about how we spend our money?
While consumerism is an excellent way to buy things that add to your comfort, it is a double-edged sword when it comes to money. We are being constantly bombarded with marketing campaigns of products. We see them we drive, walk or while watching TV. You also see many adverts on the Internet. This constant exposure to consumer products has a deep effect on how we perceive our needs.
For example, you may own a perfectly good mobile phone. But you may simply want to discard it and buy a newer (and more expensive) one because you’ve seen too many adverts on TV (and maybe because most of your friends own them). The new features on the more expensive model may not even be useful to you. But you’d have spent money simply because you felt obliged to own it.
This is the mesmerising power of consumerism. If we want to live within our means, we need to minimise wasteful expenditure. In order to do that, we need to be safe from the temptation of buying things that we don’t need.
Tips to Live below your Means in a Consumer Society
- Budget your expenses for the month. Write down a list of things you need for the house. Avoid buying anything outside of the budget. Avoid spending to impress people
- You may see an attractive coat or jacket that catches your fancy. Ask yourself if you really need it. If the answer is no, walk away
- Pay your credit card bills diligently every month. This will help you minimise splurging and will help control credit card expenses
- Keep a small budget for ‘luxury shopping’. Even if you feel like buying comparison goods (luxury items), stay within the budget
The main objective is to avoid spending our money on goods that profit-driven companies keep insisting that we should own.
You need to decide where your money should be spent instead of having that decision made for you by a consumer-driven economy. Make wise choices and remember that you control your spending - so don’t let your spending control you.