How to Break Free from Consumerism

simplicity_Chemtec“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

We all have been trained to believe that we are consumers, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m tired of working and trying to make more money simply to support a shopping habit, or a large home with two cars, or a life of fancy food and expensive entertainment.

The more I look around, the more I see that we’ve been trained to believe that consumerism is “the way”.  Do you disagree?  Then watch a TV show with your kid, check out the commercials, and get back to me.

What would life be like without shopping and advertising?  Without large corporations?

Without working countless hours, would you enjoy your free time?  Would you prefer the quietness?  If you didn’t have to buy so much, would you work less?

I am on my way to finding out…

I want to focus more on people, not on stuff.  I want to be more healthy.  I want to spend more time outdoors.  I want to cook and eat better food.

I can do that with less money and more time, and so can you.

It’s hard to break free from the consumerist mindset, but here’s how you can start:

Some steps to break free:

Be mindful of the messages being sent to you. When you watch an ad on TV or on the web, how does that make you feel?  I feel an urge to spend.  Why are you watching the ad?  Can you avoid it?  My wife and I can’t take it anymore; we barely watch TV because of the “noise”.

Avoid malls.  Enough said.

Go to the store with a list, and stick to it.  Even then, ask yourself whether you really need an item when you pick it up.  Wait 10 seconds, then ask yourself again…

Can you buy necessary items used or make it yourself?  If you must buy new, is there a local small business where you can buy it instead of a huge corporation?

Find free forms of entertainment.  You and your kids will be just fine without the expensive getaways and toys.

Learn to make things, cook, and do what renaissance people used to do.  Be resourceful.  Always strive to learn new things.

We don’t need to spend money to be happy.  We don’t need more stuff.  We don’t need to keep up with our neighbors.  We are not living to support corporations.

We’ll be just fine.

Check out these articles about people who broke free:

NY Times Op Ed: Living With Less: Way Less

7 Ways to Sample Living With Less 

Be More With Less: Courtney Carver

Speak Your Mind