Ihave long been aware of the fact that many of my everyday purchases not only burden my bank account, but also my environment and fellow human beings. Still, sometimes I just want something. According to the common cliché, the objects of desire for me as a woman should primarily be shoes, but in my case it’s actually technology. Anything that has a keyboard or can be connected to one calls out to me: “Buy me! You need me! Your life will never be beautiful again without me! ”While I keep defeating this weaker self a little bit, I have discovered strategies against the desire to consume, which I would like to share.
1. Avoid advertising
You can almost completely ban advertising from quite a few areas of life. Much of the advertising lurks in the media. But we often consume them without thinking, simply to kill time. By limiting yourself to what you really like to see, hear and read, you can reduce the amount of advertising. If you then put an emphasis on advertising-free offers that you support with a certain amount of money, you quickly no longer have any idea which products are currently “hip”. Not a big loss for me!
Finally, you can set up even more offensive barriers: A small, self-made “No advertising!” Sticker on the mailbox, which also explicitly rejects free newspapers, flyers, direct mail and weekly papers, should help against most unwanted paper advertisements, including weekly ones , stack of paper shrink-wrapped in plastic. Catalogs can be unsubscribed and the free and uncomplicated entry in a Robinson list is also worthwhile. On the Internet, an ad blocker also makes websites much clearer. You can also set it so that it allows unobtrusive advertising, so that the providers of content are not robbed of their livelihood.
2. Consciously analyze advertising
Advertising cannot always be avoided or faded out; we encounter it in public everywhere. In this case, a different approach will help. Advertising is made to fool us into thinking we absolutely need a certain product. That had been clear to me for a long time and yet I kept falling for (and falling!) For her tricks. Then the desire to buy creeps into my head and even into my dreams until I give in to it at some point. But soon there is a strange hunch in addition to the joy of the new possession: “Does this item really bring me the hoped-for benefit?”, “Somehow it takes up a lot of space!”, “And the account now looks so empty out! ”But I’ll keep my new acquisition, because to give it back would be to admit a mistake and give up a dream.
Recently, however, I’ve been trying to consciously analyze advertising. Which methods are used? Which supposed needs are addressed? The elaborately perfected consumer trigger quickly becomes a mere combination of beautiful pictures, language and music. The more or less implicit order to buy is thwarted before it has reached my subconscious.
Sometimes it is actually beneficial to have little money. Nothing has saved me from superfluous stuff so often as having to save on it first. If I simply can’t afford something, then I’m forced to be happy without it. Many a desire is long forgotten when I’ve saved up the purchase price.
But what if you are unlucky enough to have plenty of money? Then a self-imposed blocking period for purchases that exceed a certain amount of money may help. What costs over € 30, for example, has to wait 30 days. If you still need it, you can buy it.
4. Filling life with meaning instead of things
Often (usually after I succumbed to the desire to consume again) I have noticed that my real problem was not the superficial need for the new object, but a deeper-seated dissatisfaction in another area of life. When I feel well-utilized and liked by the people who are important to me, and when I have little successes from time to time, I “need” a lot less clutter. So if it comes to you again, it might be worth thinking about where the real problem is. Perhaps you actually need a self-esteem boost or take refuge from problems in a social relationship? How about a voluntary activity, a clarifying conversation or a new hobby? Creative and physical like handicrafts,
5. If so, then consume sustainably
Sometimes you really need something and the sustainability awareness shouldn’t degenerate into self-mortification. Not every decision to consume is necessarily a bad one. By investing in used, sustainably produced or durable materials, you can conserve resources and vote for a corresponding offer on the market.
In addition, you can make a lot yourself – and always a little more than you think! For example finger paints and even soap . In many cases, the result is cheaper, more personal and perfectly tailored to your own needs. In addition, you get a big helping of self-esteem for free.
6. Find substitute satisfaction
If you realize that a subjective need actually only comes from the desire to consume, you might be able to redirect it to something cheaper, more sustainable or more useful. For example, I would never have thought that I would be more happy about a great natural soap that I find in a local store after a long search than about a new cell phone that someone would like to give me. The cell phone may be great and new, but I already have one. On the other hand, I actually need and use the soap.
If, on the other hand, you are primarily driven by the desire for the new, you can also consider how you can breathe new life into the old. Nice examples are the old sweater that has been given a new application, or the chest of drawers that has been given a new coat of paint. With my enthusiasm for technology, installing a different operating system has often saved me from greed for a better, newer computer.
7. Realize that there is another way
Yes, there are people who consume sustainably, and they are also not witches or, in a miraculous way, have fewer needs than you do. Béa Johnson’s book “ Zero Waste Home ” was so inspiring for me, among other things, because Johnson himself – before hers Turning towards minimalism – described as extremely materialistic with wonderful self-irony. I, who generally consider myself less materialistic, thought to myself directly: “If someone like this manages to reduce their family garbage to one glass a year, then I’ve been able to do that for a long time!” Well, it’s not that simple but i’m on my way And anyone who has ever made a major change, for example with regard to their diet, already knows that they can change.
8. Finding joy in freedom from possession
Even as a complete beginner in matters of minimalism, I can already see that if you practice appreciating the usefulness of things instead of the things in themselves, then you can more easily separate from them or share them with others and save yourself the trouble of housing them and maintenance. Before making any new purchase, it is worthwhile not only to be aware of the resources that have flowed into a product before buying, but also of the resources it will still cost you as the owner.
And how are you doing in this regard? Where is your weak point and how do you avoid giving in to the sheer desire to consume?